Sir, – For whatever reason – needed income or, worse, support –
the anti-fluoridation ad on the front page of your May 3 issue felt like an
attempt to convince readers that our new minister of health is right in seeking
an end to ending the practice of fluoridating water.
I have worked in
public health for years and have read studies on fluoridation, including the
benefits and the risks, that go back decades. There should be no doubt in 2013
that the benefits to dental health, especially that of children, outweigh the
worries about unproven risks.
ALAN HERMAN Jerusalem
I felt disgust and revulsion reading “Family says son who stabbed Israeli to
death ‘did his duty’” (May 3), and a lot of my discomfort is directed at The
Why on Earth would you give so much free publicity to
people who feel it is their duty to kill Jews in Israel? I cannot comprehend why
you would reward them with a half page of boastful hatred.
There are no
words to say how unhappy I am with your editorial decision to print this
KAREN J. FOLK Petah Tikva
Sir, – In “One last flight”
(Observations, May 3) Reuven Ben-Shalom revisits some of his most important
themes: responsibility, dedication and humility in the face of challenges, risks
and dangers. This time more than ever, the themes come alive through the deep
emotions and reflections he is brave enough to share with his reading
As he comes to the realization that his “flying days are over,”
Ben-Shalom gives the reader more than a glimpse of what his days were like. I
was unashamed to have my intellect come alive to his images portraying the
breadth of the challenges faced by the “Night Birds,” and to feel the tears that
rolled down my cheeks as I read of the friends he lost and the risks he and the
others faced. I was also touched by the gratitude he so genuinely expresses “to
each and every airman of the squadron, especially our maintenance
Ben-Shalom fuses for us the significance of
Remembrance Day and Independence Day being back-to-back, and bolsters our
intuitive sense to acknowledge our soldiers and extend to each a look that says,
“You make a difference.”
I am a more complete and understanding Israeli
from the window Ben-Shalom opens for me to better view the land I love and where
I live. Good job to you, Reuven Ben-Shalom!
JOANNE JACKSON YELENIK Beit Shemesh
Sir, – The suggestion that former prime minister Ehud Olmert
made tough decisions over the Syrian nuclear reactor, the Second Lebanon War and
Operation Cast Lead (“Debating the Zionist dream,” Observations, May 3) is about
as absurd as you can get.
To remove the Syrian reactor was a given by
necessity. Nothing courageous in that. The Second Lebanon War was anything but a
victory for Israel – and that is being generous. Cast Lead was a job half-done,
which is a job not done at all, necessitating in all probability another
expedition into Gaza.
As for Alan Dershowitz, what is the objective in
debating Noam Chomsky? Would Chomsky and his die-hard leftists and Israelhaters
ever conceive they were wrong? Would it win meaningful converts to Israel’s
existence in peace and security? Not a chance.
I. KEMP Nahariya What BDS?
Sir, – With regard to Zalman Shoval’s “What happened to Berkeley?” (Comment
& Features, April 30), I am amazed that anyone could think divestment harms
a company in any way. All that happens is someone sells shares to someone
So what? On the contrary, some good may well have resulted from the
University of California Berkeley’s transactions because these anti- Semites may
well have sold their holdings to friends of Israel.
Don’t you think
that’s good for us? I do.
JOCK L. FALKSON Ra’anana
Sir, – We get the
impression that university campuses are a universal seat of anti-Israel and
anti-Zionist bias. But that’s not always the case.
At the University of
Western Australia in Perth, students celebrated Israel’s Independence Day by
dressing up a local statue known as “Eliza” in the Israeli flag for all to see.
This was publicized in The Maccabean, the local Jewish community
HENRY KAYE Ashkelon Sir, – The intolerable hypocrisy of
Western society in its inability to call out Islamic leaders for their
oppressive policies and behaviors (“Pontificating hypocrites,” Comment &
Features, April 29) must be addressed more vigorously.
The hypocrisy is
further aggravated by the egregious phenomenon of “Israel Apartheid
It is high time that various capitals celebrated “Islamic Terror
Week.” This could be held at different times of the year – September in New
York, July in London, etc.
LOUIS GARB Jerusalem
Strengthen the bond
– Reader Ida Selavan Schwarcz (“Loosen the bond,” Letters, April 29) comments
that Israel Bonds “(are) not a gift... (but) a loan that must be repaid with
interest.” While she construes this as a negative, in reality the fact that
Israel has maintained a perfect repayment record of principal and interest on
every Israel bond it has issued is a source of tremendous
Moreover, although Schwarcz points to expenses associated with the
Bonds operation, the truth is the organization is quite cost-effective. It is
important to remember that Israel Bonds is a broker-dealer and its operational
costs – approximately 3.0 percent of bonds sold – compare very favorably when
measured against those typically incurred by brokerage firms. In addition, we
continue to effectively reduce expenses through the introduction of new business
models, most especially our online investment site.
Finally, she asks:
“Isn’t it about time we disbanded this method of raising funds?” Perhaps she
should ask the Finance Ministry, which has raised the Israel Bonds goal for 2013
to unprecedented levels, underscoring the organization’s continued value to
Israel as an economic and strategic resource.
IZZY TAPOOHI New York
writer is president and CEO of the Development Corporation for Israel/Israel
Sir, – I fail to understand why the government of Israel has
any role in setting the price of books or the level of author royalties. These
should be the preserve of normal commercial negotiations (“Livnat bill hopes to
raise authors’ earnings, lower book prices,” April 26).
legislation would definitely be to the detriment of consumers of Israeli
literature, who are likely to number in the few thousands and could well be
deterred by the higher prices demanded by a small potential market.
curious to know whether such literature would be available for computer
download, and whether the legislation would cover such sales. Surely,
availability in this manner will result in even fewer sales in hard copy and the
bankruptcy of even more independent retailers.
Perhaps authors of Israeli
literature would be better served by collectively exploiting the low-cost,
wide-distribution route allowed by Internet publishing rather than their
relatively weak position in regard to negotiations with publishers.