(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ray of light
Sir, - In a climate where the Iraq war conjures up only negative emotions, it is worthwhile paying heed to Charles Krauthammer's timely "Take victory for an answer" (November 26), which pierces the perceived darkness with a ray of light.
I echo Krauthammer's message to the sceptics - such as Nancy Pelosi, for whom the criterion of success in Iraq must be governed by the achievement of benchmarks - is: "The benchmarks would be a wonderful shortcut to success in Iraq. But it is folly to abandon the pursuit of that success when a different route, more arduous but still doable, is at hand and demonstrably working."
Sir, - Remember Israel's much-heralded 50th-anniversary celebrations? A great deal of money was spent, very little joy was derived, and the country was left with no lasting benefit, only the usual piles of garbage.
Let's not make the same mistake on our 60th anniversary. Let's make a national clean-up campaign an integral part of the festivities, with competitions among schools to see who can collect the most litter, and the most material for recycling. Prizes for the best idea for the preservation of the environment. The best essay on the topic. The best artwork representing the ecological dilemma. Awards for the most beautiful parks, gardens, neighborhoods, schools, industries, hospitals and campuses.
Ideally, such a campaign should have been launched in anticipation of the festivities (wouldn't it have been wonderful if Israel's high schoolers had been organized to clean up the parks and roads during the teachers' strike, instead of frequenting the pubs?). But it's not too late. There's still time to work out a program for the course of the 60th year, one that can be premiered with a great deal of publicity at the opening celebrations.
If we involve all our citizens in this effort, perhaps we will help rekindle the sense of pride and empowerment that has largely been lost in recent years. Maybe Keren Kayemet, instead of hoisting self-congratulatory banners in every one of their parks, could instead spend the money on banners that read: "Please wrap your garbage and take it home. Leave our parks clean."
Let's celebrate our 60th anniversary by making Israel a cleaner, more ecologically and esthetically aware country. ("The bells of peace," November 21).
Sir, - I spent about 10 months in Jerusalem and watched many stray kittens and young cats die, beaten up on by local kids. I am not a big pet person. But like almost every American I know, I react negatively to stray animal problems - which actually seemed within normal cultural boundaries for Israel.
I know many people who have spent time in Israel and were dismayed by the alarming numbers of stray cats and sometimes visibly pregnant stray dogs. I implore Israel to take seriously the objective of neutering cats and dogs to get a handle on the problem. It is a PR nightmare, and bad for the souls of children to become inured to the suffering of small, defenseless creatures.
Deal with this problem - and the problem of trash. The benefits to tourism will be gigantic.