Unproven risks
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

Free publicity

Sir, – 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 Jerusalem Post.

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 garbage.

KAREN J. FOLK Petah Tikva

Good job!
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 public.

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 professionals....”

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

Absurd suggestion
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 else.

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 newspaper.

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 Week.”

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
Sir, – 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 pride.

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
The writer is president and CEO of the Development Corporation for Israel/Israel Bonds

Royalty pain
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).

The proposed 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.

I am 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.

ALAN FINLAY Jerusalem

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