letters to the editor 88.
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Strength in unity
Sir, - Re "Rabbis, IDF clash over segregation in hesder programs" (May 6): There is no room in the army for segregated groups. If a religious soldier feels he cannot serve in a regular army unit for ideological reasons, he should be reassigned or dismissed.
The time to weed out those soldiers, from Left or Right, who will refuse to obey legitimate orders during wartime is now, when their decision will not put their fellow soldiers and the country at risk.
The IDF's prime function is to protect the country. It should not be used as a police force to further political aims. To segregate is to divide. Today, more than ever, we must unite to fight our common enemies.
Sir, - There is an old adage: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The hesder program has been fine and dandy all these years; the soldiers are highly motivated and excellent. Why break up hesder for pie-in-the-sky schemes? Let the army concentrate on securing the Negev and the North. This should be their mandate.
Haga & Pessah
Sir, - A unit called "Haga" used to be active on the Home Front. Comprising people with a low army profile or who were past reserve age, its tasks were to ensure compliance with the blackout (1956); to direct people to safe places during a warning (1967); to cordon off dangers such as live electricity wires, keep people away from fallen debris, pinpoint fires, pass on calls for help, etc. It also worked with the local councils to maintain shelters and a team of emergency drivers replaced reservists in transporting essential supplies and getting people to work.
We also had "Pessah" - pinui, siud, hilutz - in which volunteers evacuated people, including tourists, in emergencies, found relatives and gave first aid to displaced people.
These services could have greatly relieved the situation in the North last summer, and may well be needed in the future. What happened to them? ("Hizbullah: We're ready for new war," May 6.)
Road to where?
Sir, - Winograd has stirred up protest, but the silence from Minister of Transport Shaul Mofaz about his ministry's failure to reduce carnage on our roads is deafening. In the past week alone, road crashes claimed 15 lives and left 15 seriously injured ("Four die in Negev collision," May 6).
Mofaz declared publicly a year ago as he - unwillingly - took up his post: "I feel that my soldier sons and daughter are safer on the borders than on our roads." The Traffic Police head responded to harsh criticism by stating recently on TV that road accidents are now the lowest in 40 years, but road deaths and serious injuries are escalating, and higher than at this time last year.
Deed to the land
Sir, - I strongly agree with Elliot Jager's "Brest-Litovsk and all that" (May 2) about not "shlepping" foreign dignitaries to Yad Vashem - for a totally different reason, however: the implication that our state's legitimacy is based on UN recognition that a homeland for the Jewish people was necessary for Jews who survived the Holocaust.
This idea has been internalized by Israel's leaders, but the premise is so weak that it is challenged by many nations, and even by post-Zionist Israelis. The Muslim Wakf was so sure of itself that it was able to destroy almost every sign of Jewish existence on the Temple Mount without protest from the Israel government.
We are the only nation in the world with a document to prove our legitimate right to this land. Every other nation won its right to its land through conquest and destruction of the indigenous people. Since most nations today recognize the Bible as a valid document, it would behoove our leaders to show foreign dignitaries the sites that evidence continuous Jewish existence in this land. Our education system should do the same for all our youth.
Help or hindrance?
Sir, - How would you rate this for bureaucratic efficiency? Our treasury recently sent me, as a Holocaust survivor, a parcel of 20 forms to fill out, involving doctors, witnesses, lawyers, banks, declaration of all income plus proof, etc.
This "help for survivors" is based on a law passed in 1998. The forms were printed in 2001, and sent out in 2007. How many needy survivors have died in those wasted nine years? ("'Alternative' ceremony focuses on financial plight of survivors in Israel," April 17.)
Hatred's a disease
Sir, - I was surprised at Shmuley Boteach's blindness to the fact that justice should be left in the hands of the courts ("Hate the sinner, too," April 30). A person who hates is incapable of rendering justice to anyone. Hate leads to hate. And it is impossible to reach a sinner if you hate him.
If Rabbi Boteach feels the US justice system is unfair, he should work to correct it and not thrive on a philosophy of hatred, even vis-a-vis a mass murderer.
I am sure no one will shed tears over the death of Cho Seung-Hui; but lack of an open trial denied us the opportunity to examine his motives so as to better weed out future potential threats to our society.
Breath of fresh air
Sir, - When the air conditioning system of my car stopped working recently I remembered Judy Siegel-Itzkovich's "Get a second opinion" (April 26), in which she described a visit to David Mazganim in Talpiot. I found the place and was delighted with the owner's fast service, low price and gentle demeanor.
As a woman who has gone alone to car repair places in Jerusalem many times, I must say this was the most positive experience I have ever had.
Sir, - In "I have set before you life and death" (May 3) Evelyn Gordon mentions the Benji Hillman Foundation, established in memory of our nephew, who was killed in combat in Lebanon last summer. The home being built in his memory will provide not only accommodation for up to 50 lone soldiers but also a guidance program for all lone combat soldiers.
We are organizing the first local fund-raising event, a community-sponsored walk, on Friday May 25 at 8 a.m. from Park Ra'anana, opposite Gam Cafe. Anyone interested in participating or sponsoring one of the soldiers from Benji's unit who will be walking, should contact Laurence Lebor, tel. 054-4-652179, email firstname.lastname@example.org or access www.benjihillman.org for more details.
RUTH AND DAVID RURKA
Jacob Rosin, 99
Sir, - With the deepest sorrow I note that my father, Jacob Rosin, passed away on his 99th birthday. Between 1973, when he made aliya, and 2000 the Post published over 250 of his letters to the editor. On the paper's 60th anniversary he received a citation for his contributions.
A prolific reader who had his pulse on world events, scientific, political and medical, he was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and his passing is a great loss.