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Trumpeldor's last words
Sir, - In "The value of service" (Editorial, August 21) you cited "Joseph Trumpeldor's legendary last words ('Never mind, it is good to die for our country')."
At my nephew's wedding in Kibbutz Be'eri, I sat next to a Mr. Bravermen, who, together with Avraham Harzfeld brought the wounded Trumpeldor down from Tel Hai to Kfar Giladi. I asked Braverman: "Were the last words of Trumpeldor really'Tov lamut b'ad artzenu?'"
He laughed out loud, then said: "The moment Trumpeldor was hurt, he shouted out a juicy curse in Russian (which I don't want to repeat) and added, 'Please cover up my belly so our comrades will not see that I am wounded.' By the time we arrived in Kfar Giladi, Trumpeldor was no longer alive.
"Our comrades asked, 'What were Trumpeldor's last words?' Harzfeld replied: "Tov lamut b'ad arzenu", and it caught on.
"I never heard Trumpeldor speaking Hebrew. We always spoke in Russian. In the late Thirties I met Trumpeldor's brother a few times in Haifa, and we spoke Russian. I don't know if he knew Hebrew. My impression is he did not."
Sir, - I am pleased that at last some mayors have ceased inviting draft-dodgers to perform in their communities on festive occasions ("PMO weighs blacklist of draft-dodger artists," August 20). It would be interesting to know whether Rehovot Mayor Shuki Forer is among them. Some months ago I sent him a letter protesting the fact that draft-dodger Jacko Eisenberg had been invited to headline our city's Independence Day celebrations. Forer didn't deign to reply, nor to explain himself to the Rehovot public.
Sir, - Israel must strive to survive in the face of violent attacks against its citizens and, all too often, its existence. In light of this reality of life here, those who purposely avoid IDF service should receive the severest penalty.
We think of those soldiers who served their country and fell in battle, and their families who had to suffer the loss of a loved one; and of those soldiers whose bodies became paralyzed as a result of their wounds, who will spend the rest of their lives in a wheelchair. Those who serve put their lives on hold for up to three years.
Then we come to the draft-dodgers, found guilty of avoiding service in the IDF. They should receive a jail sentence, and not just a slap on the wrist.
JERRY & SYLVIA DORTZ
What the army's for
Sir, - Moshe Dann is correct ("Obeying orders," Letters, August 17). The army's job is to fight the Arab enemy, not to fight Jews who disagree with the government. It corrupts our children, hurts young soldiers emotionally and harms our democracy.
Expelling Jews from their homes is purely a police function. If the government wants to take criminal action against its own citizens, it should use the police. Arab tyrants use their armies to carry out political expulsions and murders. Our young boys and girls should not be forced to act like the dictators' military.
Sir, - Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri should reconsider the implications of his decision that supplementary health insurance plans will not be allowed access to certain "expensive" cancer treatment drugs because it is unfair that people who can afford to pay for the supplementary plans should be able to get potentially life-saving drugs, while those who cannot pay do not.
Rather than making sure, according to this Marxist-Communist logic, that nobody gets the benefit of these drugs, the minister should be ensuring that everybody gets access ("Cancer Association demands Ben-Yizri worry about poor," August 21).
Sir, - Thank you, Jerusalem Post and the Task Force on Human Trafficking for exposing the immoral means by which Ha'aretz, Yediot Aharonot and Ma'ariv are making money through advertising prostitution services. As Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Do the owners of these newspapers know that in Moldovia alone, 250,000 girls, many as young as 16, and orphans, disappear every year because of human trafficking? l am sure many of them end up in lsrael, which was created to be a "light to the nations!" ("Hebrew dailies lambasted for human trafficking adverts," August 17.)
...by no means
Sir, - Amid all the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic slander in the world today, I salute Ms. Anne Hyman, a woman of integrity and vision, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Their establishment of the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda is a shining example internationally of Jews caring about victims, especially innocent children. It shows we are far from the monsters the hateful fundamentalists persistently label us as being.
I am proud that the Jewish world actively involves itself in redressing all kinds of social injustice in many different countries. Kol hakavod to those involved - and, yes, we should always strive to be a light unto the nations ("JDC launches youth village for Rwandan orphans," August 21).
What 'baby friendly' means
Sir, - There seems to be a bit of confusion over what a Baby Friendly Hospital is, and what the 10 Steps are ("Why ban the bottle?" Letters, August 20). The 10 Steps are for successful breast-feeding. A mother who chooses not to breast-feed can give her baby a substitute.
In a Baby Friendly Hospital mothers are encouraged to be with their babies from the beginning, giving them the loving welcome they deserve, no matter what they are fed. The worldwide issues have always been the sabotaging of breast-feeding and the aggressive marketing of artificial milks in hospitals, hence the creation of the 10 Steps.
It is good to learn that hospital staff are encouraging moms to breast-feed, the normal mode of infant nutrition. Staff should be encouraged to respect the wishes of mothers, and mothers should always feel they have the knowledge needed to make an informed choice about their method of infant feeding.
A newborn's stomach can hold only a few ccs of liquid, about the size of a marble. The stomach is like a balloon and, yes, you can give much more and it will expand. This is not, however, what nature intended. Babies will keep on drinking from a bottle if the delivery is not paced - this means giving the baby control of intake.
Parents' informed choices are to be respected. I am sorry Ms. Feinerman had such negative experience after her difficult birth.
EVI ADAMS, IBCLC
BFHI Coordinator, Israel