Freedom of expression
Sir, - To those wondering how it is possible to restrict ad terminology in a democracy that should cherish expression as a basic right ("High Court rules radio ads cannot describe Gaza disengagement as 'expulsion,'" November 16), I respond: Surely, you jest! Free speech? Right of assembly? Less than two weeks into my aliya, I found out firsthand how limited those rights were here, when the police carted me off to the Russian Compound prison for distributing a booklet about Fatah immoderation to the media on a Jerusalem street corner. Spewers of extremist anti-Zionist rhetoric are apparently immune, though. The enlightened Left will decide for us when free speech does and does not apply.
Director, Israel Office, Zionist Organization of America
Sir, - I cannot understand the basis for the Supreme Court decision on refusing to describe the term "expulsion" as legitimate when referring to what happened to Israelis who lived in Gush Katif. They were forcibly removed from their homes, and this fact was known everywhere in the world.
The idea that we mustn't use certain words really has to do with freedom of speech. However, if the High Court has ruled that certain words are illegitimate, we will have to find other ways of perpetuating the memory of one of the worst actions ever taken by a Jewish government against fellow Jews who were leading a productive and worthwhile life. Perhaps we can compare the situation from now on to Little Red Riding Hood being lured by the Big Bad Wolf.
It is only the heroism of the former residents of Gush Katif that has made it possible for them not only to be integrated into society once again, but to dream and hope for better new communities making Israel productive and viable.
Sir, - One, two, three, four, there is a knock on the door, there is a nice young soldier telling me we are disengaged and I better pack my things on the floor because I'm destined to roam, and hope to find a new home where the soldier may protect me hopefully and I will be once more engaged.
An unholy combination
Sir, - In regards to "Barkat backs Intel at launch of Jerusalem factory" (November 16), I can never understand why the haredim have to protest specifically on Shabbat. There are six other days in the week. Why do they have to desecrate the Shabbat with their demonstrations? This holds true for this past Shabbat, when they protested against Intel, and for recent weeks, when they protested against the opening of the Carta parking lot. Is this how some of the haredim "keep the Shabbat holy"? Hurling rocks at journalists - and worse, breaking into Intel's synagogue and throwing prayer books to the floor?
It's about time the rabbis of these disruptive sects told their followers how to behave and how to keep the Sabbath day holy!
Stop the sugar cycle!
Sir, - The November 12 article "Two million diabetic Israelis possible in 20 years' time" should have exploded off the pages - and likely would have, had it ended with the known facts concerning the exponential increase in the risk, instead of some vague remarks about treatment and genetic markers. The danger is real. National health is threatened. Not facing the issue is near-criminal.
The physiology of what is happening is pure and proven. The massive over-ingestion of simple sugars causes a commensurately massive over-release of insulin. The insulin forces the sugar down. The excessive insulin remains and causes hunger and habitual cravings that have to be fed again and again. The story get complicated as the body tries to cope with what has become a habitual attack on all its health-directed systems.
Obesity is largely the result of overindulgence in simple, non-nutritional sugars instead of the healthy, necessary complex sugars (carbohydrates). Eating fat does not cause obesity! Butter in reasonable amounts is healthy. Margarine, on the other hand, is a toxin - practically poison for the body.
The sugar-obesity cycle is endless. Fat fat cells produce toxins. The toxins cause multiple, compounding problems: joint pain, hypertension, fatigue, cancer and other bad stuff.
The corporate food industry has no interest in selling healthy food. It scientifically exploits its products to maximize profits by getting consumers hooked. Every packaged food product is, for very good reasons, suspect.
As I came out of shul this morning, two trucks pulled up to unload at the mini-market. Both were decorated with colorful displays of sugar-loaded, chemically manufactured foods. The basic truth: social acclimation to empty, sweet, temporarily delicious things, and acquiescence to children who want them, is powerfully responsible for the diabetes/obesity/hypertension epidemic.
If the collective Jewish pancreas had feelings, it would dread Shabbat. Look at the average table and count the sugar-loaded drinks.
PESACH GOODLEY, M.D.
Israelis and Palestinians - a moot conflict?
Sir, - There is no need for conflict between claims that Jews or Palestinians are the real heirs of the Israelites ("TAU historian sparks controversy in London," November 16). Anthropological research in Israel and the territories and peer-reviewed genetic studies have shown that both Jews and Palestinians are descendants of our biblical forbears. As retired Israeli software pioneer Tsvi Misinai has put it, "the ancestors of today's Jews were faithful to their religion but left the land, while the ancestors of today's Palestinians were faithful to the land but left - through no fault of their own - their religion."
There is an amazing video of Misinai's conversations with Palestinians who recall their Jewish roots. There is also a revolutionary peace plan afoot based on the fact that Jews and Palestinians were once one people and can be so again. It is called The Engagement.
Talk about chutzpa!
Sir, - Senator George Mitchell has just been nominated for being biggest chutzpanik of the year ("Kahane Memorial in the Knesset would harm peace process, US Embassy says," November 12). The nerve of anyone outside this country telling the Knesset what they can or can't do! You don't see Mitchell telling the Palestinians not to celebrate the death of Arafat, the arch-terrorist of our time, because it might be a hindrance to the peace process. You don't see Mitchell asking the Arabs to curb their rhetoric about Israel because it might reduce our confidence in the Palestinians' intentions about peace. You don't see Mitchell demanding that the Palestinians change the curriculum in their school systems so future generations will want to opt for peace as opposed to martyrdom.
Statements like Mitchell's just reinforce the Israeli opinion that the US is now leaning more toward the Palestinians and away from their only democratic ally in the Middle East.
A different delivery
Sir, - Having worked in labor and delivery at Yale New Haven Hospital, I wonder how differently I would have acted if I had read the research cited in Judy Siegel-Itzkovitch's "Demons in the delivery room" (November 15) years ago.
I know I would have spoken and behaved otherwise toward the young women at whose bedsides I spent hours when they were in labor.
I am sure that this new information will assist others who perform this job now.
SHEILA ROTENBERG, RN