Letters to the editor, June 6

Power to the peoplePost modern Sir, - How wonderful that the postal system is adding more options to what it already offers ("Transformed company overhauls postal service," May 28). From the long lines and long waits to accomplish just the most basic tasks, there are now to be more tasks for the already overworked and understaffed post offices, and even longer lines and waits for the rest of us. How nice if the company could first get its house in order and ensure that mail arrives within a reasonable time without getting lost or returned to the sender for no apparent reason: in other words, do what an efficient postal system is meant to do. ELAINE SARID Jerusalem The one that got away,/b> Sir, - When I turned on Ehud Olmert's live press conference in Sharm e-Sheikh Sunday night and heard my prime minister saying somberly in Hebrew that a terrible, regrettable incident had occurred and it would be thoroughly investigated, I got scared that something disastrous had happened to Israelis. When I realized that he was referring to the IDF's killing of two Egyptian policeman who infiltrated Israel and "opened fire at a nearby Israeli tank crew" ("IDF probes 'strange' shoot-out on Sinai border," June 4), I was relieved that nothing tragic had happened to Jews, but was confused. Why will our prime minister investigate this incident? What should our soldiers have done - stood there to be shot at for the sake of Olmert's relationship with Hosni Mubarak? Then I got it. He wants to investigate how the third armed Egyptian attacker got away! KALMAN FEDER Nof Ayalon Count your blessings... Sir, - Rebecca Weinberger bewails the promotion of homosexuality in Jerusalem's public space? ("Saying no to gay festival," Letters, May 31). I say to her: Count your blessings. The respected Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad recently reported the launching of a political party in the Netherlands to legalize pedophilia. The Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party advocates: cutting the legal age for sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrapping the limit altogether; private possession of child pornography; pornography broadcast on daytime television with only violent pornography limited to the late evening; sex education for toddlers; youths from age 16 appearing in pornographic films and allowed to prostitute themselves; sex with animals; going naked in public; legalizing all soft and hard drugs. They also believe in free train travel for all. These guys are serious. Makes a Jerusalem gay parade look like child's play, doesn't it? MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN Jerusalem ...and your kids Sir, - Rebecca Weinberger wrote "Jerusalem is a city that displays an unremitting belief in... the value of procreation." Another newspaper of the same date had an article about a nonprofit organization serving children in an ultra-orthodox neighborhood of the city. Volunteers go around kindergartens and elementary schools picking up some 70 youngsters and taking them back to a soup kitchen, where they eat their only hot meal of the day. Some children's teeth are decayed owing to calcium deficiency. We are all aware of poverty and hunger in this community. Many times, as a mother, I have asked: "Why do you produce so many children that you cannot support? How can you bear to see them going hungry? Ms. Weinberger proclaims that "homosexuals produce no children." So, presumably, the only people they harm are themselves. As far as the gay parade in Jerusalem is concerned, prejudice of any kind is anathema to me. MIRIAM LAHAV Jerusalem Sir, - Sexual activity, whether as practiced by the majority or not, belongs in a private place and parading it through the streets is in abominable taste. It should not be allowed, much less financed by taxpayers' money. The English word "gay" is a euphemism for sexual deviation and has nothing to do with a similar-sounding Hebrew word meaning "pride." HANNA ZLOTNICK Jerusalem How many miracles? Sir, - May I, please, have the last word about Opus Dei, which features prominently in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code? Of all the half-heard, half-read and half-understood scraps and bits of information hurled at us regarding this very secret and extremely wealthy Catholic organization, one important fact is missing: how many miracles, if any, have been attributed to its founder Josemaria Escriva, who was canonized by the Catholic Church. (For a person to be canonized there should be absolute proof of miracles.) Perhaps this also is a dark secret? ("The greatest story ever sold?" May 22.) On the same subject, the church should tell us how many miracles, if any, have been attributed to Mary Magdalene, who was also canonized, having been for many centuries considered by the church to be a woman of ill repute. LESLIE MICHAEL Coquitlam, British Columbia Sabbath disturbance Sir, - I have just returned from a holiday in Israel and had the most spectacular time. I found the energy and general spirit of the people intoxicating. Only one incident caused me slight displeasure. I was driving, on Saturday, through Jerusalem on a dual carriageway when some young haredi stoned my car. Surely they break more mitzvot by this action than I do by driving on the Sabbath? Nonetheless, I had a fantastic time and look forward to returning in the not too distant future. VICTOR CAMERON Hertfordshire, UK Safety concern Sir, - I recently visited Israel this past March and had a wonderful time touring Jerusalem, historic sites, the Hof Carmel region, the Golan Heights and, last but not least, Tel Aviv. While this was my very first visit, I do not expect it to be my last. Everyone was friendly and very accommodating. My real reason for writing is having observed your soldiers carrying arms while off duty. I have no problem with them doing so, but as a former military person I have a concern for their safety. In only one case did I see a soldier with a clip of ammunition taped to his weapon for easy access. It takes a number of seconds to retrieve a clip, load it into a weapon and then chamber a round under non-stressful conditions. Under stressful conditions it would take longer. I am concerned that members of the IDF could wind up dead or wounded because of their reaction time in responding to a terrorist. My suggestion is that they carry loaded clips in their weapons without a round in the chamber. It is easier to place a round in the chamber of your weapon than to have to load a clip from one's pockets. I would like to close by saying that my wife and I felt safer walking in Jerusalem after 10 p.m. than we do walking at home. JOE SMIGA Manchester, New Hampshire