(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - A recently published study released by law Prof. Ruth Gavison of the Hebrew University suggests solutions to several issues that have led Israel to adopt policies contrary to its own best interests. The key to our confusion is our reluctance to acknowledge that the Arabs among us, even those in the Knesset, consistently side with anti-Israeli forces and reject identification as Israelis.
There should therefore be no problem with redefining them as Palestinian Arabs rather than Israeli Arabs. As such, they would neither vote for members of the Knesset nor qualify for the children's allowance, a simple solution to two threatening issues: maintaining the Jewish character of the state and resolving the demographic threat.
This would also allow Israel to govern Judea, Samaria and Gaza instead of turning these areas over to hostile elements like the PLO and Hamas. We could revamp their educational and media systems, which currently preach an intense hatred of Jews, Zionism and Israel that precludes any possibility of ever living in peace with them ("Redefine East Jerusalem Arabs as Palestinians to uphold Jewish majority," January 7).
Lives of hardship, charm...
Sir, - Thanks for "Avoiding a life of struggle and suffering" (September 4) on familial dysautonomia, and for using my son Tulli's picture. Truly, these children were given a special dose of charm that helps them deal with their problems.
Prof. Maayan is a gift from God, and her devoted assistant, Na'ama Holtzer, is our guardian angel. Always there for us, they have assembled a unique and caring team.
The trips Judy Siegel-Itzkovich mentioned are done through Simcha Layeled/Israel Special Children's Fund, with the help of the Dysautonomia Association and private donors. Without this generosity and volunteerism, FD teens and young adults would probably never go on jaunts to Eilat and other places because of the complexity of their conditions and the logistics involved.
Research on new drugs, or even vitamins, that could help alleviate the symptoms of FD is being done through the help of Dor Yeshorim, at Fordham University, NYC, in the lab run by Dr. Berish Rubin (see Mishpacha magazine, issue 224, September 3, 2008). Tocotrienol, a form of vitamin E, can help stabilize blood pressure to some degree; in my Tulli's case, it has increased the moisture in his eyes so he needs less artificial tears.
May you one day be able to update your report with this headline: "No more FD children born."
...and laughter, too
Sir, - I am a healthy, 52-year-old woman who was sibling to three late brothers with dysautonomia (and one healthy brother). My affected brothers were diagnosed at the time the illness was discovered, in the late '50s. Being a unique family, as we were, I spent much of my childhood in research labs. My brothers were treated by Dr. Felicia Axelrod in New York University Hospital, who answered my questions as a teenager and even gave me career counseling. My amazing parents, the late Rev. Asher and Henriette Hirsch, helped found the first parents group.
I was a lifelong participant in the research, and the affected gene was discovered from my own blood - enabling everyone to check for the disease with a simple blood test today.
My brothers were very cute kids, and handsome young adults. They were bright, sensitive individuals with a great sense of humor. We fought, wrestled lovingly, and had heart-to-heart talks about the meaning of life - without tears. The sudden attacks and frequent hospitalizations were a part of our lives.
Would my mother have chosen to abort the cherished 19, 20, and 36 years of life of my dear brothers? Thank God, that was not a question. Meir Aharon, Samson Rafael and Avraham Eliezer (Eli), of blessed memory, were loving, productive, contributing members of society. They are so much a part of who I am, and of everyone who knew them.
MIRIAM Z. HIRSCH-BOTZER
Head of Pediatric Occupational Therapy
Child Development Center, Ziv Hospital
Hang up an Israeli flag...
Sir, - One of the ways I can show my support for the brave citizens in our South - who refuse to leave their homes and believe in the justice of this war - and our soldiers in Gaza is to hang up my Israeli flag. I know that this is not usual, but I would ask anyone who feels as I do to put Israeli flags on their cars, balconies, anywhere they can be seen.
We do this with pride on Independence Day, and I feel we should do it it now to show we are one nation and one country ("European Jews launch series of pro-Israel rallies," January 8).
...to show your support
Sir, - I have been harassed incessantly because of my support for you. I count that as a blessing. When I fly my Israeli flag for all to see, people always have a negative comment to make. I will still fly it to show my support.
Remember, you are the apple of God's eye and always will be. May God bless you and keep you and may He make his face to shine upon you.
Syracuse, New York
Sir, - Just to let you know that I am not even Jewish, but I wanted to help you, no matter what. Unfortunately I've had a stroke, but I would still help you right now if I could, somehow.
MICHAEL T. FULLER
Orthodox girls can be good sports
Sir, - I was so pleased to read "Shiraliga a smashing success" (January 2). It's nice to know that Orthodox girls now have an opportunity to participate in basketball tournaments.
People who love sports will be cheering this league because there will be so many new opportunities for such young women to compete and express themselves.
Let's have more of these innovative, positive articles!