January 27: Doing the job right

I am appalled at the attitude of our prime minister, interior minister and now justice minister on the issue of foreign workers.

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January 26, 2010 23:33
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Doing the job right

Sir, - I am appalled at the attitude of our prime minister, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and now Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman on the issue of foreign workers and replacing them by local Israelis ("Gov't to target hiring of illegal foreign workers in effort to boost labor market," January 25).

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As one who has had experience with both Israeli helpers and Filipinos to care for my invalid husband, I can only attest to the fact that those who provided part-time care were not carers in any sense of the word but, with all due respect, people who because of market considerations could not get other work. Only highly trained and highly paid nurses could fulfill the requirements that the Filipino caregiver provided.

The same can be said of those who work in agriculture. The skilled workers do not exist among the unemployed Israelis.

In the early days of the state, people who received welfare (most of whom were unskilled by modern standards) were forced to work on the roads and in other essential menial work in order to receive their handouts.

If the government, together with the industrialists, can produce creative training programs for unemployed people, many of whom are highly skilled, instead of using those that have failed in other countries, we could find solutions to unemployment.

Kicking out those who work honorably to provide for their families in distressed societies and, furthermore, using hateful slurs against them is not the answer.

Zelda Harris
Hadar Yosef

Policing our own streets

Sir,-- I was mystified by the request to Israel to send policemen to Haiti to join "peacekeeping efforts." Perhaps there is good sense in Ruth and Gideon Stern's letter ("A trap," January 24). Furthermore, my personal experience indicates that there are not enough available policemen to maintain proper law and order on a local level.

Having arrived home around 10:30 one evening to find I had been burgled, there was no police officer available to attend until the following morning. On a regular basis, quad bikes and motorbikes speed around the neighborhood, mostly with riders not wearing helmets, while children are playing in the middle of the road. The police have been informed about it but say they do not have the manpower to control this situation.

So I say don't exacerbate this state of affairs by sending policemen abroad when there are UN and US troops already on site and plans for more to be sent there.

David Freedman

Let us remember

Sir, - "Never again" is not going to work at this time in history ("Preserving the (real) memory," January 24). Liat Collins is right. So much is going on every day, that "never again" shows that we do forget. As most of the Holocaust survivors are reaching old age, we need them to tell their stories of who they were before the war.

I never met my grandparents (on either side), but my parents told me stories of who they were and the beauty of Jewish life in Vilnius. For our grandchildren to know about their grandparents' past - more so if they survived - is the key to "I will remember" instead of "never forget."

It is easier to remember beautiful stories than horrible events.

Olga P. Wind

Greek travesty

Sir, - Mr. Pangalos, who was "taught not to steal," should have his government return the Jewish cemetery on which the University of Thessaloniki is built ("Greek MP returns gift of 'stolen' Golan wine to Israeli Embassy," January 22). It was stolen and destroyed by the Greeks, not the Nazis, in December 1942. The professors and students are unaware that they are are walking on the bones of our ancestors, for there is not even a commemorative plaque.

The Jewish origins of the Golan are referenced in the Bible (Deut. 4:43; I Chron. 6:56) long before anyone heard of Athens. The Golan was stolen together with the rest of the Jewish homeland and renamed Palestine (after the Philistines) by the Roman conquerors.

Pangalos is not only confused about the real thieves but also with the Nazi resemblances. The Israeli ambassador to Greece is an Arab. How many Jewish ambassadors and representatives in the Bunderstag did the Nazis have?

Greece has a sizable Muslim community, yet Muslims are not allowed to build a mosque near Athens. How many Muslim ambassadors and parliament members does Greece have?

For centuries, a popular Greek entertainment has been the Karagiozis. A prominent character is called Ovreos (a derogatory term for Jew), an object of scorn and ridicule personifying the image of Jews in Greek culture.

To their credit, there are Greeks with filotimo - honor - who helped Jews and fought the Nazis. And there are plenty of others who collaborated with the Nazis. After the liberation, these two factions clashed in the violent Greek civil war.

Prof. Alfred Inselberg

Barak's largesse

Sir, - Has Israel's financial situation improved so much that Defense Minister Ehud Barak can afford to be handing out goodies to all and sundry? Firstly, he is paying the decidedly anti-Israel UN for so-called war damage to their property in Gaza. If the UN had not been quietly turning a blind eye on Hamas's activities in and around the UN compounds, they would not have been accidentally hit by the IDF.

Next, Barak decides to pay NIS 25 million to the PA in Ramallah to redistribute pensions to some Gaza citizens. Is he so naive as to think that those entitled will really receive their due? Gaza has been declared a hostile entity; therefore, no support for them is necessary for them at all..

The Gaza pensions should reimburse Sderot and the southern periphery for all the damage and lost earnings caused by years of rocket attacks from Gaza. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!

Judy Prager
Petah Tikva

Hats off from Texas

Sir - I live in Texas, and I never hear of any reports of the good things that Israelis do every day. I learned of the story of Israel's helping Haiti from Israeli reports and, of course, saw nothing of the story on the US media reports from Haiti, except one tiny spot late at night on CNN.

I also recall many other times when Israel aided nations thousands of miles away with no mention here in the States. I recall when hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area, Israel was at the ready, but little was said. And in fact, if I'm not mistaken, they were politely asked to leave and told their services would not be needed.

I know that the people of Israel aren't looking for glory for the help that they offer freely, and in fact get excited at the prospect of being able to really make a difference in a fellow human being's life. I also know that Israel is topnotch when it comes to medical know-how, science, crisis management, planning and logistics to make life easier and better for the world.

It makes me sad and sometimes very angry when Israel is maligned in the media. I just wanted everyone involved in the Haiti rescue and medical mission to know that I'm very happy that there is an Israel and very happy there are Israelis. Shalom to you all!

Joe Guest

Cross words

Sir,- Don't you think it would be a better idea to provide a grid for the clues in the crossword puzzle instead of providing the previous answers twice?

Gerald Schor

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