letters to the editor 88.
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Altitude or attitude
Sir, - Re "El Al sees a brighter future in first and business class," (June 20 ). El Al's plan to concentrate on well-healed customers in order to encourage a better type of clientele, took me back almost six decades.
In the early 1950s the New York City subway system raised its fare from a nickel to a dime. At that time is was suggested that they had made this move in order to keep out the riffraff.
Sir, Will I live to see a headline in the Post that reads: "El Al to provide more leg room in coach"? Don't get me wrong, I like the airline, and my wife and I are even "matmid" members. I'd be willing to pay a few dollars more for a seat I could comfortably fit into and stretch my short legs, but that's not even an option.
Please El Al - remember the little people.
Sir, - I cannot believe that our government has not found a way to absorb the Sudanese refugees. If any country knows how to care for refugees, Israel should.
Sir, - The behavior of our government toward the refugees from Darfur in Sudan is despicable. We need to stop treating them as criminals; ensure those who reach Israel have livable conditions; and create a permanent solution for them which ensures they will not be sent back to Sudan, where they will very likely be killed.
It doesn't matter whether we absorb them in Israel or only give them temporary refuge until they can reach other safe havens. A Jewish nation largely built by refugees must not be apathetic to the plight of refugees fleeing for their lives.
Ramat Bet Shemesh
Sir, - Although the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel now numbers more than 100,000, there were some Ethiopian Jews who were left behind - perhaps 16,000 from a group known as the Falash Mura, the remnants of Ethiopian Jews who had been forcibly converted over the course of previous generations.
The government will only allow 300 Falash Mura per month to enter Israel.
However, the government and kibbutzim are making every effort to absorb perhaps thousands of Muslim refugees from Darfur. This is being done, I fear, at the expense of Ethiopian Jews who perceive Israel as their home.
Sir, - As I write these words, I do not know how the gay pride parade in Jerusalem will turn out. But I was intrigued to read that "US Federations foot most of the bill for capital's Open House," Post (June 21).
Of course, these American Jews think their money is going to fight discrimination against Israeli homosexuals. How many imagine it is being spent instead on promoting "pride" in homosexuality. These are quite different things.
Similarly, when American Jewish funders donate money to the New Israel Fund to bolster civil rights for Israel's Arab citizens, few donors imagine their money might wind up supporting Arab separatism or even radical anti-Zionism.
Finally, when wealthy ultra-Orthodox Jews in America send their contributions to haredim in Israel, they probably think the money is being set aside for education, housing and social services. Few of them imagine some of their donations may indirectly subsidize fanatics in violent confrontations with Israeli police in the streets of the Holy City.
The lesson, dear donor, whoever you are, is clarify how your money is being spent. Because once it is out of your hands it can be used for both good and bad.
H. JOSEPH WINKLER
New York City
Sir, - As a former Israeli soldier, I am appalled at the decision by the Israeli Consulate in New York to exploit female IDF soldiers for a marketing campaign "Maxim displays beautiful IDF soldiers as part of bid to reshape Israel's image," (June 21).
While female soldiers and officers work hard to remove the stigma of the "coffee pouring, mini-skirt wearing secretary," the Consulate has gone and put the government seal of approval on this most damaging of stigmas.
What other official government office in the world would market their female soldiers as sexual objects? Not only are women treated as sexual objects, at times even by their own commanders, but they are also subjected to verbal and physical sexual abuse. Rape is not unheard of in the IDF.
The Consulate has done a great disservice to all Israeli women who have served, are serving and will serve in the IDF.
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