letters to the editor 88.
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Facing the past is key to the future
Sir, - There was a significant omission in Larry Derfner's "Lost Generation" (Cover story, May 11). Nowhere did he mention the high number of adolescents who turn to drugs, alcohol and the streets as a result of sexual abuse (see Paula Slier's In Jerusalem interview with me on October 30, 2005).
Most sources agree that 100 percent of female addicts are victims of abuse. For men the conservative estimate is 70%, although one Tel Aviv agency informed me that 100% of the 1,000 or so addicts they worked with, male and female, were victims. There is a reluctance to face this fact even among the fine people who work with these youths.
One 21-year-old I spoke with told me that he had been on the streets since he was 14, but at no time did he tell anyone he was a victim of abuse; nor was he ever asked. Yet in many cases facing the past is the key to the future.
Worth noting is the important work being done by Crossroads and its director, Caryn Greene. Crossroads is specifically geared to the Anglo population, and it would be useful for your readership to be aware of its activities.
[Crossroads is located at Rehov Hahavatzelet 2, Jerusalem 91028, tel. 050-868-9207; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]
Religious Men's Hotline
Will the real...
Sir, - Your magazine of May 11 featured three opinion pieces discussing Tzipi Livni. Two of them, "The problem with Tzipi Livni" by Amotz Asa-El, and "Where's our Sarkozy" by Saul Singer commented on Livni's humility and quiet manner. The third, "No elevator for Tzipi" by Sarah Honig, criticized Livni roundly, referring to her as "a prime example of Israel's culture of bluff, of bamboozling our own selves."
None of the three columnists see Livni as suitable material to be our next prime minister. They could well be right for the present time, but the future may show things differently.
Her integrity and soft-spoken manner remind me of Dan Meridor, who many believe would at this time be a most suitable person to lead the country. However, his political career has now ended. I believe that by remaining in the government, despite her feelings about Ehud Olmert, Livni is ensuring that she remains in politics; and hopefully she will not disappear into the political wilderness.
I look forward to following her progress in the coming months and years, and trust that her leadership qualities will come to fruition in the foreseeable future.
MONTY M. ZION
Sir, - I cannot express my agreement with Amotz Asa-El too strongly. Someone who has the strength of character and humility to look in the mirror and recognize her strengths and weaknesses is not only greatly to be admired, but, to my mind, embodies just those characteristics that are necessary, among others, in someone who is to lead the people.
On the other hand, according to Sarah Honig, Tzipi Livni's greatest crime is that she does not think as her father thought. Humanity would be in a sorry state indeed if men (and women) always acted on "What my father used to say/do is good enough for me."
Elsewhere in the issue someone says that a prime minister has to think like a prime minister. Unfortunately, this is a skill that cannot be acquired by theoretical study - one has to be a prime minister in order to develop this ability. One can listen to counselors, but in the final analysis one has to make up one's own mind, based on one's own evaluation of a situation.
...please stand up?
Sir, - Who is Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni? Has she "defied a whole zeitgeist" by the modesty and humility she displayed (Amotz Asa-El); or perhaps "her record personifies sloganism in place of values, the search for facile formulas instead of facing up to challenges, the camouflage of reality for reaping PR rewards" (Sarah Honig)? Is Livni "not driven by personal ambitionâ€¦ demonstrating that she can think like a prime minister" (Saul Singer), or has she "repeatedly sold out Israel's national interest for personal gainâ€¦" sold out Zionism for a job promotionâ€¦ ow[ing] her career "to the sacrifice of ideals"? (Caroline Glick, March 30).
Will the real Tzipi Livni please stand up?
Sir, - Saul Singer drew the conclusion that the reason for the failure of the anti-Olmert demonstration in Tel Aviv to draw a crowd of 500,000 people, despite Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's unpopularity, lay in the public's disillusionment with the entire current crop of leaders. I think otherwise ("Where's our Sarkozy?" May 11).
The organizers made a point of giving the demonstration a distinctly left-wing flavor by inviting speakers and entertainers who identify strongly with the Left. These included Meir Shalev - who managed in his speech to get in a dig at the settlers - Osnat Vyshinsky and Aviv Geffen. This must surely have discouraged the National Religious camp from attending and they were, in fact, very sparsely represented, despite identifying with the aims of the demonstration.
The crowd at the demonstration is said to have numbered some 200,000. If not for the mistake of partisanship on the part of the organizers, I'm sure that number would have been doubled.
Voice in the wilderness
Sir, - I would like to express my appreciation of your May 4 issue of UpFront for the many fascinating articles it contained. Amotz Asa-El's "After the fall" was an especially fine example of journalism, and I feel compelled to react to it.
I consider myself a part of "Middle Israel" and I agree with every word Mr. Asa-El writes, but I fear that his is a voice crying in the wilderness.
"There is a pervasive thirst in Israel today for a political overhaul," he says. Is there really? It seems that nothing has been learned from past serious mistakes made by our elected leaders, and all those who today strive for Olmert's and Peretz's jobs will go on making the same mistakes once they are in their positions, if we elect them by the old, outdated system of voting for parties.
Does the Israeli public suffer from some kind of memory deficiency that people have forgotten what happened in 2001, when Ehud Barak was prime minister - the furtive retreat by night from positions in Lebanon - and the consequences of that hasty action? Do we want Barak now for defense minister or, God forbid, prime minister? I write as a troubled senior citizen.
Dubious guest list
Sir, - If your correspondent David Waintraub is correct, both your newspaper and all others would be performing a great public service by publishing the names of ministers and MKs who attend the social events of convicted and known criminals ("Unholy matrimony," Letters, May 11).