Why, O why?
Sir, - Your report on Ron and Carol Cantrell being kicked out of Israel by the Interior Ministry left me dumbfounded (August 17). I have known this couple since the early '80s, and have never seen either of them attempt to steal a Jewish soul.
For several years I worked closely with Ron at Bridges for Peace. By his own admission Ron is a missionary, but he is a missionary to the Christian church, helping Christians worldwide understand and warm up to Israel. To this end, Ron and Carol have traveled and worked tirelessly over the last two decades.
The Cantrells have many unique gifts at their disposal. He is a reporter, author, pastor, speaker, photographer and filmmaker. She is a marvelous "sweet singer of Israel," with several records to her credit. They are uniquely qualified to present Israel to Christians everywhere, and have already done so through large media organizations like CBN and TBN.
Why, O why does Israel embrace its deadly enemies while seeking to destroy its best friends?
Sir, - My granddaughter made aliya seven months ago. She has a BA in biology and a degree in nursing from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She passed the required exam here, in Hebrew, in order to be accredited, and started working almost immediately in one of Jerusalem's major hospitals. She is being paid NIS 22 an hour, with the assurance that once her papers are accredited she will receive more - something like NIS 27 an hour - and time-and-a-half for nights. I pay my cleaning girl NIS 50 an hour.
A year before her aliya, my granddaughter worked in a hospital in New York. Her salary was $66,000 a year, of which she saved every penny to give her a head-start here. I know of a number of olim, including doctors, who have been forced to go back periodically to the country they came from to supplement their income. Some return permanently. What is the solution? ("The doctor is out," Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, August 19)
Why ban the bottle?
Sir - Reading "Not a single Israeli hospital qualifies for 'baby-friendly' status" (August 8), I noticed one key requirement for a hospital in order to qualify for UNICEF and WABA certification as "baby-friendly": Unless medically indicated, it must "give newborn infants only breast milk." What happened to freedom of choice?
Breast-feeding activists preach many benefits for the child, including a higher IQ, less chance of obesity and asthma, and fewer incidents of childhood illnesses; however, my gifted, thin, healthy, and non-asthmatic bottle-fed kids all come out equal to or ahead of my friends' breast-fed kids.
And yet the pressure to breast-feed is ever-mounting. Nurses harangue new mothers from the moment their babies are born. After my second birth a nurse accused me of not wanting the best for my baby because I chose not to breast-feed. Later, another nurse told me my baby's intestines would explode if I fed her more than 30cc of formula!
I see no reason why a woman should be harassed, bullied and lied to directly after the toughest ordeal of her life: childbirth.
Breast-feeding is not the right choice for some people. And it is a choice.
Sir, - Larry Derfner may think we are all anally-retentive; his diatribe gave me a bad case of indigestion ("The age of constipation," August 16). This sort of aggressive naivetÃ© suggests the self-righteous security of those who have never been the victim of violent crime. He is nostalgic for the happy-go-lucky days of the '60s in the US - a time when so-called flower-power let loose a wave of lawlessness and disorder from which the world is still reeling.
Those who had the foresight to be born into middle-class households where their parents had the wherewithal to arrange a safe environment were practically immune to the results of the social experimentation. The rest of us, down on the mean streets, were being brutally mugged as a result.
Obviously 100% safe is not something that can be achieved; life is full of risks and dangers. But it is legitimate to long for physical safety.
It never happened
Sir, - Noah Feldman's inflammatory essay in the NY Times sparked heated debate within and about modern Orthodox Judaism, with columnists Shmuley Boteach, Saul Singer and Avi Shafran weighing in. The problem? The alleged slight, so evocative - Feldman and his fiance being cropped out of a reunion photograph - never happened.
The photographer look a number of group shots, none of the entire class and their guests. The one that appeared, without Feldman, was also without 14 other people.
The Times owes a correction, Feldman owes an apology, and those who were so quick to jump to his defense and lambast the school - the creation of Rav Soloveitchik - should wonder why they believed such nonsense.
Sir, - I am glad that your newspaper published the articles in support of Noah Feldman by Shmuley Boteach (July 23 & 30). We need to hear more voices of tolerance and understanding in the Jewish Orthodox community.
Sir, - Your August 17 edition gave Elvis Presley front-page headlines, while more than 1,000 dead and injured in a massive earthquake in Lima was relegated to the back of the paper. This logic boggles the mind!
Treat amber as red...
Sir, - As an ex-London cabbie, having driven a few miles and survived 30 years on Israel's roads, I suggest the following:
Install cameras everywhere. If there's no money, give it to private enterprise and split the profits. These cameras will record speeding, dangerous driving, road rage and other unacceptable behavior.
The amber light to be taken as red and not used as a race across a junction to beat the red. This is accepted practice in the US and UK.
Most important - a system of penalty points: so many accumulated, so much the cost. Extra violations to incur the loss of the driving privilege.
Real enforcement and the effect on the pocket are the ultimate answer. However, only with the full cooperation of the courts can safety be achieved.
Israeli drivers are no worse than any others, but they are utterly undisciplined. The above measures are cheap to implement and would reduce the accident and death toll by 50 percent in a short period ("The road not taken," Editorial, August 13).
...install someflashing lights
Sir, - For many years I drove every type of vehicle, on every type of road, around the world. I have always respected flashing blue and red lights - and when I and millions of other drivers see them, we automatically slow down. I suggest that flashing red and blue lights be placed at many different positions along our roads.
Flashing lights can be manufactured cheaply. They could help keep death off the roads, day and night. Even I, on my scooter, could carry one.
'Louis the Scooterer'