Where's the joy?
Sir, - There is nothing wrong with Chaim Steinmetz's essay calling for mutual deference among Israeli Jews ("Why Israel needs a Thanksgiving Day," November 23). However, the author states: "Maybe the haredim would appreciate how secular Jews have built a safe and prosperous country."
Safe? With Israelis having to rush into their bomb shelters in Kiryat Shmona? Prosperous, with our high unemployment rate and more than 100,000 living below the poverty line?
Sir, - Israelis have, despite all the hardships, plenty to be thankful for. Although Thanksgiving Day is a national American holiday it has truly universal aspects and appeal. We have plenty of turkeys in Israel; we can easily import the cranberry sauce.
A Muslim view
Sir, - In the wake of the recent developments along the Lebanese/Israeli border I wanted to express my feelings and suggestions.
First, I am a Muslim that favors peace and a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel. Second, I do not support Hizbullah (many Muslims in Lebanon do not as well) but Hizbullah is a Syrian tool and the Syrian regime is a totalitarian, Stalinist one that would do everything in its power to shake Lebanon. It is not in the interest of such a regime, a minority ruling by terror, to have stability in the region, and therefore it will never want peace with either Israel or Lebanon.
And so I suggest that instead of IAF planes dropping leaflets in Beirut to Lebanese citizens who are fully aware of the situation, why don't they threaten the real source, Syria, drop their bombs on the palace of Bashar Assad in Damascus and rid the Israelis and Lebanese of this tyrant? ("Lebanon's busy skies," November 24.)
Sir, - Today, as we mark International Day Against Violence toward Women, there persists in Israel an attitude that women's issues are not crucial to the social agenda. The state perceives violence against women as a marginal crime handled by the courts, and not as a wider phenomenon involving powerful social powers, beginning with the government itself and trickling down into society via the media and educational system.
Violence against women comes from the desire to control, undermine and oppress women. Unlike direct violence, it is a subtly concealed mechanism, well-organized by social agencies and powerful social forces.
One such struggle is over women's wombs. The idea that a woman's right to govern her own body can be negotiated paves the road toward treating women as property and the idea that a man can do whatever he pleases with his property.
Violence against women will stop when the educational system dedicates hours to teaching equality, when the state realizes that a women's right over her body is sacred and solely hers.
The writer, an attorney, is director of the New Family Organization for the advancement of family rights in Israel.
Committed, yet omitted
Sir, - In disbelief I read "Restorative for a shrinking Israel" (November 23). Russell Robbins of the JNF wants to entice 250,000 Jews to settle the Negev. He turns to disenchanted Israelis on the verge of leaving the country, immigrants and those who live in settled areas such as Ra'anana, Modi'in and Beit Shemesh.
Fine. But who did he leave out, totally ignore? (and he isn't the only one). What group of capable, resourceful and committed people did he omit? Those who have already made the land bloom and flourish, people who don't for a minute think of leaving the country. Why are these precious people who are languishing in hotels, without homes or jobs, not being turned to? Why are they being treated as if they don't exist?
TAMAR H. KAGAN
Sir, - Your paper is to be commended for raising awareness of both the exhilarating pleasure of cycling and its dangers ("Making biking safer," Editorial, November 21). Cycling is not only about sport but also about fitness, family togetherness, group activities and pollution-free transport. However, the roads are fraught with danger, especially for cyclists and pedestrians, who may not be seen by other vehicles.
Metuna, the organization for road safety, has a simple solution for the vulnerable: OR-NA reflector bands, which are light, durable and inexpensive. Obtain them for individuals or (at special prices) for groups, local authorities, clubs and sports centers by contacting Metuna at (09) 884-4667.
Dickens on the money
Sir, - Here's a little literary edification for your correspondent ("Who's poor?" Letters, November 22). Charles Dickens wrote: "In that giddy whirl of noise and confusion, the men were delirious. Who thought of money, ruin, or the morrow...?" (Nicholas Nickleby)
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." (David Copperfield)
"Rich folks may ride on camels, but it ain't so easy for 'em to see out of a needle's eye. That is my comfort, and I hope I knows it."