Marsupial model

Sir, – Judy Siegel’s report that the growing number of premature births in Israel is causing a shortage of caregivers and facilities (“Dearth of medical professionals and neonatal ICUs increases rate of preemie deaths,” November 6) is worrying.

However, there is one proven treatment for premature babies that is totally without cost and is not invasive: kangaroo care.

Started in Colombia, where mothers often gave birth in remote areas far from medical care centers, it was taken up by leading neonatologists in the US.

In Israel, a study of its effects was published by Prof. Arthur Eidelman, then head of the neonatal ICU at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Basically, kangaroo care is keeping the infant for several hours of the day resting skin-toskin on the mother’s body. The physical benefits are stable heart rate and breathing, improved body temperature, improved weight gain, less crying and colic, increased lactation success, shorter hospital stays and longer periods of alertness.

Beyond measure are the emotional effects on both the baby and the parents. One of the hardest aspects of parenting a baby in special care is the distance created by incubators and equipment, and if this can be compensated for by spending some hours of the day holding the baby close, it will ease the transition when the infant is released from the hospital.

WENDY BLUMFIELD
Haifa
The writer is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding counselor


Hidden agenda?

Sir, – Your editorial “Kosher competition” (November 6) carried a balanced and calmly argued account of attempts to break the monopoly of the Rabbinate in the matter of kashrut supervision in restaurants. Yet it concluded with the following: “We hope the resulting improvement in kashrut supervision will give the organized Jewish religion a better name.”

A lawyer once told me that you learn much more from a witness’s throwaway comment at the end of a response than from the actual response. What is the hidden agenda here?

STANLEY COHEN
Jerusalem


Superhero

Sir, – Gershon Baskin (“The leader and the leaderless,” Encountering Peace, November 6) is unable to accept that he is wrong about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. In fact, he is unable to accept that the policies of the Left have been and continue to be disastrous for the State of Israel.

I get the impression that Baskin thinks of himself as some superhero who, if only given the chance, could sort out all our problems with the nice Mr. Abbas. He would have us believe that Abbas was sincere when he made certain pronouncements in a televised interview:

1. As long as Abbas is president of the PA there will be no third intifada or return to violence. The problem here is that when speaking to his own people, he has always added that his belief about non-violence is due only to the fact that they are not yet strong enough to defeat us.

2. The Palestinians recognize Israel within the pre-1967 borders and agree to territorial swaps that will modify the borders. Such largesse! In the meantime he tells his people that all of Israel is Palestine and it will be freed, and to prove the point there is no mention of Israel on any PA school map and there is talk of the liberation of Palestine in all PA media.

3. Abbas has no intention of returning to his birthplace, Safed, hinting that Palestinians who want to return to Palestine should come to the Palestinian state. This he later clarified as a personal opinion and not meant for the millions of refugees. In fact, in a series of statements, Abbas has vehemently denied allegations that he has given up the refugees’ “right of return.”

We must hope that the majority of Israelis are better able to understand what Abbas is all about.

YENTEL JACOBS
Netanya


Uneducated teens

Sir, – The commentary by Tal Harris (“Conflict in the education system,” Comment & Features, November 6) really hurt. Not only do high school students lack knowledge about African and Palestinian refugees, they hardly know what cities border on the Mediterranean Sea. Some have never even been to Jerusalem (“what is there to do?”).

The wonderful library in Holon is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can see people over 30 and parents with young children. High school children sleep late because they were out at night before.

The One Voice Movement can help make a difference. Keep it up!

OLGA P. WIND
Holon


Miraculous resolution

Sir, – Due to a misunderstanding, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has, over time, accumulated a large water bill (“Holy Sepulchre in row over unpaid NIS 9m. municipal water bill,” November 4).

Surely, an obvious and mutually beneficial resolution of this issue would be for the Greek Orthodox Church to agree to change some of the Jerusalem water company’s product into wine in lieu of payment.

YONATAN SILVER
Jerusalem


Wake-up call

Sir, – Isi Leibler is right when he argues that “American Jewish leaders must seek to reverse the growing threat from the far-Left anti-Israeli activists in the Democratic party....” (“An election of great importance for Israel,” Candidly Speaking, November 1).

It is not simply a strange aberration that the drafters of the 2012 Democratic platform omitted language from the 2008 platform that called for the isolation of the terrorist organization Hamas, no Israeli return to the perilous 1949 armistice lines, and the resettlement of Palestinian refugees of the 1948-49 war and their millions of descendants in a future Palestinian state. And it is no accident that the reinsertion of language from the 2008 Democratic platform on God and on Jerusalem being the capital of Israel was bitterly opposed by at least one-half of the delegates at the party’s August convention, as anyone who watched on TV knows.

It is clear enough from history that the Democratic Party has had its Israel critics, as have the Republicans. But today’s penetration of the Democratic Party by anti-Israel forces means that Leibler’s call for the Jewish leadership to confront this threat should be heeded.

MORTON A. KLEIN
New York
The writer is national president of the Zionist Organization of America


A man, a plan

Sir, – Why can’t the Israelis sit down with Fatah and Hamas, without the United States, and say the following:

• If we go on like this we will keep killing each other for the next 100 years.

• You Palestinians are losing out more than we Israelis are, so let’s just draw this line. You get Gaza and this part of the West Bank and this part of the Galilee, and we get that part of the West Bank and keep that part of the Galilee. We split Jerusalem along this twisting line or the Jews take it and leave you Ramallah, since although we say Jerusalem could be an international city, neither of us is willing to be ruled by the other and Jerusalem is very big in Judaism.

• No right of return for you, and we Jews don’t get to live everywhere Jews lived a thousand years before you Palestinians came here, unless of course from time to time we let some Palestinians immigrate to Israel and you let some Jews immigrate to Palestine.

• While this deal is not what either of us wants, it is as good as either of us can get without driving the other out of here, which apparently is not going to happen, and this ends the dispute.

STEVEN K. ROSS
New York

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