Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

How to save Israeli lives with bombs: target the pubs

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-01-06

If Israel wants to use bombs to protect Israeli Jewish lives, then bombing alcohol outlets within Israel would be much more effective than bombing Gaza.

Israeli deaths from road accidents kill more than one person a day, every day.  In 2007, 431 died.

So, what does the Israeli government do about this?  Cut funding to the National Road Safety Authority by US$55 million for 2009, or about a third of its budget.  The "Sheinin committee" plan to cut road deaths to 360 p.a. by 2010 is in tatters.

It’s a fair bet that drunk driving is a large contributor to the toll, hence my remark about bombing or running tanks over the top of liquor stores.  It’s certainly not the most efficient way, but as Israel apparently takes such care to avoid civilian death and injury in military operations, I’m sure that such bombing would be safe to its own citizens, or at least within the bounds of what Israel thinks are acceptable losses of Gazan civilians.

If just bombing the liquor outlets doesn’t work, bomb a few roads to slow down the traffic, bomb the car dealers so you don’t have cars on the streets zooming around killing Israeli citizens.

Compare this to the deaths of Israeli Jewish citizens from rocket attacks, be they launched from Lebanon or Gaza.  Even at "peak conflict" times (in no small way escalated and extended by Israeli actions), every single Israeli death is front page news, because it is the same 1-or-2 deaths a day.

An Israeli general news site ( seems to be running a campaign against "Deadly Highways", and discusses the NRSA funding cuts in "Is Life Cheap" (2008-10-09).

An opinion piece in the same campaign, by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of Jerusalem, "Thou shall not kill" (2008-10-09), puts road accidents into perspective:

Hundreds of people are killed in road accidents every year, and the total is about four times higher than all those killed in all the wars since the Return to Zion and in the war on terror.  Add to that the 20,000 people who are severely injured in road accidents every year – injured in a way which no longer lets them lead a normal life and you have Israel’s No. 1 enemy.

This is in a population of just over 7 million, comparable to Victoria.

Spending more on road safety is guaranteed to save lives.  Military action against Gazans is costly in Israeli money and Israeli lives (even by "friendly fire"), and is almost guaranteed to radicalize more people who will launch more action against Israel, causing more Israeli deaths.

If you were the Israeli PM, would you be cutting road funding and increasing military expenditure?

Either the Israeli government is falling into typical traps of poor risk perception and management (in which case it is incompetent and should not be trusted with Israeli lives), or the military action is a cynical ploy to boost political standing (in which case it is evil).

It is more than likely a combination.  The Israeli people deserve better.


2 Responses to “How to save Israeli lives with bombs: target the pubs”

  1. […] I should have realized that my post arguing against decreased funding of road safety programs in Israel and for cessation of violence in Gaza would be targetted by the US security services… but I didn’t think they would be so obvious that I could locate the probable source of the snooping so easily. “How to save Israeli lives with bombs: target the pubs” could in no sense be arguing for violence, indeed it explicitly argues that lives can be saved, but I can see why it got the attention it did. […]

  2. This would make Israel’s road toll lower than Australia’s. A fairly consistent 1500 people die on Australia’s roads each year (1467 in 2008), and we have a population of 21 million. Israel has one third of the population but less than one third of the accidents – so they’re safer drivers. Of course, they wouldn’t drive on average as far per year as an Australian, but their roads probably aren’t as good or safe either.

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