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Sir, - It was recently reported in Britain that Ehud Olmert enjoys the support of only three percent of Israel's population. If that is anywhere near true, how can he be allowed to negotiate on behalf of a nation in which 97% of the population doesn't trust him? Surely, even his own party must see that it is only a caretaker government with no democratic authority to make the kind of decisions President Bush is pressing for. Is it not time for a snap election to ensure that an Israeli government can negotiate on behalf of the majority of Israelis? The future of Israel may be decided over the next two years. If there has ever been a time for a government of and for the people, it is now.
Sir, - I am happy that The Jerusalem Post is aware that the holiday of Hanukka has arrived and needs some attention in the press. I, however, would have been far happier if the Post simply ignored the holiday and stuck to its usual mix of routine news and features. Four articles in the paper on December 4, including a front page story, served to undermine the observance of Hanukka and Jewish belief in the origins and customs of the festival.
"'Green Hanukkia' campaign sparks controversy" featured a campaign by environmentalists to eliminate part of the holiday's requirements. The suggestion that those who observe the holiday light one candle less to avoid adding 15 grams of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is the most absurd idea I've ever heard. It also reveals ignorance of the Hanukka laws, which provide alternate forms of candlelighting in the event of major emergencies.
In "From Adam to Hitchens," Uzi Silber points to Hanukka as a pagan festival and says that it helped fashion Judeo-Christian civilization. Stephen Rosenberg writes in "What miracle of the oil?" that the rabbinic version of the miracle of Hanukka is incorrect and reflects a lack of knowledge of some post-biblical literature. Avi Shafran fills the reader with doubts in his op-ed, "The nature of miracles," as to the formulation of the laws of Hanukka in a complex discussion of Talmudic law and mystical sources.
Can you imagine what would happen if the New York Times published four lead articles on the eve of Christmas to the effect that Santa Claus did not exist? Was there no thought at the Post of telling us of the sacred character of Hanukka, of the positive effects of its observance and the happiness of the festival?
Sir, - It is quite shocking that hospital medical and nursing staff work under the threat of violence from patients dissatisfied with those who are dedicated to helping them ("Patient attacks doctor, takes cab home," December 5).
As the police are not always able to respond immediately to a cry for help from the ER, I suggest members of the Civil Guard, who have exactly the same rights and powers as professional policemen, be placed on duty in hospitals.
A short training course would be beneficial and appropriate.
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