August 17: Finding Amichai

As the grandmother of Amichai Steinmetz, I'd like to say thank you to all the people who have helped with time, money and information in the search for him.

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August 16, 2009 21:37
August 17: Finding Amichai

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Finding Amichai Sir, - Re "Funds drying up in hunt for US-Israeli missing in India" (August 16): As the grandmother of Amichai Steinmetz, I'd like to say thank you to all the people who have helped with time, money and information in the search for him. If anyone has any ideas or wishes to make a contribution, an account called "The Barak Rodovsky Foundation for location and recovery of missing backpackers" has been opened in Bank Hapoalim branch 615, account number 258259. For credit card donations, call 054-7715586. More information is available at www.4amichai.org Remember, many Israelis travel, and not all return. MADALYN SCHAEFFER Jerusalem First things first Sir, - I'm as big a basketball fan as most - although I belong to the club that wonders why we should get so excited about our foreign players versus theirs - but I was saddened to see all the hype about Jeremy Tyler ("High school phenom signs with Haifa," Sports, August 14), without a single mention of whether and how he intends to complete his high school education. Wouldn't it be great to hear that he will be continuing his formal education here and visiting with local teenagers to convince them of the importance of staying in school? PESACH ROGOWAY Petah Tikva Government: Play your part! Sir, - Re "Shortage of armed guards expected in new school year" (August 13): The problem of finding budgets to pay wages and salaries, especially in the lower levels of employment, has been ignored by successive Israeli governments in recent decades - not only in the public sector, but also and especially in the private sector, where we read of more and more industries being closed and transferred to other countries where salaries, wages and taxes, direct and indirect, are much lower. Israeli governments entered globalization with much enthusiasm, and while lower-level employees have taken great cuts in wages and conditions, governments have not realized that their contribution requires massive cuts in taxes and indirect taxes, cost of utilities, national insurance, etc. On the contrary, they have caused these taxes to rise sharply. Utility costs have risen excessively, and especially the cost of local authorities. We cannot expect to be competitive in world markets if government does not realize that it too needs to make a very weighty contribution to globalization; otherwise we will read of more and more closures. It is no secret that government is more concerned to cut taxes for the upper income groups, with the misconceived notion that this will bring about investment and more jobs. But as we are becoming less and less competitive, this will not help. Governments forget that the unemployed, or those working for remuneration which cannot cover their living costs, are not outdated machines that simply get scrapped. Human beings want to live out their lives, and governments owe them a debt. It's a pity Ronald Reagan is no longer around. He could give Israeli governments a few quick and enlightening lessons on how to stay in the race! DAVID GOSHEN Kiryat Ono Squeaky-clean mikve Sir, - My experience of Saratoga Springs dates from the early 1960s, when it was the home of the only civilized mikve in the New York capital district ("Saratoga Springs - New York's Queen of the Spas," August 16). Though used mostly for conversions, it was also visited by women from a large area, who had to make a special appointment with the man who ran the mikve. He was a non-Jew and knew nothing of the weird practices of his clients, but in enthusiastic performance of his duties, he would empty the whole mikve and refill it for every customer. It was probably the cleanest mikve in the history of Jewish womankind. RUTH SEGEL Rehovot Behavior modification Sir, - Re "Why the Left should support settlements" (August 13): Michael Freund makes the case that the Left should embrace settlement expansion because that is precisely what will motivate the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table; his point is well taken. In the early days of the last intifada, I made the following suggestion to friends and colleagues alike as we agonized over buses and cafes blowing up all around: Continue with the anti-terror efforts, but also announce and implement a policy that every attack resulting in an Israeli injury or death will be followed by the establishment of a new community, perhaps first as a Nahal base in an unpopulated area of Judea and Samaria. I believe the Palestinian leadership, surveying the on-the-ground consequences, might have pressed for the quick demise of the intifada, sparing the demise of hundreds of our citizens. In my former profession as a special educator for 31+ years, I learned that behaviors are most effectively modified when there is something tangible to be either gained or lost. JEFF DAUBE Director, Israel Office Zionist Organization of America Jerusalem News or hysteria? Sir, - Was your ripping headline "Muslims, Arabs among J Street donors" (August 14) intended to instill hope, excitement and possibilities... or fear and loathing in your readership? Has anybody ever written a headline like "Evangelical Christians among AIPAC donors"? Evangelical Christians - some of whom endorse a liturgy where we Jews perish in fire and brimstone merely to enable their "Second Coming" - are regular contributors to certain "pro-Israel" organizations. They receive thanks, blessings, endorsements, special favors, special access and more. A handful of Muslim/Arab donors, believing that J Street brings a more inclusive message to the world, donate a paltry amount. After all, Israel is home to Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims as well as Jews. Why is it any surprise they find J Street effective in representing their voices? And the Post finds this newsworthy? How sad! JUDY BAMBERGER O'Connor ACT, Australia Unacceptable leak Sir, - Alon Liel, a private citizen, should testify how he obtained the secret diplomatic cable sent by Nadav Tamir to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ("An unconventional missive hits Jerusalem," August 12). The all-too-prevalent practice by which civil servants leak confidential reports to the media or to unauthorized recipients would not be countenanced by any other government anywhere in the world. ERNEST WINOCOUR Rehovot About consistency Sir, - While accuracy in reportage is unquestionably essential, Miriam Samersaw's carping about the "Hallelujah" misplacement in Judy Montagu's lyrical piece on Leonard Cohen reminded me of the Emerson quote much beloved of Isaac Asimov: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" ("Two cheers," Letters, August 14). STEFANO A. LAMI Lucca/Tel Aviv Sir, - A little inaccuracy is understandable - for, as Ms. Samersaw probably also knows, "If you remember the Sixties, you weren't there." J. LAKE Beersheba

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