Spurious claimsSir, – In “Disturbing omission” (Letters, January 9) two readers responding to Linda Gradstein’s article about Hand in Hand schools (“Shalom, Salaam, Peace,” Cover, December 26) falsely accuse the writer of omitting information about a school ceremony in memory of Yasser Arafat. She could not have written about this, because no such event or anything resembling it took place.Hand in Hand schools are public schools recognized, supported and supervised by the Education Ministry. They utilize standard state curriculum and in Jerusalem, work closely with the municipality’s Education Authority.We are aware of objections to integrated education in Israel. We prefer to engage in debate based on facts, and not on spurious claims.SHULI DICHTER\Ma’anit The writer is CEO of Hand in Hand. Search for honestySir, – “That Diogenes feeling” (Grumpy Old Man, January 2) was a most gratifying, well-written personal account of the nagging question that persists not only for Lawrence Rifkin, but for the rest of us.Who in a position of power can you trust these days? “Not presidents or prime ministers, cabinet ministers or lawmakers, mayors or municipal officials, bank chairmen or burial society chairmen, and sometimes even butchers, bakers or candlestick makers.” They have made “suckers” of us all, and continue to do so.I agree. It is high time we went on a serious treasure hunt for more honest men and women we can trust with the powers they hold over us.ZIPPORAH PORATHGanei Tikva Sir, – I agree wholeheartedly with Lawrence Rifkin’s concluding statements regarding lack of trust. To his extensive list one could add religious and communal officials, elected or otherwise, as well as tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, building contractors and even the State Comptroller’s Office staff. What is missing in today’s society in Israel is honesty and integrity, and respect for those of us who actually “do know better” and should not be treated as if we just got off the boat. That is why when Antitrust Authority head David Gilo made a 180-degree turn with regard to the Leviathan and Tamar offshore gas and oil fields, he damaged the integrity of the country in international eyes with regard to our ability to keep agreements.It is time the country called on the enormous wealth of talent brought by olim with decades of professional experience in the engineering fields, international commercial agreements and the like that was gained in the developed world, rather than telling these chemical, oil and gas professionals that the home-grown talent knows better than all your decades of experience.Lest it be forgotten, at the beginning of the 1990s the collapsed USSR oil and gas industry was rescued and resuscitated only by the efforts of major Western international engineering contractors. The collapse was caused by the incompetence of some of the local professionals, some of whom found their way to Israel! COLIN L. LECI Jerusalem Sir, – After more than 50 years in this country, I am surprised by Lawrence Rifkin’s sense of innocence.My friend’s daughter (and daughter’s friend) is a lawyer. She took a job in a law office in a neighboring town. Her boss, of course a lawyer, proposed himself as a candidate for the post of mayor in the upcoming elections. One afternoon, three armed men entered the office and informed her boss that he had 24 hours to withdraw; otherwise, he would be shot the next day and his house burned down together with his wife and children.My daughter-in-law’s mother worked for Na’amat [women’s movement]. One day, staff members were gathered and told they must make a contribution or they would lose their jobs. They paid. Then they were informed they were now members of the Labor Party. They were driven to a building where primaries were being held, given an envelope, told they could now vote and that inside the envelopes was a list of names for which they should vote.As they say, a nation gets the police and government it deserves.MIRIAM VILNERSavyon Write to: email@example.com Only a selection of letters can be published. Priority goes to those that are brief and topical. Letters may be edited, and must bear the name and address of the writer.