Sir, – We are all anxious about the fate of our kidnapped boys and the progress of the rescue operation. But constant news reports appear to spoon-feed information to the enemy. Where is the army looking now? What is its strategy? Non-stop coverage that aims only to fill air time is dangerous and irresponsible. We can all wait until the boys are home safely before hearing the details.
“Loose lips sink ships” was a World War II-era expression that warned of the dangers inherent in casual conversation that could abet the enemy. And in the words of Hillel: “Do not say something that ought not to be heard, for ultimately it will be heard.”
Hopefully, all that chatter on the airwaves is disinformation.RAIZI ROSEN Neveh Daniel
Sir, – I have long suspected a left-wing bias in the English-language TV news at 5 p.m. However, it is not too much to expect that proper compassion be observed.
In a recent broadcast, Hebrew University students were asked to comment on the abduction of the three youths. One of the respondents complained that Israel was over-reacting and applying collective punishment.
Worse, an Arab student openly claimed that the whole episode had been faked. As this news is important for many representatives of foreign countries, it is grossly unpatriotic to air such views.
I trust this letter will be read by the responsible authorities and that appropriate action will be taken.
MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond
Sir, – With regard to “The fate of Eyal, Naftali and Gil-Ad: Between faith and responsibility” (Think About It, June 23), it is offensive and simply false to say that people of faith are not responsible with their children.
The parents of the three kidnapped boys cherish their children and protect them fiercely, and although they believe in God they most certainly believe that we on Earth have to do everything possible to save our children from harm. They have stated clearly that they trust in God and that they also trust in the army. “One does not rely on miracles” is an oft-quoted rabbinic saying, and certainly the national-religious, who serve in the army, have not been accused of shirking their military duties and only “relying on miracles.”
Those who say that Israelis in Judea and Samaria should continue hitchhiking are also telling them to be careful. Parents, educators and activists warn teens about the dangers of hitchhiking, and it is accepted practice in the hitchhiking culture to ask questions as drivers and hitchhikers check each other out. Consider also that we do not know how the boys were kidnapped, whether they got into the car willingly and, if willingly, how they were duped.
It is painful to accuse the three boys or their parents of recklessness.
In fact, we have every reason to think that they were thoughtful, responsible and cautious in every way.
Perhaps the root of the argument against hitchhiking in Judea and Samaria is political if one views the Israeli presence there as wrong. If we shouldn’t be in the “territories,” the kidnappings would be avoidable, maybe even negligent. But that’s a different question.
HADASSA KLEIN Ramat Gan Peres’s legacy
Sir, – With regard to “Peres promises to keep working for Pollard’s release” (June 23), it is hard to believe that President Shimon Peres made any serious attempt at freeing Jonathan Pollard during his previous visits to Washington.
With his coming trip, he faces a moment of truth. Will he demand Pollard’s release? Will he say to President Barack Obama: “Release him or I cannot accept the award Congress wishes to bestow on me”? Speaking these words to Obama should obtain the release of Pollard. If not, a much greater award would await Peres from our nation for having stood up to the US president – the way he’ll be remembered in history.YAAKOV ZEV Jerusalem
Sir, – The title of the book published in 1993 by Shimon Peres in which he articulated his pride in bringing about the Oslo Accords and painted a roseate picture of Israel’s future is The New Middle East. Unfortunately, the real new Middle East looks undeniably like the one that existed in the seventh century.
The only difference is the sophistication of the weapons being used by sectarian armies to indiscriminately slaughter each other and all non-combatants who earn their displeasure.
In keeping with the reputation earned by President Peres as a statesman of international standing, it would be statesman- like of him before leaving office to apologize to the people of Israel for foisting upon them one of the worst blunders in modern Jewish history – a self-inflicted wound that brought terrorism to our very doorstep and continues to cause death, injury and suffering.JAY SHAPIRO Jerusalem Milk banks
Sir, – Bravo to Dr. Lisa Rubin for promoting the establishment of breast-milk banks (“Health Ministry to consider free mother’s milk banks,” June 23). I hope it will become a country-wide system with easy access to all healthy mothers who wish to donate surplus milk for the benefit of babies at risk.
The cost of implementing this system, including a van running between neighborhoods to collect donations, will be far outweighed by the savings in longterm care for critically ill babies in neonatal and pediatric intensive care units. Premature and sick babies fed on commercial formula develop more digestive and other life-threatening health problems resulting in longer periods of intensive care.
In human terms, the joy of bringing a healthy baby home is beyond financial consideration.
I applaud the decision to organize the milk banks within the Health Ministry, based on guidelines and protocols that have succeeded in other developed countries. Left to commercial interests, there would be shortcuts at the expense of quality.
Just look what happened to the school-nurse system.
I am sure that all breastfeeding consultants will encourage their clients to donate milk where possible. Childbirth educators should include this information during prenatal classes.WENDY BLUMFIELD Haifa
The writer is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding counselor The right way
Sir, – It was with great gratification that I read Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz’s article “Parshat Shlach: Who will be privileged to found the state?” (Observations, June 13).
He was eminently clear in quoting the Gerrer Rebbe that the Jewish people cannot live in a dream world as they did in the desert, where all their needs were provided by God, but that in the Land of Israel all must participate to build the country.
We need electricians, plumbers, scientists and doctors, not only yeshiva students, and only by participating in the progress of the country is a person fulfilling his religious obligation.
It is regretful that the current Gerrer Rebbe and his rabbinical colleagues do not seem to agree with his esteemed ancestor.
This is not to say that Torah study is not of critical importance.
There is no doubt that a core of truly brilliant and dedicated individuals should spend their lives enriching ours with their learning, while the rest of us need to strengthen our Torah knowledge as well.
Thankfully, there are learning opportunities at all hours of the day and evening where we can all, men and women, take some time to achieve greater knowledge.
Thank you, Rabbi Rabinowitz, for pointing out the right way.ANNABELLE HOROWITZ Petah Tikva