Sir, – The death of a young man following participation in the Tel
Aviv half marathon was the second in two years (“TA to investigate decision to
hold half marathon,” March 17). Now, the Ministry of Health and the Tel Aviv
city council are leveling accusations at each other as being the responsible
Bear in mind that in addition to the death, 12 other participants
were hospitalized in very serious condition. This indicates the dangers of
holding such an event even when temperatures are not that high.
hard to believe that most of the 35,000 participants were in the necessary
The health hazards are not fully appreciated,
including the fact that over-consumption of water may be dangerous.
publicity given to these events should be accompanied by clear explanations of
the possible medical dangers, and participants should be advised to consult
their personal physician and be sure of their level of physical fitness before
deciding to take part.
MONTY M. ZION
Tel Mond The writer is a retired
Sir, – I was surprised and shocked to hear that the Tel Aviv half
marathon had not been postponed because of the extreme heat last
Why was the medical advice ignored – or was it a financial
decision to go ahead? SALLY SHAW
Kfar Saba Teachers and pay
Sir, – MK Shimon
Ohayon’s article on the importance of compensating teachers (“Improving the
status of teachers in Israel,” Comment & Features, March 17) is on
Only last week I was talking to one of my first-year students at
Tel Aviv University, who left her lucrative post-army job in hi-tech to complete
her BA degree. She said that when she gets her degree she really does not want
to go back to hi-tech because it is not nearly as important as being a teacher.
She added that everyone says she’s crazy because everyone knows teachers don’t
get paid well.
Ohayon’s article clearly spells out the situation.
Hopefully, he can do something to improve the situation.
Sir, – “Improving the status of teachers in Israel” insufficiently
stresses one important component – the respect that children should show their
The idea of calling a teacher by his or her first name (a
common practice here, even in kindergarten) does not allow the teacher to be on
a higher level than the child. In my school days in Australia we always stood
when the teacher entered the classroom, and said “Good morning, Miss/Mr. ...”
until the teacher responded and gave us permission to sit.
When one of my
grandchildren recently complained that her teacher was not a “real friend,” I
explained that being a friend was not her role. Friends are from one’s peer
Teachers, like parents, are there to educate children and should
be respected, even revered. This value should be taught at home.
fulfill an important role in every child’s life. In addition to receiving a much
better salary, they are entitled to the respect that would make their job as
disciplinarian that much easier. It is up to parents to inculcate this value
into their children, even from kindergarten and first grade.
Sir, – One could almost laugh at some of the
haredi comments about our new governing coalition – if they weren’t so sad
(“Haredim denounce ‘axis of hatred’ in new ‘evil government,’” March
They do not seem to realize that this is how they themselves are
perceived by the rest of the country. The evil is in forcing religion upon us
and behaving in an ugly way to people who do not hurt them as they hurt others,
including their own people.
It is a relief that they are not in the
government. They should be in synagogues as rabbis. This is my opinion. I come
from a very religious background, but my grandparents were not
Tel Aviv Double-speak
Sir, – Gershon Baskin’s
latest column (“No more unilateralism,” Encountering Peace, March 14) is
difficult to digest with all its one-sided, slanted double-speak.
want to look far back and debate our possible mistakes and what we should or
shouldn’t have done? If so, as a proper balance we should also scrutinize
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his denial of the
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has stated time and again,
for all the world to hear, his readiness to sit and negotiate without
pre-conditions. Countless gestures have been made to the Palestinians. On their
part, not a one – not even openly stating that Israel is a Jewish
As much as we’re willing to talk without preconditions, it’s a
stalemate because, to be honest, they are not in the same place. Maybe as much
as we never wanted this, a unilateral step must be taken before it’s too
Nordiya ZF’s values
Sir, – With regard to your
recent news item “British Jews celebrate strong ties with Israel” (March 13) and
David Newman’s column “The Zionist Federation policy of exclusion” (Borderline
Views, March 5), since the beginning of the year, we at the Zionist Federation
(ZF) of Great Britain have seen the greatest successes from our largest events.
These include our most popular Parliament Lobby Day ever, the ZF Science Week,
which drew extensive national media coverage in showcasing groundbreaking
achievements from Israeli scientists, and our largest ZF Gala Dinner to
These events sit alongside all the many other day-to-day activities
working on behalf of Israel. However, we feel we need to work harder in
communicating the principles and values of the ZF that drive the passion behind
The ZF is deeply committed to the State of Israel and its
security. We believe that pursuing peace is an obligation set upon us to ensure
that our children need not know war.
We believe in a two-state solution
that provides peace and security for Israel and an independent state for the
Palestinians, where both prosper economically and work together to maintain
peace. We also believe in Israel as a Jewish state living in peace and security
among its Muslim neighbors.
At the heart of the ZF lies a dedicated
liberal and democratic ideology. Israel, alongside other Western democracies,
must protect all its minorities, hold human rights to the highest standards,
seek social justice for all and support religious pluralism. We do not support
religious or secular extremism. In fact, we support absolute tolerance in a
society that holds that all men and woman are treated equally no matter their
color, race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity.
We believe in the
future of Israel as a safe, peaceful and prosperous light among nations. These
values are shared by our membership and the organizations that work alongside us
in actively engaging and promoting Israel in the UK. We would like to ensure
that, going forward, there is greater dialogue and cooperation with progressive
Judaism and that we engage the younger community in working for these
The writer is chairman of the Zionist
CORRECTION The orbit of the Panstarrs C/2011 L4 comet brought it
within 164 million km. of Earth, and not as stated in “Comet to soar over
Israel” (March 18).