Kids as pawns
Sir, - Re "Throwing children to the wolves" (Greer Fay Cashman, October 14): It is not the (adorable, Hebrew-speaking) children who are being targeted, but their law-breaking parents, who chose to have children in Israel in violation of the immigration rules for foreign workers.
Are these adults to be rewarded because they flouted the law? It seems to me that these - admittedly innocent - young children are being used as pawns by their parents and certain well-meaning but misguided Israelis to gain citizenship for illegal foreign workers.
One can make the case that these mostly Filipino children will, in the long run, be better off in the Philippines, where their appearance and religion will allow them to grow up in an environment where they are part of the majority rather than the minority they will be if they stay in Israel.
Just like immigrant young children here, I am certain that within six months of arriving in the Philippines, these youngsters will be adjusted to the local culture and chatting away in Tagalog. The Philippines is a democracy, and they will face no political recrimination for having been born in Israel. They will also most likely have a large number of close relatives - adding to their quality of life.
They may not be as well off economically as they would be in Israel, but that is hardly being "thrown to the wolves."
Sir, - So our government has decided to postpone the deportation of illegal migrants' children born in Israel for another eight months, until after the end of the current school year. Amazing: It isn't cruel enough to deport these children altogether despite the fact that they were born and raised here in Israel - we let them become further acculturated to Israeli society and the only world they've ever known before kicking them out like criminals!
What happened to simple human and specifically Jewish decency? Have we forgotten how Menachem Begin took in Vietnam refugees? And wasn't a solution found for the Black Hebrews, who lived and worked here illegally for years as totally stateless individuals?
These children and their families must be allowed to stay; anything less is anti-human and very anti-Jewish.
Sir, - These are beautiful, healthy children who will most probably grow up with more values and gratitude than our own many spoiled youngsters who roam the streets until the early hours of the morning and young adults who would rather stay home and do nothing than get a "lowly" job in construction.
OLGA P. WIND
Nobel committee's commendable vision
Sir, - Re "Decline and fall of the Nobel Peace Prize" (October 15): I believe that those who say President Obama should not have been given the 2009 prize are missing the main point. Obama changed the course of history!
Before his Cairo University speech, the world was racing toward a bloody confrontation between the Muslim and the Western world - the next world war in the making. The speech changed that. Many questions remain and there is much still to be answered, but the seemingly unstoppable hurtling down the slope was halted.
Opponents claim that so far, Obama has merely talked. But that was exactly what was needed, as a start. Better a visionary who talks than a nincompoop who acts.
By awarding Obama the prize, the Nobel committee has not only honored one who has already made a fundamental difference. It showed it had the vision to support the man whose leadership is the most hope-giving around.
M.M. VAN ZUIDEN
Sad lack of trust
Sir, - In "Forget the inquiries - lift the blockade" (October 15) Larry Derfner notes that 94 percent of the public supported the Gaza war. This means that, at best, his views represent those of 6% of the public. In all the years I have lived in this country, I cannot think of any issue that has had such an overwhelming approval rating.
The saddest part of Mr. Derfner's op-ed is his total lack of trust in Israel's ability to make a case for its intrusion into Gaza and the way it handled the military operation. He finds it much easier to accept the Goldstone findings as if every word of that damning report were etched in stone - a preconceived judgment representing the views of the most radical elements in the modern world, elements which dominates the UN.
It is one of the reasons Israel has been hesitant in putting forward its defense. For how can you deal with a jury that has already reached a verdict?
Failed, and failed again
Sir, - Among its many defects, the Goldstone Report creates the false impression that Israel alone is blockading Gaza - omitting the highly relevant fact that Egypt too is blockading the Hamas-controlled area. Only Israel is condemned. Egypt's role is ignored.
Irresponsibly, the report fails to examine not only the reasons for the blockade, it also omits mention of Israel's continuing to supply electricity, water, food and medicines to what is virtually an enemy state - and ignores the absurdity of Hamas's denying Israel's right to exist while simultaneously demanding that Israel continue sending those supplies.
Ahmed Yousef, deputy foreign minister in Gaza's Hamas government, says no law can force the Palestinians to recognize Israel.
Phew, so exhausting!
Sir, -"No right to exhaustion," (Elsewhere, October 15), Daniel Gordis's response to Jay Michaelson's lament of the previous day ("How I'm losing my love for Israel") might have been more sympathetic to how difficult it is for Michaelson to support Israel now (Michaelson: "In my social circles, supporting Israel is like supporting segregation, apartheid, or worse").
The dictionary defines exhaustion as extreme weakness or fatigue. Hopefully, Michaelson et al will muster sufficient strength to go on sipping their cocktails and downing their canapes as they agonize about us.
Coping with cancer
Sir, - "Israeli cancer survival rate high, but 'mortality can still be cut in half'" (October 14) cited important data collected by the Israel Cancer Society.
The article stressed the psychological toll that cancer takes on patients and family members, with more than half indicating that the "emotional and practical struggles with the disease were sometimes more difficult than the medical treatment."
Recently, the Journal of Clinical Oncology published the results of a seminal study conducted jointly by investigators at Brandeis University and the University of British Columbia, providing scientific evidence of unfavorable changes in neurohumoral and inflammatory processes among caregivers who accompany cancer patients receiving radiation treatment for brain tumors.
Life's Door-Tishkofet, (www.tishkofet.co.il), a non-profit organization with programs throughout Israel, emphasizes caring for patients and family members, in particular spouses, as an essential component of managing illness. Our support groups and Partners for Life Couples Retreats offer coping skills which dramatically alter the course of facing illness.
BENJAMIN W. CORN, M.D.