November 5: Mr. No-name

Instead of promoting Rabin's murderer by using his name, never print it.

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November 4, 2007 22:31
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Mr. No-name Sir, - Instead of promoting Rabin's murderer by using his name, never print it. There are enough terms of reference: "Rabin's assassin," the "prime-minister's killer," "convicted murderer," etc. If you keep his name out of your readers' consciousness, support for his release will lessen, removing a resource that the media are supplying free of charge ("Rally honors Rabin as assassin prepares brit," November 4). EZRA BEN-MEIR Nahariya Feting criminals Sir, - One must question the motives behind the statement by Laborite Rani Rahav: "Rabin's assassin is the idol of certain people and must not be allowed to celebrate" ("High court: Amir can attend son's brit in prison," November 2). One might sense that this is less about condemning a political assassin and more about suppressing the opinion of those on the other end of the political spectrum, who do not have a monopoly over most media outlets. Indeed, is it not Leftists who so often fete and romanticize murderers and violent criminals, granting them early release and privileges? JOHN LALOR Dublin Coddling Arabic Sir, - Spending Israelis' tax money on an Academy for the Arabic Language is a proposal from Chelm. Your editorial spelled it out: There are millions and millions of Arabs, in their own countries, to take care of Arabic. We need to promote Hebrew and not give "equal money" to those who hate us. That's just stupid ("Hurting Hebrew," November 4). EVA HOLLANDER Jerusalem Superfluous bagrut... Sir, - The Board of Education is threatening to force high school teachers to return to the classroom in order not to upset the winter bagrut (matriculation) schedule. This raises many questions. Does the ministry view teaching sophomores as a waste of time, and therefore those teachers can continue to strike? And, following three weeks of lost teaching, does it believe teachers will miraculously finish all the material by the time the bagrut rolls around - after three weeks of protests that there aren't enough teaching hours to do their pupils justice? For many years, pupils took their bagrut exams in summer only. Yet they not only learned, they learned well. Today, when the government doesn't have enough money to pay teachers decent salaries, to improve their working conditions, to allow smaller classes and more teaching hours, why not rethink the winter bagrut exams and the enormous expense they involve: hiring people to write them, people to grade them, hiring proctors (in many cases ineffectual)? I come from a country that does well without bagrut altogether ("Tamir's job on the line as teachers' strike marches on," November 2). LINDA DAYAN Ashkelon ...and why striking's vital Sir, - I would greatly appreciate it if you could inform Dr. Neil Friedman (Letters, November 4) that the teachers' union has been trying to negotiate for over a year with the ministries of Education and Finance. It did not wake up after the summer holiday and decide to lengthen the break by calling a strike. I am a second-year teacher from the US, and I see the education system here in terrible crisis. It's not only about salaries (I earn about $500 a month), but about how to stop Israeli education slipping toward the bottom rung. Striking is difficult. But it is the last option an individual has to address work-related abuses - poor conditions, low wages, no security. Striking is a right that should never be taken away. Without it, there is no hope of ever being heard. LOUISE LIPERT Rishon Lezion Sir, - I suggest the government prosecute Ran Erez, chairman of the high school teachers union, and all his supporters for the crime of child abuse via an unwarranted and harmful strike to boost his own ego. NORMAN SEGAL Eilat Unfair, Dr. Williams Sir, - It is unfortunate when a person with the influence of Dr. Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of 70 million Anglicans, makes a statement like "The fence is causing a Christian exodus" (November 1). Has he not heard that Christians are suffering persecution at the hands of Muslims? At the beginning of last month, Rami Ayyad, manager of Gaza's Christian bookstore, was brutally murdered following numerous death threats and an attempt to destroy his store. Death threats were also received by an Arab-American evangelical pastor who has fled from Gaza to Jerusalem for safety. Some years ago, before the fence was even thought of, a British Christian friend of ours married to a Christian Arab left Bethlehem, where her husband's family had lived for generations, because of persecution. She told us she could not walk down the street without being sworn and spat at. It would have been fairer and more accurate to have cited these reasons for the exodus of Christians, and not to have followed the fashion of blaming Israel and the fence for all the maladies in the Middle East. NORMAN & LOLA COHEN Co-Chairmen British Israel Group Jerusalem Sir, - Magdi Khalil, an Egyptian Christian journalist, wrote in September 2005: "During a few decades, the percentage of Palestinian Christians has dropped from 17% to less than 2% of the total population.... entire neighborhoods... have been emptied of Christians because of the overwhelming Islamic tide that has turned the Palestinian cause into an Islamic issue, and the growing power of the fundamentalists who are imposing their rules and views on the Palestinian community." The emigration of Arab Christians and Israel's security barrier are both responses to Islamofascism. Facing a common threat should form the basis of Anglican and Jewish solidarity. DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont The real volunteers Sir, - Jonathan Tobin's "'O Jerusalem,' oh no!" (October 30), was about Elie Chouraqui's new film on Israel's War of Independence that includes fictional Americans fighting for the Jewish state. I'm a Machal veteran, one of the real American volunteers. I fought from February 2, 1948 until July 20, 1949 in the Negev, and was twice wounded. Machal's contribution has not only been forgotten by Israelis; it is unknown to most American Jews. Most of us Machalniks are now in the high 80s and in poor health. In a few months, the State of Israel will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the state's independence. I wonder, will anyone remember that without us Machal volunteers the State of Israel would never have been created? ROBERT R. WEISS Boynton Beach, Florida Important/impotent Sir, - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich's highly skilled health reporting has helped her many readers. But reading about those who receive free health benefits - for example, the retired judge who presented medical bills for his wife and his mistress - may have made some of us ill. Since these benefits include erectile dysfunction treatment, might "VIP" stand for Very Impotent People? ("'Too special' to pay for medical care, November 4.) MOSHE BERLIN Jerusalem


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