February 4: Happy here...

The more we find fault with others and the less we challenge ourselves and examine what we can do differently, the less successful we will be.

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February 3, 2009 22:39
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Happy here... Sir, - While I empathize with David Teich ("Why I'm heading back to the US," February 3), he would be smarter to examine his attitude and skills rather than castigate every aspect of Israeli hiring practices. Too many olim have made it, are satisfied, have overcome barriers, learned to speak Hebrew, view short-term failure as a lesson and not as a beating and do not waste time seeking something they will not find to take his kvetch too seriously. The key word is perseverance. The more we find fault with others and the less we challenge ourselves and examine what we can do differently, the less successful we will be. Most of the million olim, from Russians to Ethiopians to Anglos, who have come here within the last 20 years have found a path to absorption. Sure, some of us are not doing what we want, or did. But as a recent survey showed, 88 percent of Israelis are happy with their lives here. And many of us would be delighted to write an opinion piece entitled "Why I'm never heading back to where I came from." STEPHEN J. KOHN Ra'anana ...despite it all Sir, - I have some advice for David Teich. There are agencies here that specialize in finding people temporary work. The agency pays you, and you commit yourself to a specific position for a specific period of time. If it's with a good company, at the end of your commitment to the agency you can negotiate with the company yourself and, with a bit of luck, get a full-time position. If not, the agency will find you another job. If you are willing to work hard, do a bit of traveling and accept a job a bit below your qualifications, I am sure there is work out there for you. From what I've heard, the job market in the US is not that great right now. I can tell you stories of friends of mine who entered the Israeli job market and worked at jobs for which they were over-qualified. In the end, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. P. BERMAN Shoham Make 'em scram Sir, - With the dedication that Hamas is showing, there will come a time when Hamas will win ("Grad hits Ashkelon, 1st time since op," Online Edition, February 2). I am irreverently reminded of the Frank Sinatra song where the ram - who refused to scram - destroyed a million-kilowatt dam. Hamas will one day destroy Israel, unless Israel first destroys Hamas. Get the PR working. Prepare the media. And do what has to be done. TERRY FELDMAN Hertfordshire, Alabama Image cleanser Sir, - I hope that the details in Yaakov Katz's "Gazans tell Israeli investigators of Hamas abuses" (February 2) will spread far and wide and help redeem Israel's image, which has been tarnished by false accusations. RACHEL BIRATI Melbourne Free money Sir, - It would be interesting to know how much Gaza has got from the EU, UK, US and the Arab states since Israel left Gaza - and now the UN wants to give them another $613 million. Why work when you can keep on getting handouts? ("US boosts aid to Palestinians, UNRWA," February 1. ) STANLEY KERSEN Herzliya Pituah Opportunity lost Sir, - At Davos, President Shimon Peres missed the opportunity to tell it as it really is ("Erdogan storms off stage after bitter spat with Peres at Davos," January 30). Over the past decades tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Muslim Kurds, innocent civilians, women and children, have been massacred by the Turks, their villages razed to the ground, never again to rise. Less than 100 years ago, the Turks did exactly the same to millions of innocent Christian Armenians. If ethnic cleansing is the name of the game, the Turks are the real pros. BERYL RATZER Netanya Sir, - Given the stance adopted by Turkish PM Erdogan, Israel should seize this opportunity, in an overdue policy change, to give the Kurds living in Turkey, Northern Iraq and Iran unstinting support in their undying aspirations for a national homeland despite Turkey's brutal attempts to suppress these people. The case for a Kurdish homeland is very much stronger than the case for a Palestinian homeland. JOY WATERMAN Jerusalem A Turkish view Sir, - When Turkish Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan said: "We are descendants of the Ottomans who saved your ancestors from Spanish brutality," he obviously was not reminding the Jews reproachfully of a kindness done them by the Ottomans. He meant that anti-Semitism is not a reality of this territory ("Turkey: The longer view," Editorial, February 2). Those in search of anti-Semitism should search for it at the Rhine basin of 1,000 years ago; during the Crusades; at the Danube basin; in Venice, where the Jewish ghettos were first invented; in Spain, and later in 19th-century Europe. They should search for it on the European continent during World War II. When the collaborationist European governments were throwing the Jews into the Nazis' lap, the Jews in Turkey enjoyed and benefited in various ways from the Turkish state's protection. Let us not forget the rescue operations of the Jews by Turkish diplomats, which exceeded even Oskar Schindler's. However, we cannot overlook the Israelis who watched the Israeli army's recent Gaza bombings with enthusiasm and accused Jewish intellectuals who criticized them with treason. We should also remember the Israeli citizens who said that they will reward with their votes the Israeli politicians who administered this war machine. Hence the Jews should also keep the mirror toward their own faces and understand the Muslim peoples' protests. ABDULLAH ERDEMLI Istanbul One Holocaust Sir, - Until I saw with my own eyes the train routes for transporting people efficiently to the Nazis' extermination camps; until I saw the ovens where they systematically burned people, where they first cut off usable hair and pulled out gold teeth; until I saw the Selection Station at Birkenau where they separated those it was most expedient to gas immediately from those who would provide slave labor for a time, I didn't really comprehend the intensity and planned barbarity involved. No normal mind can grasp the events detailed in "Priest working to uncover precursor to Nazis' Final Solution in former Soviet Union (February 2): victims thrown alive into bonfires or buried alive in pits; Jews walled up in a cellar that was not opened until 12 years later; over two million Jews gunned down across Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. For this reason, and to honor those millions who experienced this hell on earth, the word "Holocaust" must belong only to them. I challenge any other use of the term designed to draw a parallel with a depravity that knows no equal. NAOMI FEINSTEIN Givat Ada To clarify Sir, - As an activist in Ichud Leumi (National Union), I want to correct "Marzel appointed as head monitor at polling station in Umm el-Fahm" (February 3). Baruch Marzel is co-chair of the Eretz Yisrael Shelanu party and part of the Ichud Leumi Party, and not as stated. CHAIM GINSBERG Ma'aleh Adumim

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