Sir, - It is not known exactly how Aharon Zarfati died ("Pushing teens over the edge," September 20), but it is wrong to imply that he was "too motivated," as if that were some failing on his part and a possible cause of the tragedy.
He was one of my son's closest friends, and what we do know is that his motivation was an admirable quality that pervaded all aspects of his life. He prepared himself as thoroughly as possible for the pre-army physical evaluation (gibush).
Israel's past and recent history dictates that these boys will be supremely motivated to serve in the elite units on which the country clearly relies for its security and defense. Add to that mix boys who were brought here at a young age by idealistic immigrant parents, and you will have candidates who are brimming over with motivation and a desire to prove themselves.
The candidates in the elite units' gibushim are only 17- and 18-years-old. We have to be able to rely on the IDF to look after our children when we entrust them to its care.
It is up to the IDF to evaluate the whole gibush system and decide whether the instructors are themselves adding that potentially disastrous extra rung of motivation that spells the difference between a child knowing his limitations and pushing himself too far, and whether tryouts should in fact come after a lengthy period of basic training when candidates will be older.
Miscarriage of justice
Sir, - With the possible indictment of President Moshe Katsav, we may be facing Israel's greatest ever miscarriage of justice ("Another woman claims Katsav harassed her," September 21).
My reasons for so thinking:
1. The leopard does not change his spots. If Katsav has the tendencies on account of which he may be charged, why did they not show up before his presidency, a position in which he is exposed to the greatest scrutiny?
2. Is it likely that a woman whom he is accused of molesting would seek to reenter his service?
As minimum deference to the man and his position, before we discount the president's claim that he is a victim of a plot, his accusers should be treated as he has been: They, including those whose accusations are barred by the statute of limitations, should undergo a lie detector test.
Save the headlines
Sir, - The English media in Israel have a ritual. Before Rosh Hashana every year they wake up and try to rid themselves of a bad conscience by disseminating information that, for the most part, Holocaust survivors live in poverty in Israel.
I suppose Israelis know this by now. So, now what? What is the next step? Are there any programs in place to rectify this abomination? If not, just save the headlines for next year. Or, better still, just shut up as no one wants to be reminded before Rosh Hashana on a yearly basis how poor they are.
Sir, - Jacob Chinitz (Letters, September 19) is indeed right to emphasize that our body and its vital organs have been entrusted to us, as it were, by our Maker - but only during our lifetime.
After that they revert to God and not our relatives, and it is that same God who rules that saving our life and that of the other overrides every other duty, including that of the respect due to our body parts. Therefore using the deceased's organs to save life is society's duty, provided it is performed with due reverence and with a minimum of interference with our remains.