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Sir, - In "Fight the divorce epidemic" (May 14) Shmuley Boteach puts the emphasis on having proper, affordable counseling available for families on the brink of divorce in an attempt to save the marriage.
I would like to suggest that formal education be offered in high schools and universities prior to marriage, covering such areas as sex education, raising children, setting up a home, financial responsibility, love, etc.
The time to educate a young person is before a lifelong commitment so that he or she will have a realistic picture of marriage and not be misled by popular TV shows that either idealize marriage or portray dysfunctional families.
Why not make this type of education mandatory, with the state shouldering the bulk of the cost? I'm willing to bet such a program would make inroads into lowering the divorce rate.
'Li zeh lo yikre'
Sir, - Once again the old Israeli "It won't happen to me" (Li zeh lo yikre) stands out as the apparent main cause of the tragic incident at the Qumran National Park. Whether or not these youngsters were warned not to go, common sense should have told them it was not a smart thing to do. Thus four young lives are lost.
We see the same crazy principle of "Li zeh lo yikre" on our roads every day, with horrific results ("Police probe whether hikers had adequate warning of flash flood," May 14).
Electoral Reform Party
Sir, - I agree with I. Kemp that this is the time to "clean house" ("Start from scratch," Letters, May 13). However, I cannot see the members of the current coalition - even after the damning Winograd Report - agreeing to something that will make them personally accountable. As things are, the PM can overcome any no-confidence motion by offering a minority party a few hundred million shekels of public money for some pet project.
The only way to change the status quo is to build a new party in time for the next elections with a single platform and raison d'etre: to draw up a plan for electoral reform - direct voting for, say, 50% of Knesset seats - and present it to the nation. Such a party would do very well if a good team were brought together to endorse it: people like Amnon Rubinstein, Moshe "Boogie" Ya'alon, Moshe Arens, Natan Sharansky, Uzi Landau and Benny Begin, who have shown that their integrity means more to them than safe seats.
When Kadima crashes in the next elections, as it surely will, there will be a lot of disgruntled voters around. They might just settle for an Electoral Reform Party.
Sir, - Larry Derfner is still rattling an empty cage. "Until Bush got in," he declares, "the White House was always trying to draw Israel and its enemies together, not keep them apart" ("Bush and his good intentions," May 13).
Until Bush, the approach was to pull Israel away from its own security needs toward immovable Arab demands. Now Bush wants to keep them apart until there is movement on both sides. Sounds healthy to me.
...no, not very
Sir, - "Talk with Syria, avoid the next war" (May 11) translates as: Give Syria the Golan to avoid the next war. The reason we don't talk with Syria, David Kimche surmises, is because Ehud Olmert is too weak a leader to go against public opinion.
He is basically saying the public would like to keep the Golan as part of the country, but he would prefer to give it away to possibly prevent another war with Syria - one that the Syrians would start.
With this line of reasoning, our enemies will ultimately determine the borders of our country.
Sir, - I wonder, has Isaac Brooks ("Muslims are moral," Letters, May 10) read the book Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali? I have. It truly opened my eyes, and the eyes of the many women I lent it to and keep lending it to, so I stand by Caroline Glick's observation in "Hirsi Ali's challenge to humanity" (May 8): "In brutalizing Muslim women, Muslim religious leaders and religious adherents justify their evil deeds by quoting verses from the Koran which sanction their violent and brutal behavior."
Paragon named Blair
Sir, - British Prime Minister Tony Blair's pending departure from office will leave a void that is already beginning to extend beyond his native shores.
In Britain his exit sets the stage for political havoc as the Left's usual assortment of clownish ideas will gain freer rein without Blair's foil to their inventors' ill-conceived social schemes and myopic world view. Blair's unparalleled facility with words, long resented by that Leftist faction, will come to be missed by many who'll then rue their own roles in bringing about his absence.
But in the Middle East, if Blair's successor proves unable to stand as firmly with America in the breach against both Islamist extremists and Iran's determined drive toward nuclear armament, prospects for long-term peace must become only more arduous and uncertain as the region's countries are then compelled to appease the former and copy the latter.
Upon the shoulders of Blair's successor falls the fate of comparison with a paragon; we and our own fates will be spectators at the contest ("Blair to resign on June 27 after decade in office," May 11).
Sir, - Tony Blair led England in a remarkable 10 years that helped bring his people into the 21st century with both success and a glowing promise of more as New Labour selects a new leader.
His support of the United States - right or wrong - his not letting that democracy stand alone against global terror after 9/11 will serve his legacy well and allow history to judge him in the same light as some of Britain's other great past leaders.
Jewish pride is separate
Sir, - I would like to express my surprise and grief regarding "Foreign diplomats to stay away from united Jerusalem festivities" (May 14). The article reproduced the reasons I gave your journalist for not participating, as Chilean ambassador to Israel, in the official ceremonies for the commemoration of 40 years of Jerusalem's reunification.
My surprise came later, when I read the mention of my Jewish origin, as well as the Jewish origin of the Czech ambassador, H.E. Mr. Michael Zantovsky, "as are some of the other ambassadors who will be absent."
I would like to state that my Jewish origin, of which I am very proud, is not related to my position as Ambassador of Chile to Israel. As you must know, ambassadors are representatives of states, which has nothing to do with family origins.
Ambassador of Chile
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