Sir, – You report that Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has
said the European Union does not recognize settlements as part of Israel
(“Israel to announce new construction in West Bank in the near future,” October
Perhaps someone should remind Ms. Grybauskaite that two of the three
most important members of the EU already had a go (through the 1916 Sykes Picot
Agreement) at defining which Middle Eastern territories should be in which
Middle Eastern countries. The third had failed to get itself into a position to
She should also ask the present- day people of Syria, Lebanon,
Iraq, Kurdistan, etc. how well that worked out.MERVYN DOOBOV
Jerusalem Wiser spending
Sir, – Regarding “Knesset panel: Increase focus on
Diaspora Jewry,” October 22), MK Nissim Zeev is correct when he advocates
greater funding for day school education abroad.
In the same issue, you
write that New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is to receive the
firstever $1 million Genesis Prize.
The $100m. charity fund that awards
this prize was established by Russian Jewish billionaires.
Would it not
have been better to award this money to Jewish education? If Jewish life is to
be maintained in the Diaspora, students and schools there need it
Bloomberg, however much deserving of the honor, does not!
Eilat rail solution
Sir, – The planned railway to Eilat is
essential for the future of Israel’s economy. I believe the objections of the
Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel can be and should be
Have SPNI members ever traveled around Switzerland? The beauty
and grandeur is no less than that of the Negev. The bridges and tunnels
complement the views, and the rail lines are designed with both visual impact
and impact on wildlife in mind.
If opera can be said to be Italy’s
greatest contribution to world culture, symphonic music Germany’s and gourmet
cooking France’s, then railways as an artform, and not cheese, might be that of
the Swiss! Israel has some fine architects.
Their input in the design
stage can produce equally beautiful results.
A second possibility would
be to await the day when our Arab cousins depart from the path that anti-Semitic
Europeans designed for them during the colonial era, and return to be Abraham’s
We could then avoid the expense of an entirely new rail line,
with a very short link to the Jordanian line to Akaba (converting the
narrow-gauge to dualgauge, many examples of which exist in Europe, particularly
in Switzerland) and construct another short link between Akaba and
Eilat.DAVID LLOYD KLEPPER
Jerusalem Not just one scandal
Sir, – Isi
Leibler (“No end to Claims Conference distortions and shamelessness,” Candidly
Speaking, October 22) says that “every day we hear heartbreaking stories
depicting the appalling suffering of Holocaust survivors in the twilight of
their lives....” I, too, have been deeply disturbed by this terrible
I worked for many years as head of social services for the
Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) in the UK. We secured annual funding from
the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (Claims Conference) for
The three major organizations caring for survivors in
the UK (AJR, Jewish Care and Agudas Israel) meet monthly to discuss requests by
survivors for assistance and allocate funds to them fairly and carefully. No
known survivor is left hungry or in need of care. All essential household needs
Also, the British government does not tax the people’s
foreign Holocaust pensions.
I am now retired and living in Netanya. I
recently was told of about 160 survivors in a town in central Israel who are
being fed and supported by a fellow survivor who has to seek funding from
private individuals. Why should this be? I know that of the large proportion (70
percent) of the annual sum distributed by the Claims Conference comes to Israel.
Who here distributes these funds? Is there a working system of individual
assessment for every survivor’s request for help? The issue of Claims Conference
probity is very important and rightly highlighted by Leibler. The problem of
hungry survivors here is a national scandal that deserves immediate
Netanya A glass half-full
Sir, – With regard to
“Green laces for Gaucher Awareness Month” (Comment & Features, October 22),
I have read Elaine Benton’s books and follow her daily blog. I also make a point
of following her blog appearing every Friday in the health section of the
Benton has the ability to remain positive while dealing
with two serious chronic illnesses – which is pretty heroic.
through in every blog entry is her attitude.
Like the rest of us she must
have had two choices: give up and slip into depression, or write books and blog,
allowing us to peek into her daily life and, as a result, helping people in the
same position all over the world.
In each blog entry she manages to show
us the half-full glass.
Sir, – It is imperative
that more be made known about Gaucher and other such hereditary diseases so that
the general public and those more likely to be affected become aware of the
signs and consequences. Kudos to Elaine Benton for bringing this to worldwide
Sir, – I know that Gaucher is a disease
found mainly in the Jewish Ashkenazi population. Yet it receives little
attention in the Israeli press.
Many thanks to Elaine Benton for her well
written article, and congratulations to the Post for publishing it. Hopefully,
you will give us the opportunity to learn more about Gaucher, its effect on
patients’ lives and developments in treatment.LEE FREEMAN
It was refreshing to read Elaine Benton’s article on Gaucher, which is prevalent
mainly within the Jewish community.
The disease can be expressed to many
different degrees, from severe, where it affects every aspect of life, to where
those afflicted do not even realize they have it.
How do I know this? My
husband had it and he suffered.
Then, through the blessings of modern
science, the missing enzyme was able to be manufactured and administered
biweekly via intravenous infusion (but at a very high cost). He was
Some patients develop an allergic reaction and the body fights the
very medicine that is hoped will stop the progression of this horrible
Thank you for helping us in the Jewish population to keep
abreast of issues that can affect the quality of our lives. Awareness is half
the battle.KATHERINE SHELTER
Sir, – I had not heard
of this condition before reading “Green laces for Gaucher Awareness Month.” I
found the article most interesting, thought-provoking and informative. It will
make people more aware of some of the lesser-publicized debilitating
Elaine Benton obviously has a great deal to handle. She should
be applauded for caring enough to share her experiences with others who perhaps
find their glass half-empty.
Well done, Elaine and The Jerusalem
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