Shaky advice

Sir, – The article about earthquake preparedness asks: “Stay inside or go outdoors? Quake drill leaves more questions than answers” (Reporter’s Notebook, October 22).

The answer to that question is “stay indoors.”

I learned that from many years of living in Southern California. Running outdoors makes one vulnerable to being hit by, or tripping over any number of falling objects such as trees, poles, pieces of walls, broken sidewalks, roads, etc.

We were instructed to find shelter under a strong table, in a corridor where we could support ourselves between the two walls, in a bathroom with its substructure of pipes in the walls, to cite a few examples. Our bomb shelters would also make excellent safety venues.

For answers to the rest of their questions, I would advise our Home Front Command authorities to contact their California counterparts.

They’re not hard to find. Just check the telephone directory.

DEENA SPIGELMAN
Jerusalem


Stemming the drain

Sir, – Prof. Moshe Kaveh’s comments make interesting and very depressing reading (“Brain drain, falling stars,” Comment and Features, October 22).

It seems to me that, despite the Stars Program’s success in bringing academics home, the present situation in Israel actually encourages the brain drain.

It is a known fact that Israeli post-docs have to pursue their post doctoral research abroad. A post-doc need not even apply for a position in Israel unless he or she has overseas experience on their CV.

On the one hand, Kaveh is correct in that overseas study is important because science is international. On the other hand, are we not actually grooming these young people to become part of the brain drain? If they are worth their salt – and the Israelis almost always are – they are welcomed with open arms for post-doc placement in a super institution with cutting edge research facilities, hardly any budget restrictions and a lifestyle to which they can easily become accustomed.

If good schools for their children and comfortable accommodation and amenities for six or seven years are added to the mix, it is going to take superhuman efforts to attract them back to Israel even if they want to come back and their extended families are here.

Surely the resources the government has allocated to bring our “brilliant minds” home would be better invested in not forcing them to go in the first place.

If the government could find a way to contribute towards setting up post-doc positions in our own academic institutions surely the brain drain would be somewhat stemmed. The academic hierarchy would welcome the opportunity to mentor these brilliant minds in their own institutions if they had the resources.

The advanced technology available as well as Internet, video conferences and easy travel would serve to satisfy the need for international exposure to some extent and if an extended stay abroad would become necessary, it should at least be restricted to a year – or two at the most.

ANDREA GOLSTEIN
Jerusalem

The writer is the manager of the Israel Cancer Research Fund

Cries for help

Sir, – Within the last two weeks the subject of suicide has twice reached the pages of The Jerusalem Post. Unfortunately, I knew last week’s victim.

It was a shock for us all.

No signs, no indications. A quiet fine person, clearly keeping his feelings inside (“Man kills himself in bathroom at Ma’aleh Adumim police station,” October 15).

On the other hand, Raz Attias had told his friends of his suicidal intentions (“Youth killed in ‘suicide-by-cop’ dreamed of military career,” October 22).

He even informed Channel 2’s website. He left cries of help out in the open. Did anybody heed his cries? Did anybody know how to help him? Last week, one of my students approached me after I spoke about suicide, how it does not solve problems and how very important it is to share troubling issues with friends, family, social workers, teachers etc.

My student told me how suicide was on her mind. Of course I spoke with her and alerted the necessary people.

Suicide is a topic that must be addressed. Young adults must be educated to look for signs, even the invisible ones, among their friends. Young adults must be educated as to how to seek help when troubled.

I believe that the Education and Health ministries should design a plan dealing with this issue which would be introduced into the high schools. A beefed up public campaign via radio, TV, billboards and newspapers should advertise helplines for those who feel they can’t talk with someone they know. Before it’s too late again.

CHAYA HEUMAN
Ginot Shomron


Sir, – The shocking tragedy of the needless loss of a precious young life should serve to arouse within us some serious soul searching regarding some of our basic societal values.

The planning of a “double suicide” by two adolescents raises many serious questions about education, religion, peer pressure, family structure, sexual mores and the seeming lack of appreciation about the infinite value of every single human life.

The fact that Raz Attias was prepared to murder his pregnant girlfriend and then commit suicide defies rational explanation and a total understanding of the pathology involved.

It is however a vulgar and perverted dishonesty by segments of the media to attempt to obfuscate the real complex issues and divert the blame onto a reputable and honorable organization like Efrat, which offers emotional, psychological, spiritual and financial aid to those seeking alternatives to abortion.

Without attempting to impose a facile solution to this quandary, I believe that the seeming ease that youngsters engage in irresponsible sexual behavior with highly regrettable results deserves our concerted attention.

ZEV CHAMUDOT
Petah Tikva


Migrant math

Sir, – Gil Hoffman says that Netanyahu will earn votes from traditional Likud voters in development towns and poor neighborhoods for building the security fence along the Egyptian border, because it removes the “urgent threat [of] the wave of migrants who took their jobs” (“An untimely departure,” Frontlines, October 19).

No doubt these voters do look at things that way, and no doubt Netanyahu doesn’t care whether that perception is true, but only whether voters think it is.

However, the idea that African refugees take away people’s jobs is nonsense, economically.

Native residents of a country often think that poorer immigrants or migrant workers, who are willing to work for less money, take away their jobs, because they can see when they lose a job, or fail to get a job, that is filled by a migrant worker.

But, as the economist Julian Simon showed in a study of immigrants to Western countries, these newcomers create jobs as well as taking jobs, because their presence in the country creates a demand for food, housing, telephones, clothing, and any other products they consume, and the money earned by the people who fill those jobs creates a demand for further goods, creating more jobs.

Simon found that immigrants create more new jobs than they fill, so immigration produces a net increase in the number of jobs available for native residents.

The same effect should occur from African refugees coming to Israel.

The problem is that when people find a job that is created by African refugees, they usually do not know that is why they found the job, so they perceive African refugees as taking jobs away from them.

MICHAEL GERVER
Ra’anana

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