Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

To die or not to die,on the roads?

I just cannot keep silent anymore.

Tonight I am watching  MEET THE PRESS  and hearing from Malka Hacham who lost both sons on Jabotinsky Road in Petach Tikva that she has been campaigning  day and night for someone to address the issue of pedestrian safety in towns.

Ask her if she ever heard of the MAROM camera and of the pedestrian programme that we  METUNA  the organisation for road safety and injury prevention, succeeded in bringing to Netanya and other places despite  no support from the Ministry of Transport. Because of “interessantim” that camera was sold abroad but not used in Israel except for the experimental phase in Netanya in 1993/4 which reduced road deaths, injuries, accidents and speed by 68% overall in six months.

The only reason we have roundabouts and speed bumps both for the safety of pedestrians and obviously reduction of speed, is because of Rav Yitsak Levi. He  as Minister of Transport went to the UK and Europe after hearing about pedestrian safety from British expert Frank Nunneley who addressed our conference in Jerusalem, at which the Minister was the guest of honour.

Professor Gerry Ben David z’l was a brilliant physicist who spent a great deal of his life to develop  educational systems including those for truck drivers which we took to companies with big fleets of vehicles. We also introduced the first inter active educational projects to Jewish and Arab kids all over Israel.

This all existed when Or Yarok came into the picture and all that needed to be done was to continue and enhance these programmes and  at the same time  lobbying the authorities to bring in speed cameras, keep down the speed limit and more.

What happened there, is it that Or Yarok became a useful instrument which enabled the the Government to abbregate their responsibility. Volunteers are beautiful people but they are not the answer.

Dr Sheinin talks about infrastructure and education but without  public protest  no one pays attention to “red roads” because they are in areas which by nature are neglected by authorities and more people die.

No one mentions the severely injured whose lives and those of their families are wrecked after road collisions and for whom the state is forced to find funds to alleviate their distress. We all know about the Bill to alleviate the plight of the disabled, well many of them are also victims of wild or negligent drivers.

There were two slogans in the days when we were on the streets and in the media “Speed Kills, Kill Speed” and “Faster faster until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death”

Today we have cellphones. Have the statistics of road deaths caused by them been published yet or the injuries to electric bike riders?

There was a time  every week on  Reshet Bet at  Friday  lunchtime when Shimon Vilnai announced the road deaths and serious injuries.

No one dares anymore.

Soldiers have to go to battle and many have given their lives but people do not need to die on the roads it serves no noble purpose.

About the Author
Zelda Harris first came to Israel 1949, aged 18. After living through the hardships of the nascent state, she returned to England in 1966. She was a founding member of the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry. In 1978, she returned with her family to Israel and has been active in various spheres of Israeli Society since. Together with the late Chaim Herzog, she founded CCC for Electoral Reform, was the Director of BIPAC in Israel, and a co-founder of Metuna, the Organisation for Road Safety, which received the Speaker of Knesset Quality of Life Award for saving lives on the roads and prevention of serious injury. She is now a peace activist, blogger for Times of Israel and is writing her life story.