Better than medals
Sir, – Yarden Gazit’s “Israel’s Olympians must jump over
government hurdles” (Comment & Features, August 6) is most welcome and
However, it addresses only part of the problem.
education in Israeli schools is greatly lacking and competitive sports are
almost non-existent. Another hurdle is that sports organizations and clubs are
politicized and engage in favoritism.
Attitudes toward and investment in
physical education and competitive sports are widely known as the principal
factors in success at the Olympics and other international sporting events.
Israel, too, can succeed well beyond its size if these problems are duly
addressed and sports education and competition are raised to a top position on
our national agenda.
The resulting benefits would go far beyond Olympic
Remember the 11
Sir, – As Jeff Barak
explains in “The right way to remember the Munich 11” (Reality Check, August 6),
it won’t help to complain about the fact that the athletes murdered in Munich
were not memorialized in public at this year’s Olympic Games (or at any previous
games). But the mere fact that a memorial was held inside the Olympic Village in
London shows they are not forgotten.
As Barak says, “this is the right
way to remember these Jewish athletes.”
Let’s keep it that way. As long
as we remember, that’s all that really counts.
Sir, – Perhaps it was indeed best that no moment of silence was observed at the
opening of the London Olympics for the 11 Israeli athletes slaughtered by
Palestinians in 1972.
Consider what would have happened in the
undoubtedly sanitized speech. There would have been no mention that the
terrorists were Palestinian or about our anger at Germany, which freed the three
surviving terrorists a short time later under dubious
Sir, – Perhaps in his next column,
Jeff Barak can explain why the victims of the 7/7 terrorist attack in London –
which had absolutely nothing to do with the Olympics – were honored at “such a
joyous event” as the opening ceremonies, and why doing the same for the Munich
11 would have been wrong.
Sir, – It was very disconcerting to read “Israel’s fading democracy” (Comment
& Features, August 6).
The opinion piece was part of a campaign of
resurrection for Avraham Burg, and the fact that it came from The New York
Times, a bastion of anti-Israel voices, added to my discomfort.
recently, Beit Avi Chai announced a series of lectures by Burg called
“Discussions on Parashat Hashavua.” If my recollections are correct, the
principal donor for Beit Avi Chai would not approve choice of the
When an organization is not properly supervised it can lead to
a very left-wing staff.
Another example is when Burg became chairman of
the Jewish Agency, with a hefty salary and many perks. While there he spent the
majority of his time on personal political efforts. He also attempted to mount a
court action against the Agency, which refused to pay him NIS 200,000 per annum
and provide him with a prestige car and chauffeur for the rest of his
He is the ultimate post-Zionist.
Coulda been worse
Sir, – Undercover police attending a social justice rally in
Tel Aviv on Saturday night attempted to be inconspicuous by wearing T-shirts
linked with the party of political hopeful Yair Lapid (“Why were undercover cops
wearing Yair Lapid Tshirts at Saturday night’s rally?,” August 6).
could have been worse. The undercover personnel wearing those shirts – with the
slogan “Where’s the money?” – could have been tax inspectors.
They’re in trouble
Sir, – As if the failure of President Barack
Obama’s efforts to stir up jobs and get the economy moving in the right
direction isn’t bad enough, we now have the male counterpart of Sarah Palin as
his presumed opponent.
Mitt Romney’s gaffes get no laughs. We have to
decide between Obama, the consummate lecturer, and Romney, a man whose demeanor
is so stiff and robotic that watching paint dry is more stimulating.
are in trouble, folks!
Massapequa, New York
Sir, – Winners of the
Nobel Peace Prize win the award for something they did. US President Barack
Obama is the only one who received the prize based on what was expected of
Since he received the prize, Iran has been threatening genocide and
has not stopped for a moment in developing a nuclear weapon that would allow it
to carry out its threat.
Obama should return the award. Maybe then he’ll
win for his integrity.
On Fridays I buy the newspaper of my choice, which is not outside the shop with
all the other English-language papers but in a black plastic bag hidden inside,
in the corner behind the cash register. No, it’s not porn... it’s The Jerusalem
Post! Recently, the shop owners told me that if caught selling the Post their
kashrut license would be revoked. I was speechless – I live in Har Nof, a
neighborhood in Jerusalem, not Tehran! NAOMI HALPERN Jerusalem Aliya in Dark
Ages Sir, – After 18 years of wanting to make aliya, I finally started acting on
After many months of dealing with the Jewish Agency, often
receiving differing instructions or late responses (each email would come from a
different person), I thought everything was finally ready when my application
was submitted to the Absorption Ministry. While waiting for processing I took up
a three-month opportunity with a humanitarian aid organization in
Much to my disgust, my case is now being revisited due to the
fact that I declared that I suffered from depression in the past. Despite it
being 100 percent under control and providing the Jewish Agency with a medical
certificate, I am now required to attend an additional interview and have my
case discussed by a special committee.
It appears that this is due to the
possibility that I could, theoretically, fall into the category of being someone
who may “endanger public health or the security of the state,” which is one of
the exceptions to the Law of Return.
The Jewish Agency will not make
provisions for the fact that the closest shaliah (aliya emissary) who can do the
interview is a $1,700 flight away in South Africa. Neither telephone nor Skype
What is most distressing, though, is the 19th-century
attitude to mental illness. The immediate link between the broad category of
mental illnesses and the possibility of endangering public health is not only
ludicrous, but a sad indictment on what is otherwise a modern state.
hurt, saddened and angry at being put in a position where instead of being
welcomed to Israel with open arms, I have such obstacles and attitudes in front
It is high time that these bodies come out of the Dark Ages and
understand that mental illness can be controlled and is not contagious, and that
people like me are not all crazy mass-murderers!