March 21, 2018: You gotta love him

I would hardly call 70%+ of the vote a landslide in an uncontested election.

By
March 20, 2018 22:02
Vladimir Putin at a polling station during the presidential election in Russia

Russian President and Presidential candidate Vladimir Putin at a polling station during the presidential election in Moscow, Russia March 18, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/YURI KADOBNOV/POOL)

 
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Regarding President Vladimir Putin’s reelection (“Putin scores commanding win in Russian elections,” March 19), I would hardly call 70%+ of the vote a landslide in an uncontested election. Whom did the other 30% vote for? Well, at least he doesn’t have to face the prospect of the losing candidate writing a tell-all book as to how he/she lost the election and then touring the world explaining just how he/she lost. That’s because in Mr. Putin’s case, all the opposition candidates either woke up dead or in prison.

Putin. You just gotta love the guy.

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NORMAN DEROVAN
Ma’aleh Adumim


How to handle terrorists

Yes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, do prepare the terrorist’s home for demolition (“2 soldiers killed in West Bank car-ramming attack,” March 18).

And along with this method, the entire family and any one else living in the same home should get a one-way ticket out of our country.

I think we might witness a reduction in car rammings and other such attacks against our people! LEAH ISRAEL Jerusalem The recent terrorist stabbings and car rammings here have once again brought up the question of capital punishment for terrorists. We must remember as we consider this question: The ultimate goal is to save lives, both Jewish and Palestinian, so “soft hearted” considerations are really detrimental.

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I am against capital punishment, primarily because the jihadists want their place in the next world with dozens of maidens. Death doesn’t deter them.

I suggest the following response to terrorists: Their hands and feet should be chopped off and they should be blinded. They can then be released to Gaza with no restrictions. I’m sure the number of terrorist attacks will drop. Lives will be saved and life will become more normal around here.

AVIGDOR BONCHEK
Jerusalem


Babies and bathwater

There is much truth in Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s book Doctoring Data: How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense as reported by Judy Siegel- Itzkovich (“Questioning what is good and what is bad for you,” Health & Science, March 18). However, her take-away message seems to be that a great deal of medical research is nonsense, that doctors often don’t know what they’re talking about and that it’s bad for older people to take a lot of medicine (especially statins for lowering cholesterol).

Despite the imperfect nature of medical research and medical practice, I submit that the profound improvements in life-span and quality of life over the past 50 years are strong evidence against this. People in developed countries are living some 10 years longer than they did 50 years ago, and most (though not all) of those added years are in reasonably good health. The prevalence of heart disease and stroke has been reduced dramatically.

I myself take 10 different medicines daily (a total of 22 pills). None are intended to make me feel better.

All are intended to prevent something bad in the future. Almost none of these drugs were available when I went to medical school in the early 1960s.

My father died in 1973 at age 69. I have already lived eight years longer. He stopped working at age 65 while I am still working (part time) at age 77.

Not all the improvement in length and quality of life can be ascribed to medical care, but much of it clearly is – and this despite today’s epidemics of obesity and the resultant diabetes caused by overeating.

Some skepticism regarding modern medicine is certainly justified. Nonetheless, as Ms. Siegel-Itzkovich states, we have to take care not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

MAYER BASSAN
Jerusalem


Folic acid and autism in kids

With regard to “Multivitamins and folic acid may reduce risk of autism in children” (Health Scan, March 18), the benefits of maternal consumption of folic acid supplement in early pregnancy to prevent neonatal neurological problems has been known for several years. In particular, this compound is widely prescribed for women before and in the first three months of pregnancy.

It reduces the occurrence of spinal abnormalities in the newborn such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

It is commonly added to commercially available bread for this reason in the US.

In my book The Cause of Autism (2014), the use of folic acid to reduce the incidence of autism is discussed.

One of the largest studies was recently carried out in Norway. The benefit seems to be to reduce the presence of homocysteine, by which normal brain functioning after birth is promoted.

Children with certain gene variants related to the metabolism of this amino acid are most sensitive.

GARY STEINMAN
Jerusalem
The writer is a physician and researcher.


A magnificent article...

What a magnificent article by Nathan Lopes Cardozo (“An open letter to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the haredi leadership,” Comment & Features, March 18). It gave me new insights.

It should also be published in Haaretz, Hamodia and the Yiddish press. I believe it should be required reading for every sector of Israeli society. The eloquence, the humanity and the compassion are inspiring, and the quote from Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach brought tears to my eyes.

Thank you for the opportunity to read this article, which I shall keep and file, and often reread.

DVORA WAYSMAN
Jerusalem

...and delicious misunderstanding


Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo writes: “One is reminded of the story told about a former premier of China who was asked what impact of Caesar’s wars had had on modern European history. His reply was, ‘It’s too early to say.’” However, the question asked of Zhou Enlai during president Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 did not refer to Caesar but to the French Revolution.

Zhou understood this to be talking about the French student revolution of 1968, and not the Revolution of 1789, which resulted in the fall of the Ancien Régime. It was in this context that Zhou gave his oft-quoted response.

In an article in the magazine History Today by Dean Nicholas, citing a report in the Financial Times, “a diplomat present at the time called it a misunderstanding that was ‘too delicious to invite correction.’ The story became legend, and a rather lazy cliché about the difference between Chinese and western mentalities entered the public discourse.”

DAVID WILK
Ma’aleh Adumim


Nice juxtaposition

Your March 7 news article “Love your neighbor applies to animals too, says vegan activist” appeared directly above “ICA [Israel Cancer Association]: Colonoscopies could save 3,000 Israelis every year.”

This coincidence implies an important message: Each one of us has a choice – become as close as possible to a vegan or at least a vegetarian and sharply reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases, or have a diet based on meat and other animal products and hope that colonoscopies and other medical tests will find medical problems before they become life-threatening or, heaven forbid, life-ending.

Shifting toward animal-free diets has the added benefit of reducing animal suffering, climate change, pollution, hunger and the wasteful use of land, energy, water and other vital resources, thereby being more consistent with basic Jewish values.

SIGAL GAASH
Gan Ner

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