Letters to the Editor
Trust at the top
In response to "The candidate who can take on Netanyahu," by Aluf Benn, July 26
I wish to clarify that Defense Minister Ehud Barak never said Benjamin Netanyahu was a weak and paralyzed leader who is running in place and constantly looking around like a weather vane for what the people want to hear.
Relations between Defense Minister Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are based on trust, and the two men work together for the sake of Israel's security.
Media adviser to the defense minister
Life on the other side of the wall
In response to "J'lem asks IDF to take over civilian matters east of separation fence," by Chaim Levinson and Nir Hasson, July 24
Someone needs to ring the bell, wake up the people at the Jerusalem municipality and explain to them that they mustn't act like the leaders of a military regime. Because it's still a case of one general coordinating with another. The city's residents, including those living on the other side of the fence, are entitled to be treated like civilians.
One would expect municipal services like garbage removal to be furnished to these tens of thousands of people who find themselves, not by choice, living on the dark side of the separation wall. That is not the case.
Their neighborhoods are neglected, trash heaps are piled high on the sides of the roads, and the people who scrupulously pay their municipal taxes - if they don't their status as residents (as opposed to citizens ) could be rescinded - must get rid of their garbage by burning it. This in turn creates a stench, air pollution and a health hazard.
The failure to supply services to residents on that side of the wall doesn't necessarily stem from concerns about the safety of the sanitation workers who would be sent in. After all, Palestinian workers could be hired. It simply stems from the fact that the people's quality of life and needs are not an important issue for the mayor and his minions. Out of sight, out of mind.
Change the electoral system
The social protest is a welcome development, but its first objective should be a change in the electoral system. We can't decrease food and apartment prices and increase competition - highly important objectives in their own right - with the quality of the current Knesset. Its members only pass bills that benefit themselves and their sectional interests, and do harm to Israeli society.
The government's quality is derived from the Knesset's quality. An inflated cabinet is not only a heavy economic burden, it's an existential threat to the state.
A prerequisite for the new electoral system should be a direct link between the voters and MKs. The current situation reveals an absolute disconnect between the people and their elected representatives, who usually prefer to make decisions based on narrow political considerations.
Dr. Ezra Davar
In response to "Bibi-nomics: The PM is putting our country at risk," by Nehemia Shtrasler, July 25
I wasn't surprised to read about the plan to raise the price of cigarettes yet again. Seven years ago, a pack of cigarettes cost NIS 8. One gets the feeling that when the people in question are cigarette smokers, everything is permissible and there is nothing wrong with regular increases in the cigarette tax. Apparently, this is a "just tax."
Smoking is either an addiction or a need, but no matter what it is, most people who smoke lack the ability to get up in the morning and just quit. Most smokers are not well off financially, and the regular steep increase in cigarette prices can only be construed as abuse of this community - a group that has no public voice or significant lobby.
But what can we expect from a government for which increases in VAT and cigarette tax, as well as abuse of small businesses, are watchwords? A progressive tax? You're only making Benjamin Netanyahu laugh louder.
Of all cars, a BMW?
The Finance Ministry has given ministers an option to choose among several cars, including a BMW model.
In an episode of the BBC series "The World at War" about the Battle of Stalingrad, one can see the equipment left behind by the Germans after the 6th Army's surrender. Clearly discernible on the fuel tanks of the Germans' two-seater motorcycles is the BMW logo, which has not changed since those dark days. In other words, that company played an active role in the Nazi war effort.
An individual can do whatever he likes and buy such a car, but if a government does so this is an extremely vulgar step and a blow to the feelings of a large community that includes Holocaust survivors.