September 20: Tunick and a lost bet

This Spencer Tunick, the photographer who managed to convince a thousand people to pose nude in the Dead Sea, must be proud of himself.

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Breaking news
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Sir, – This Spencer Tunick, the photographer who managed to convince a thousand people to pose nude in the Dead Sea, must be proud of himself. He’s proved that the most intelligent people in the world has its dumb ones.
The sad thing is that the last time photos of nude groups of Jewish people were taken was during the Shoah. They were complacently taken before executions.
You can see a few of them at Yad Vashem. So the true meaning of this so-called artistic job lies somewhere else.
The shameful event at the Dead Sea was nothing but a vicious way to pervert Judaism’s spiritual identity. Having taken place less than two weeks before the High Holy Days and the Day of Judgement, it may provoke from above, God forbid, some kind of a warning: “Stop! You’re going too far! Do you need my divine wrath to wake you up to your spiritual identity?” (I bet you won’t dare print these last lines.)
MDA’s ‘marketplace’
Sir, – Your editorial supporting the primacy of Magen David Adom’s role as Israel’s first responder in medical emergencies (“In defense of MDA,” September 18) was indeed gratifying.
Any discussion of creating a competitive environment or emergency service marketplace equates the delivery of blood and emergency medical care with cottage cheese, television entertainment and used cars.
Emergency medical care should not be merchandised.
Whether it's a heart attack, terrorist attack or the birth of a baby, the lowest bidder should not be the selective filter.
I witnessed the 9/11 response by a myriad of first responder organizations. Communications and coordination were essentially missing. Israel has set an example for the world. MDA’s response to disasters is legendary.
Why tamper with it?
Palm Beach

The writer is a national board member of American Friends of Magen David Adom
Sir, – Instead of considering the privatization of MDA, the government should consider integrating it into a public service to work along with the police. In fact, we need an integrated police, ambulance and fire service with a professional core. All emergency services could thus be coordinated, with one phone number to call for any or all.
Reform is urgently needed.
Exceptional person
Sir, – Apart from his very interesting and informative articles (particularly “Traveler’s insurance: Never leave home without it,” The Travel Adviser, September 18), Mark Feldman is an exceptional person.
I have never met him, nor have I ever made a booking through his company. However, when I was having recent problems relating to refunds and tracing the phone number of a hotel in Korea where a family member was staying overnight (Korean Airlines was unable to help), not only did he answer all my phone calls and e-mails immediately, he went to extensive trouble to get the necessary information and advise me with amazing care and concern.
Kol Hakavod to him.
Down to nitty-gritty
Sir, – We read that Dubai has caught on to the need for affordable housing that not only satisfies the demands of young people, but also creates jobs (“Gulf developers lower gaze to affordable housing,” Business & Finance, September 18).
Our government should do the same. Instead of talking about budgets and taxes, it should get down to the nittygritty as soon as possible. We voted our politicians in to look after us in all aspects of life, but once they’re power the man in the street has no influence except to go out into the street to demonstrate.
If no notice is taken of our complaints, the ruling parties will be out in the next election.

Herzliya Pituah
War of words
Sir, – “Is morality just a weapon in the political war of words?” asks Ray Hanania (“The blame game,” Yalla Peace, September 14). In his column, it certainly is.
Hanania writes that by not apologizing for the deaths of Rachel Corrie and the Turkish flotilla combatants, Israel “echoes” the unapologetic attitude of Arab terrorists. Thus, without exactly saying that an accident on the one hand and an effort of self-defense on the other are morally equivalent to deliberately slaughtering civilians, Hanania clearly implies it.
He declares that the Mavi Marmara was a threat “not because it carried weapons... but because of its PR value.” Yet the primary weapon it carried was the moral challenge to Israel’s right to inspect incoming vessels. In that case, we were waging not just a political war of words but a legitimate campaign to monitor terrorist supply lines.
Paying the price
Sir, – Regarding Rabbi Yosef Blau’s “‘Price tag’ – paying for our educational failures” (Opinion & Features, September 13), I am a proud graduate of Yeshiva University. I chose to move to Israel and raise my family here in part due to the religious and Zionist education I received there. Therefore, I was pained to see an article criticizing the religious Zionist youth of Israel.
Blau makes a sweeping generalization when he assails a “not insignificant” percentage of schools in the religious Zionist system that he feels promulgate extreme and violent ideas and behavior. Where does he get his knowledge of our school system? Why is he so critical of a generation of children who have grown up with the backdrop of the expulsion from Gush Katif, countless terrorist attacks and rampant anti-Semitism, yet continue to build this country through army service, national service and endless forms of good deeds?

Sir, – Rabbi Yosef Blau writes persuasively about the miseducation of many of our religious Zionist youth. He focuses on their being taught a simplistic (and inaccurate) view of our place in the world, our conflict with the Arabs and the religious value of our territorial patrimony.
I think he is quite right. But I also think that the problem is, in a way, deeper: It’s not simply that we have given up on teaching nuance, tolerance and a deeper understanding of our sources – we have given up on teaching, period.
The most telling remark in Blau’s piece is that “the message communicated is that demonstrating is more important than learning.” The corrective is not simply to improve teaching (how effective can that be when the whole activity is devalued?).
It’s to get our educators (and parents) back to doing their job, which does not include heart-to-heart talks, rap sessions, watching movies, attending strings of airy symposia or going to demonstrations.
Alon Shvut
Sir, – Not one person has yet to be arrested for the acts of vandalism cited in Rabbi Yosef Blau’s op-ed piece. There have been cases of vandalism perpetrated by the secret services or by left-wing groups in order to blacken the name of the religious Zionist community.
In addition, acts of revenge have been condemned across the board by rabbis and educators in the religious Zionist community. All my seven children have learned in its educational institutions. Some of their friends have lost parents and siblings in terror attacks. None has ever perpetrated an act of revenge.
Living in the US, Blau cannot possibly know the love our children have for the Land of Israel and the strength with which they cling to it. It further emphasizes the divide between us even though we started out at the same place.