Sir, – The news on the front page of the Post these days has been very disturbing.

An enemy fires dozens of rockets at our southern towns and our answer is to send a sophisticated and expensive warplane to snipe at and wound a terrorist.

When additional rockets fall and disrupt the lives of a million of our countrymen we complain to the UN. Our Iron Dome units neutralize only one or two rockets.

Our government busies itself with the political turmoil over a major fire. Meanwhile, our very sovereignty is being blatantly violated.

RAPHAEL BEN-YOSEF
Ramat Gan

Scary proposal

Sir, – The anti-smoking campaign of Amos Hausner and his colleagues (“Yearning to breathe free,” Health, June 24) is scary. If they have their way we’ll end up like America in the 1920s, when a prohibition on the sale, manufacture and transportation of liquor led to a massive increase in crime, racketeering, public corruption and widespread, irrepressible flouting of the law.

Bootlegging became a major industry and other illegal activities flourished. The Mafia evolved and grew rich, spreading its tentacles to other spheres that continue to have a negative influence on society to this day.

While I support any law that seeks to prevent one person from harming another (which might include a ban on smoking in enclosed public places), I strongly condemn any legislation that generalizes to the point of interfering with the freedom of an individual or company to conduct an otherwise legal activity, be it for gain or pleasure.

A universal ban on anything is dictatorial. If people want something they will always find a way to get it. (Street drugs are a notorious example.) By making tobacco companies less profitable, what will happen to the many pension funds that invest in them, the numerous ancillary businesses that depend on them, and the various cultural and sporting events that survive through their sponsorship? (And let’s not forget the contribution of smokers to government revenue through taxation.) Is Hausner willing to pay more tax as a form of compensation?

GEOFFREY PREGER
Caesarea

More Anastasias!

Sir, – With regard to “What she was trying to say?” (Politics, June 22), good for Anastasia Michaeli! We need a few more MKs like her. What she said was needed and correct.

The majority of the press hates the Right. Have people not noticed on a global level how the media seize on anything that is anti-Israel, and anything that isn’t anti-Israel they either twist or avoid mentioning?

I. KEMP
Nahariya

Hospital experiences

Sir, – Regarding “Being a ‘hospitalist’ after the big physicians’ strike” (3rd Opinion, June 22), Gabi Barbash is in principle correct in that SHARAP, or private medicine, is the best of a bad list of alternatives.

As a member of the Israeli public I have dealt with both private and public sector health care. Many of the senior doctors are dedicated and struggling to meet the obligations to both their private patients and their hospitals. They are highly skilled and deserve a decent salary.

However, during visits to public hospitals, including the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, I have met with lack of consideration and respect for the patient, and sloppy diagnoses. I do not have one friend without a similar story.

Barbash needs to instill in his staff the feeling that the patient is of primary importance during work time, and that the bitterness these staff members feel should not be made apparent.

This is not an issue of money, and until this change takes place, few will support his initiative.

If Barbash wants support he needs to reduce public anger by putting a maximum effort into making sure that the public – without consideration of race, sex, gender or religion – is treated with dignity. If he implements a program of zero tolerance to rudeness, callousness and inefficiency he will win the hearts of the public and be able to obtain support for his plan.

RUTH ROTMAN
Jerusalem

Sir, – Patients and families are at their worst coming into a hospital.

There is danger, pain, uncertainty and overwhelming fear. Overworked and understaffed, nurses and doctors confront these suffering patients.

Over the years I have accompanied my ailing husband on several hospital stays. Praise is due for the dedicated and concerned care he has received. The disturbing part is that only a minority of the attending doctors and nurses have been compassionate and accessible, clearly addressing families as equal partners in the patient’s recovery.

I have often been greeted with impatience and indifference.

Overworked doctors are elusive and distant. The patient hangs in limbo because the family physician, who best knows the patient, is disconnected from hospital procedures.

I feel that much of the violence in hospitals is a terrified, helpless response to poor interpersonal communications with members of the staff. Something is missing in human relations training for medical personnel.

JO MILGROM
Jerusalem

To the rescue

Sir, – The letter from Alice Eve Harary Sardell (“Where credit is due,” June 21) shows one of two things: Either she is jealous for not sharing the limelight with Judy Feld Carr or she is not acquainted with Carr’s 30 years of rescuing over 3,000 Syrian Jews from Syria as early as 1977.

It is unfortunate that Jewish organizations that spring like mushrooms after the rain with self-appointed presidents and staff, legitimate as they may be, find the need to justify their existence at the expense of dedicated individuals behind untold contributions and achievements.

I assume Sardell’s claim about US government involvement is correct. But according to her letter, that specific operation took place between 1989 and 1994, years that do not coincide with the history of the persecution of Syrian Jewry and their rescue.

It behooves Sardell to consult the literature written about Carr specifically, and Jews from Arab countries in general, and perhaps to conduct interviews with people who have publicly declared that they owe their lives to “Miss Judy,” as they called her.

With all due respect to the US administration, neither public records nor public figures can do justice to one of the most daring missions ever undertaken in an Arab country by one individual, and that individual is Judy Feld Carr.

MAURICE ROUMANI
Beersheba
The writer is a professor in the Department of Multi-Discipline Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and founder of the J.R. Elyachar Center for the Study of Sephardi Heritage

Sir, – How tragic that a representative of the former New York-based Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews, which I helped to create before Alice Eve Harary Sardell even joined, should find it appropriate to attack my clandestine work of rescuing over 3,000 Jews from Syria in operations from 1977 to 2001, about which Sardell knows absolutely nothing.

Public demonstrations and representations from several countries, not just the United States, certainly drew attention to the plight of Syrian Jews.

For a period of a few months in 1994, Hafez Assad opened the doors for some Jews to leave, but slammed them thereafter. Over 600 who could not afford to pay for exit permits during that short period were assisted by me from Canada.

The actual methods of rescue of not only individuals but whole families were secret and will remain so.

JUDY FELD CARR
Toronto/Jerusalem

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