September 1: Rose and Alon

Thank you for reminding us that "this time, we need to cut ourselves some slack" ("Breast-beating over Rose," Editorial, August 31).

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Rose and Alon Sir, - Thank you for reminding us that "this time, we need to cut ourselves some slack" ("Breast-beating over Rose," Editorial, August 31). All of us, grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers especially, have been beyond shock, enraged at the fate of poor little Rose Pizem. I believe that our turmoil is so great because our society has such an enormous sense of caring for children. I was a single parent here for many years before I remarried, and I always felt part of an "extended family." No, we cannot continue to beat ourselves up over Rose, and now dear little Alon Borison. We have to continue to be this caring society and, through our tears, hope and pray it does not happen again. HELA CROWN-TAMIR Mevaseret Zion First lesson is... Sir, - I read aloud Elana Maryles Sztokman's "A radical suggestion for tired parents" (September 1). Every paragraph was met with a 'Right on!' I felt the name of the school - or at least the principal who was accused of "revolting" behavior - should be made public to encourage response and open debate. I have been informed that there is a genuine fear of pupils bearing the repercussions of parents' actions. A sad anomaly: Mediocrity rules in schools, out of fear for our children. DANIEL ABELMAN Jerusalem ...cuddle, don't coddle Sir, - I also raised four children - the first three in three-and-a-half years and the last with a five-year gap - so I can freely attest to the difficulties involved in raising a family without the assistance of family members apart from my husband (we were both new immigrants without siblings or parents to help out). Our solution was so simple that I always wondered why we'd never heard about it from anyone else. My husband got up at 6.30, woke each child only once and then ran back to bed. The first child to reach our bed could get into the middle, and the others had to make do wherever there was room. We spent about 10 minutes cuddling and waking up slowly, then everyone went off to get dressed and ready for school. No-one was ever late, and I can't honestly remember thinking that it was difficult to get them out of the house. They all had a 15-20 minute walk to primary school, went together and often dropped the younger one off at kindergarten on the way. Nobody expected to be taken to school, and it never occurred to me to inspect each child's bag to make sure they had all their books. If they forgot one, it was the teacher's job to say something. All my children graduated from colleges and universities. All are independent and they know how to get to places on time. To recommend that teachers be more lenient is just asking for trouble, and a good way for parents to shirk their responsibilities. I feel the decision to start school at 8 a.m. is the right one due to the climate in Israel. Starting at 9 makes no sense. Someone who can't arrive on time at 8 won't be on time an hour later, either. ANGELA GROSSMAN Tel Aviv How the rot got in Sir, - One factor Jeff Barak's excellent "When did the rot set in?" (September 1) omitted was the introduction of direct election of the prime minister in 1996. This lame-brained scheme, which attempted to graft an essentially American congressional component onto a totally different and incompatible British parliamentary system destroyed whatever semblance of leadership accountability remained in the country. It permitted leaders who lacked checks and balances, either via other power centers (US - legislature and the judiciary; UK - party discipline) to run the country as a personal fiefdom. While this does not by itself explain the excesses of the past decade Barak describes, it does explain how they were enabled. The most egregious consequence of all is that it has discredited all new efforts to introduce systemic reforms, which are so obviously and urgently required. HARVEY LITHWICK Metar Good question Sir, - Every day I read the Letters section with pleasure and find that most of the letters are full of accurate information and healthy views. People are smart, so why do we have such lousy politicians? ILANA DRORI Rehovot No frivolity for founding fathers Sir, - So Tzipi Livni has no admiration for Golda ("Golda Meir becomes antihero in Kadima race," August 23.) Meir was a woman who devoted her entire life to Israel, who admitted to neglecting her family in her single-minded determination to see the fulfillment of the creation of the state and take an active part in all it entailed. She cared not for frivolous matters, lived in very modest circumstances and, like the other "founding fathers," was solely concerned with the welfare of the Jewish people. Right-wing, left-wing, secular, religious or anything else - all the original members of Knesset devoted their lives to Israel. We have not seen the likes of Golda, David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin in many years. Did they make mistakes? Sure they did. No one can go through what they did without making mistakes, even serious ones. Yet whether we agreed with their policies or not, we have to admire the great efforts they put into the work of making Israel a home for the Jewish people. What has Livni done so far to earn our admiration? Putting UN forces in charge of what happens with Hizbullah, something she pushed through with great enthusiasm at the end of the last Lebanon war? We are going to reap the very undesirable results of that one in the near future. HULA K. SMITH Bat Yam Sir, - In the case of Gilad Schalit, Tzipi Livni should follow Golda Meir's example. Golda was ruthless against terrorists who harmed Israelis. She chased the murderers of our Olympic athletes to their deaths, albeit with one unfortunate mistake when an innocent man was killed. The inhuman thugs who hold Schalit are thumbing their noses at us, and we treat them as negotiating partners! Advice is simple to give, I know. Still, those up there should know what to do. YAN SEVER Kibbutz Moran We'd like to be next Sir, - We were delighted to read in "Jewish Agency cedes N. American aliya to Nefesh B'Nefesh" (September 1) of the cooperation agreement signed in the US between Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency. The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland works with both organizations. In the past few years there has been some cooperation, helped by our efforts to improve the situation. We believe the process of aliya from the UK would be further encouraged, and streamlined, by an arrangement similar to that signed in the US. ANDREW BALCOMBE, Chairman Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland Jerusalem 'You don't say!' Sir, - Bank Supervisor Rony Hizkiyahu's feigned incredulity at how the banks have abused the privilege of setting fees reminded me of the classic line by Claude Rains in Casablanca - "I am shocked!" Letting the banks determine fee levels is like allowing an arsonist to set the fire prevention code ("Banks took advantage of fee reform," September 1). MICHAEL D. HIRSCH Kochav Ya'ir