letters to the editor 88.
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Tidy for Teddy
Sir, - Further to "Let us praise great men" (Letters, January 16): I feel sure there are ongoing discussions as to the best way of making a memorial to Teddy Kollek. I have a simple suggestion in which everyone in Jerusalem could take part: Let's clean up our city!
Stop dropping litter. Remove your rubbish from the park when you go home. Put it in the bins, and not next to them.
Let us clean up the front of our houses, gardens and pavements. If we park in an empty plot, let's sweep it every few weeks. And the municipality could make sure every bin has a space big enough to contain it so the pavements are kept clear.
Let's "Tidy for Teddy." He'd want that more than anything else.
She helped Jews
Sir, - On December 27, 2006 Antonia Bruha died in Vienna, Austria. She might not have been in the archives of Yad Vashem, but she was active in helping to keep Jews safe from the Nazis.
must be Jewish
Sir, - Israel is unique, a stable democracy that not once in its history has been at peace. It is surrounded by enemies, most of whom deny its right to exist. Although the history of Israel is inextricably bound up with British imperial pretensions (The Balfour Doctrine) and retro-biblical cultism (Zionism), the fundamental impetus for the creation of an independent Jewish state was the Holocaust.
Were I a Jew looking back at the overwhelming cowardice of the gentile world vis-a-vis the plight of my people under Hitler, I would fight to the death for the preservation of the Jewish state of Israel.
It is all well and good to talk about the thousands of loyal Arab citizens of Israel. But there is a fundamental contradiction in that country that we in the US cannot possibly understand. As our nation turns from White to Brown, and Anglo Saxon to Asian and Hispanic, we have nothing to fear because the immigrants and their children can be assumed to accept the core values of our society.
How can non-Jews be expected to adopt the core values of a Jewish state, the most important of which is providing the Jewish people a national safe haven from the periodic attempts to exterminate them?
I don't like the fact that there has to be a Jewish state. I don't even like Bibi. But I am not going to condemn him as a racist for saying that the drop in the Arab birthrate is a good thing for Israel. He is only stating the obvious: The day non-Jews are a majority in Israel is the day Israel ceases to exist. Whether you think that would be a good thing or a bad thing is another question entirely ("A bigot called Bibi," Larry Derfner, January 4).
Wright State University
Sir, - The current awful state of the State of Israel is certainly due to the loss of Jewish values. But it is also due to the loss of Zionist and social values. While political Zionism has brilliantly achieved its goal of a free and independent state, the other phase of Zionism - the renaissance of Jewish culture - has sadly lagged behind. Therefore, it is logical that those who embrace the cult of post-Zionism should also embrace the cult of post-Judaism. The resulting lack of pride in our ancient heritage has caused our ship of state to corrode and become vulnerable to corruption, crime, drunkenness, drug addiction and all the other foibles of modern society ("The blight of corrosive corruption (I),"Emanuel Feldman, January 14.)
HAIM M. LERNER
Sir, - It was nice of the bank to cancel fees at long last for the transfer of reparations to Holocaust survivors ("Bank Hapoalim cancels fees for Holocaust survivors," December 25). Of course, it did wait some six decades before getting round to this generous gesture, after most of the beneficiaries had already died of old age. A gimmick, after milking survivors for so many years.
UK banks, with less reason to show such consideration, have been waiving their fees for the last three decades. Sadly, for Israeli banks, only profits matter.
Sir, - The activities and finances of ORT Israel may or may not be transparent, but the assurances it offers, namely that the organization "is certified by Israel's Justice Ministry and is subject to regular audits" hardly provides its donors with the necessary level of accountability. The staff of the Justice Ministry's Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations (Rasham Ha'amutot), through no fault of its own, cannot realistically oversee the thousands of Israeli nonprofits in its files.
"Certification" amounts to little more than plying this office with the paperwork it demands. Consequently, the level of accountability is minimal, and does not approach the acceptable level of due diligence required by more and more of today's donors. As far as "regular audits" are concerned, the accounting firms that produce them are paid by the non-profit organizations themselves. Accountancy, by its very nature, offers a myriad ways to analyze and present financial data.
Donors seeking "more control and oversight of how their dollars are spent" are entitled to more serious accountability ("Break from Israel branch forces World ORT to scramble for new programs and funding," January 16.)
Donor Associates in Israel, Ltd.
Sir, - To us foster parents of seven children over the course of many years, Erica Chernofsky's article was right on target ("A place called home," December 28). The rewards of fostering are many-faceted for all involved.
However, we are left with an overwhelming question: Who benefits the most? The foster child or the fostering family? I really think that my late father said it right: "Love multiplies - hate divides."
NEAL & BRACHA ROTHNER
Sir, - Things have come to a pretty pass when the staff of Israel's leading English-language newspaper are unable to distinguish between Wales and whales ("Judge rules she alone will probe Diana's death," January 16).
Sir, - Desmond Stonely of Scunthorpe, UK, is "flabbergasted" by the strength of our feelings about cable companies dropping channels. He can watch the BBC and as many other British channels as he wants, any time he wants. We are only asking to be able to watch one British channel. It is precisely because of the "more pressing concerns" he mentions that we would like this option.
Sir, - As an ex-Brit I understand Desmond Stonely's amazement. But what he fails to understand is that the average citizen of Israel suffers from such an enormous amount of emotional strain in the course of one day that the effect of watching a program like Faulty Towers on him or her is like someone in a calmer country relaxing by having a long soak in a hot bath.
BARBARA ANN PFEFFER