YEP Letters: August 15

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I was appalled to read the vitriolic, inaccurate and wholly misleading letter from Frances Bernstein and others (YEP, August 13) about Israel.

I too opposed and campaigned against apartheid in South Africa, but the Israel she describes in her letter bears no resemblance to reality.

As I write, I am looking at an ornamental stone given to us by the Mayor of Ma’alot-Tarshiha by way of thanks to us for entertaining two gifted young pianists from his town in Northern Israel.

The town is a combination of two large villages, one Jewish and the other Palestinian Arab. The pianists were from each part of the town. They were educated together and trained equally.

This is the real Israel. Go there and you will see all colours and races mingling freely. Not only are there Palestinian Arabs who are members of the Israeli parliament, but one recently held the office of Vice-President of Israel.

Go to the universities and you will find Jewish, Muslim and Christian students enjoying the same campus and the same education. Go into the hospitals and you will find no discrimination.

Yes, there is some poverty – both in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities – but the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank enjoy probably the highest standard of living of any Arab communities in the entire area. You can see new building and obviously prosperous towns and villages in the West Bank.

There is increasing business co-operation between Palestinians and Israelis and some of their products are exported to this country – and then Ms Bernstein and her ilk try to boycott them.

As for Gaza, Ms Bernstein never mentions the thousands of rockets and mortars fired by Hamas at Israeli civilians, compelling Israel to act in self-defence.

At the height of the recent fighting, Israel sent huge quantities of food and humanitarian supplies and over 200 truckloads of medical supplies into Gaza and set up a field hospital for those Gazans who were wounded or in need of urgent medical treatment.

My message to your readers is to do as I have done – go and see for yourselves. You will find a small country, no bigger than Wales, but a democracy which does its best to live up to the highest standards of humanity.

John M Collins, Alwoodley

Ignorance is remarkable

Frances Bernstein displays an ignorance of Israel that is remarkable.

Every citizen of Israel, Arab, Christian or Jew has 100 per cent legal rights – and that includes the vote.

All are free to travel the world. There are many mixed religion and mixed race married couples in Israel.

The claim that 92 per cent of the land is reserved for Jews is completely false.

Frances has obviously never travelled the length and breadth of Israel as I have. You will find Arabs living throughout.

There are Arab generals in the Israeli army, Arab professors in the universities, Arab MPs in the Knesset (parliament) and a host of successful Arab businesses.

The existence of an Arab deputy speaker in the Knesset should be no surprise.

Unusually in the Middle East, women have the vote in Israel and even had a woman Prime Minister before the UK.

In hospitals Jews and Arab are treated side by side in the same wards and sometimes by Arab doctors and consultants. Frances clearly doesn’t know that Israel treats ten of thousands of Gazans and Palestinians every year in their hospitals.

Unfortunately Israel lives in a neighbourhood without any other democracies.

There has been tragic loss of life in the hundreds of thousands where brother has killed brother in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Gaza and Jordan and beyond. Peace will come when terror no longer holds sway in the Middle East.

Neil Solden, Moortown

Bit rich coming from a Tory

Ann Widdecombe, the former Conservative MP, says that the next time Royal Mail wants a fresh logo it should choose a one-legged tortoise (YEP, August 14).

This is a bit rich coming from an ex-Tory MP whose party sold off the Royal Mail for a pittance. She can come out with comments like this as she is no longer an MP and works in the media. Would she have said it while in Government? No chance.

Having worked as a postman for over 20 years it’s all about saving money now, with postmen doing two walks where we used to do one and a second delivery – so obviously the service will suffer.

So who’s to blame? I’ll tell you – Widdecombe’s old cronies.

Kevin Jones, Gipton

Wrong scheme recent letters have criticised those who oppose the NGT trolleybus scheme, while extolling the quality of public transport in other cities. I would suggest the authors have not been following the ongoing public inquiry with as much care as we have.

If they had, they would realise that the comparisons they make with other cities are largely meaningless.

If we oppose the current trolleybus scheme it is not because we are Luddites or part of some small reactionary Mafia, but because we reflect the majority opinion of resident associations along the route.

They are well-placed to see that it is the wrong scheme in the wrong place, and that it will not solve any of the current traffic problems in the city.

There are far better, less damaging, more flexible solutions.

Christopher Todd, Headingley

Paradise units

I smiled when reading Malcolm Nicholson’s latest rant about taxing caravans because they are ‘sheds on wheels’ that create hold ups on the roads (YEP, August 6).

I honestly imagined it would be Malcolm chugging along in a Morris Minor on the A64 with a queue of furious caravans behind him!

The mention of caravans sent me down memory lane.

Before our tastes got more sophisticated and foreign travel became cheaper, families were happy with a caravan holiday.

Sheds on wheels? They were mobile paradise units.

I loved my childhood caravan holidays at Filey. From a child’s eyes it was magical the way a bed unfolded from a wall and the table turned over to become a bed – and not forgetting the sweet morning song from the seagulls.

Please Malcolm, if anything in our beautiful county ever pleases you then let us know.

Amanda Lilliu, South Milford

Council paid out nothing to me

Alan Freeman (YEP, August 11), asks how much the council has to pay out in compensation for damage to cars caused by speed bumps.

Well, in my experience, absolutely nothing as long as they adhere to the standards laid down.

I went to Golden Acre Park on the day they were installing new speed bumps. I managed to miss going over the first as it was only half completed, but with the second I wasn’t so lucky. I was driving at less than walking pace but it still ripped off both my mudflaps, which in turn ripped out my plastic wheel arch liner.

The cost of replacing these parts, by myself, was £150. I applied to the council for this to be reimbursed but was refused, even though the bumps were later reduced in height because of complaints.

The regulations regarding speed bumps should be modified and the bumps should be appropriate for the situation they are placed in.

Steven Williams, Batley

Garry Monk has resigned as Leeds United head coach

YEP Letters: May 27