December 19, 2017: How we can transform Israel

December 18, 2017 20:52
3 minute read.

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Trenchant words

Kudos to David Weinberg (“Greeting Vice President Pence,” Observations, December 15) for his trenchant words about the European Union.

Europe has long been a thorn in the side of every Jew. It is time the Europeans understood that their hostility toward Israel hurts them more than it hurts us.


Children and medical stress

“Surgery on children may cause chronic trauma” (Website, December 14) concludes with the “need for a future screening tool to identify children at high risk of developing a medical-stress syndrome.”

I think this is extremely short-sighted.

Although I have no psychological training aside from what I learned in preparation for teaching, it seems far more sensible to ensure that all children receive information from the doctor or nurse about what to expect during surgery or other procedures, and why these treatments are needed.

Perhaps younger children could receive a toy stethoscope and stuffed animal “suffering” from the same condition they do so they can take care of the stuffed animal. Surely, social workers and child psychologists can provide a variety of techniques for different age groups to not only prevent stress, but also ensure a more comfortable experience for all our precious children.


The Diplomat’s worried residents

In the report on the planned move of the US Embassy to the area of the US Consulate in Jerusalem (“US Embassy move could push Jerusalem real-estate prices higher,” December 11), there is a casual reference that says: “In 2014, the US purchased another building adjacent to the Arnona facility.” No other information is provided about that other building, but it is hardly a casual matter.

The other building is what is still referred to as the Diplomat Hotel, and it is not just “another building.” For well over 20 years, it has been an absorption center and home for more than 500 olim from the former Soviet Union, most of whom are by now elderly and frail, and lacking family nearby. Many are Holocaust survivors.

The Diplomat is their community. All of their human infrastructure is there, including social and medical needs.

When the United States bought the building from its owners, it was intended to provide housing for the staff at the nearby consulate.

The purchase was subject to a lease with the Aliya and Integration Ministry, which is responsible for the arrangement with the olim.

Naturally, the current residents were shocked by the news and were terrified that they would have to move immediately. After considerable pressure on the ministry, the rental agreement was extended for five years – but that deadline is rapidly approaching.

To the best of my knowledge, despite concerted advocacy at all agencies involved in the welfare of this very vulnerable population, there is still no plan to relocate them in a humane way. This would mean keeping them together as much as possible. Clearly, most could not tolerate being moved as individuals to random places based simply on where a room might be available.

So as we follow the story of the US Embassy and the old Diplomat Hotel, I urge you to press for information about the fate of these people, and to advocate for maintaining their community.


Every picture tells a story

The photo accompanying Oded Eran’s “The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel” (Comment & Features, December 17) shows hundreds of Muslims praying on the Temple Mount – facing Mecca. Jews, of course, pray facing the Temple Mount.

Every picture tells a story.


Oded Eran talks about US President Donald Trump’s bold reality check, finally saying the truth that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. But the picture you chose to accompany the piece is very interesting.

The caption says: “Muslims pray next to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.” The picture literally takes up half a page and shows Muslims praying toward Mecca, with their rears toward the Dome of the Rock – which they claim is very holy to Muslims.

I would expect holiness to be treated with more respect. Or maybe it is not really holy!


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