December 18: Snow job

It is wrong to blame local authorities for not being adequately prepared for an event that occurs once in a lifetime.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
December 17, 2013 23:26
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Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

 
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Snow job

Sir, – With regard to “Comptroller, Knesset to investigate failings of snow response” (December 16), it is wrong to blame local authorities for not being adequately prepared for an event that occurs once in a lifetime, such as the typhoon in the Philippines, Hurricane Sandy in the US, or the recent heavy snowstorm here.

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In New York, for example, a large portion of the city was without electricity for four or five days during Sandy. My hospital had to be evacuated and was closed for two months.

Perhaps we should remember that “man proposes and God disposes.”

LEONARD WOLF
Jerusalem


Sir, – Let’s face it, if the government had a snow budget because of a snowstorm every few years, people would protest.

We even have to cut our security budget, and that is for a daily need.



What can be done, however, is to designate certain community centers or schools in every neighborhood to be emergency shelters. They then should have a generator so that if local residents are without electricity and water they have a warm place to go. Emergency vehicles can bring those who cannot walk.

MEIRA SCHWARTZ
Jerusalem


Sir, – In your coverage of the heavy snow storm, most articles seem say it was the worst in a hundred years.

People have very short memories.

During the winter of 1992, the crippling snow storms in Jerusalem brought the capital to a complete standstill, with power lines down for days.

Older people were advised to stay in bed to keep warm. The snow was well over a meter deep in places.

I remember at that time a front page of The Jerusalem Post with a picture of the capital’s Ben-Yehuda Street. It was captioned: “Jerusalem or Moscow?”

JOYCE KAHN
Petah Tikva


Sir, – I am tired of reading complaints that the government was not prepared for the storm.

How much advance notice did the average Israeli need, yet many of us were not prepared! Stores ran out of food or did not have adequate supplies on Friday.

If people knew the storm was coming, why didn’t they go out and buy supplies on Tuesday? We should stop looking for blame outside the house and look inside, and be better prepared ourselves.

REBECCA RAAB
Ma’aleh Adumim


Sir, – In the tractate Yoma, it is related that Hillel the elder had a burning desire to study Torah.

At the time, Torah study was tightly controlled and limited to those of the highest caliber – and to those who could pay for it. Hillel did not have enough money, so on a freezing, snowy day he climbed onto the roof of the study hall in order to listen to the lecture, until he froze.

When the scholars observed his form above, they retrieved him and changed the policy such that anyone who wished to study Torah could come in and do so.

The incident happened in Jerusalem in the month of Tevet around two millenia ago. It means there was at least one Jerusalemite back then who was not excited about snow falling in the city.

SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
Rehovot


Sir, – In the past several days I have read much criticism and complaining about the winter storm and the lack of preparedness of government agencies.

While I do not wish to belittle the difficult experiences of many thousands of Israelis, I have learned in my almost 15 years of living here that with all the surrounding dangers that threaten us, if our biggest complaint is about the weather we are doing okay.

GINA-DEVRA SHAFFER
Jerusalem


Blood simple

Sir, – Fortunately, The Jerusalem Post seldom prints poor-quality editorials. Yet “Blood scandal” (December 13) was ill-informed, unbalanced and superficial – which is inexcusable where so important a subject with so many ramifications is concerned.

It seems that the refusal of Magen David Adom to accept the blood of Ethiopian immigrants is totally arbitrary and unjustified. Could it be that a decision that once was justified is now outdated? Similarly, we are not told why the blood of those who resided in Britain for at least six months between 1980 and 1996 is unacceptable for donation. (Presumably, it is connected with “mad cow” disease.) Perhaps you could have referred to Dr. Martin Ellis, whose letter “Banking on blood” appeared the same day, or sought the opinion of any other senior hematologist.

It must be realized that a mistake by a blood bank might be catastrophic not only for the individual, but also legally, professionally and financially for the blood bank itself.

GEOFFREY HARRIS
Ra’anana
The writer is a retired physician


Deluding himself

Sir, – Alexander Yakobson (“How to deflate the settlements as an issue,” iEngage, December 13) is apparently another person who cites facts that are contrary to his position and then proceeds to say that they aren’t relevant.

This is worse than saying, “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.” He is saying, “I know the facts and choose to interpret them in a way that makes them irrelevant.”

Let’s put aside the fact that he believes that settlements across the “Green Line” are the major impediment to peace between Israel and the Palestinians (which doesn’t explain the situation between 1948 and 1967, when there weren’t any settlements).

His proposal that “settlers” should remain where they are – and if they are in Palestine, no problem – is refuted later in piece.

Yakobson writes: “It is true that precedents for Jews living under Arab sovereignty, in the decades since Israel’s independence, are not encouraging. No Jewish community has been able to survive anywhere in the Arab world.”

After the proclamation by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud that no Jew will be allowed in Palestine, and according to the facts that he himself cites, how can Yakobson delude himself that this case is different? How can he use the phrase “not encouraging” in this regard? His delusional condition is apparent elsewhere in the piece when he attempts to parallel the experience of Arabs in Israel to that of Jews in Arab lands.

Jews aren’t there any more.

Arabs are here and have been here since the establishment of the state, with citizenship and all it includes (the right to vote, among others).

How Yakobson became a professor is beyond me.

HAIM SHALOM SNYDER
Petah Tikva


Mouths of the famous

Sir, – “Out of the mouths of babes” (Health, December 1) mentioned some famous people in history who stuttered, such as Moses, Aristotle, Demosthenes, and Sir Winston Churchill.

I would like to point out to your readers that the website of the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation features the long and intriguing list “Famous People Who Stutter.” It includes distinguished names from the fields of entertainment, business, sports, literature, science and government service. They include Bruce Willis, Marilyn Monroe, James Earl Jones, Nicole Kidman and many more.

There is also a “Celebrity Corner” section with in-depth articles on some of these people and how they coped with their stuttering, such as Lewis Carroll, Rowan Atkinson and Emily Blunt.

Another famous person who stuttered was Rabbi Meir Kahane, who interrupted his rabbinical studies to go to a speech clinic in Rhode Island. Last year I published an article titled “Rabbi Meir Kahane Is a Role Model to People Who Stutter,” which appeared in several weekly Jewish newspapers in the US.

ADAM R. LICHTER
Springfield, Massachusetts

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