August 30, 2017: Get tough on Hamas

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Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Get tough on Hamas
Regarding “Goldin’s father: Lieberman is ‘weak, a coward’” (August 28), I agree partially that in regard to recovering our soldiers’ bodies, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and our government – especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – are weak. They and others have been that way since we started to negotiate with terrorists for the return of our soldiers, dead or alive.
Our government needs to change the rules, starting with no more family visitations for Hamas members in Israeli prisons, and no TV or newspapers. If they start a hunger strike, let them meet Allah. Maybe, just maybe, regardless of outside pressure from the EU, US and leftist NGOs, they will get the message.
Kiryat Motzkin
Those smartphones!
I agree with everything Susan Hattis Rolef has to say in “Smartphone blues” (Think About It, August 28), and I, too, am staying with my little museum-piece flip-top. I dread the day the battery dies!
Smartphones are like extensions of peoples’ hands and are never put away. Even at sporting venues, one sees spectators on their phones, which makes it seem pointless to go to games.
The addiction to these devices is beyond belief, and the anti-social outcomes are serious. Human beings are programmed to interact with each other, but it now appears to be an easier option not to bother.
Kfar Saba
Cohn’s contortions
In “Neo-Nazis ‘won’t cause this Jew to leave,’ Cohn says” (August 27), you quote the most senior Jewish staffer in the Trump administration, Gary Cohn, declaring: “As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.” You also report on him speaking of his distress and saying that the administration “must... do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities.”
With reference to “US Jewish organizations call pardon of Arpaio ‘shameful’ and ‘inexcusable’” (August 28), it would seem the depths of Mr. Cohn’s upset are rather shallow and specific, for when President Donald Trump subsequently pardoned a former sheriff convicted of criminal contempt related to widespread illegal actions against the Hispanic community, Mr. Cohn didn’t say one word. This shows his Jewishness is the weakest variety, as it lacks empathy for non-Jews who in this instance were illegally rounded up – an activity celebrated by Trump.
In addition to responding to the rants of marginalized neo-Nazi imbeciles, I wish Mr. Cohn would dive deeper into his Jewish identity and pay heed to his conscience and the foul deeds of the American president.
New York
Damaged goods
The clear implication of Caroline B. Glick’s “Netanyahu’s empathy for Trump” (Column One, August 25) is that just as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was badly treated, especially in his first term, so, too, US President Donald Trump is being unreasonably mistreated by his own opposition.
The problem is that Trump’s critics cross all political lines, and for good reason. These critics do not follow a liberal-conservative divide – all one has to do is have a peek at Commentary, The National Review, The Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal to see how conservative writers find much to criticize about our president.
Netanyahu has his faults and his good qualities, and he may well have been undeserving of what was heaped upon him. But the analogy does not hold. America’s current president is damaged goods.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Some perspective
Along with civility, dialogue and proportion, another civic virtue that is in precipitous decline is perspective. The amount of ink expended on the Charlottesville, Virginia, confrontation would sink a battleship. There is no dialogue and no sense of proportion, and certainly the various perspectives are seriously and, in many cases, intentionally warped.
It should be understood that the initial demonstration of modern US politics as blood-sport did not take place in Charlottesville, but on a baseball diamond in Washington, where a would-be assassin of the alt-left tried to kill Republican congressmen and staffers. Outrage on the Left was curiously muted. Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader, even blamed Republicans “for creating the atmosphere in which such things can happen.”
As for Charlottesville, nothing I say should be taken for support of white supremacists, the KKK, neo-Nazis or antisemites. (As for the barbarian who rammed into people with a vehicle, he should be imprisoned for life without parole or, preferably, executed.) Yet they had a license to demonstrate.
Their opponents did not. In other words, the demonstrators were there legally and the counter-demonstrators were not. Both sides were armed, defensively and offensively, as confirmed by the ACLU, which had helped the demonstrators to obtain their license. The counter- demonstrators charged the demonstrators, not vice-versa, as captured on video.
In light of the above, what President Donald Trump said was accurate, although the way he said it was inappropriate. Indeed, both sides – the alt-right and the alt-left, and the way they behave on the streets, in the halls of academia and elsewhere – should be condemned.
But please note: They should not be silenced! If they demonstrate legally and peacefully (as the demonstrators did in Charlottesville until attacked), they must be allowed to do so. It is in the US Constitution. Check it out.
Robotic dedication
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich’s article on hospital accreditation by Joint Commission International (“A gold seal of recognition,” Health, August 27) provides only one side of the picture.
I write as a senior member of the staff at a public hospital that completed the Joint Commission International (JCI) process with distinction. The process took almost two years and cost millions of shekels. It included hundreds of hours of meetings and on-site assessments; the writing and checking of hundreds of documents, reports and feedback messages, as well as oceans of statistics; and the production of endless plans, presentations and portfolios.
Our senior doctors estimate that between a quarter and third of their time was – and continues to be – taken up with the governance and bureaucracy generated by JCI, all of this at the expense of time available for patient care, teaching and research. The frustration is increased by the fact that the JCI mantra “quality and safety” is checked only by processes, not outcomes.
No additional resources were allocated to deal with this extra work, which simply added extra burdens to already overstretched staff.
The standards imposed on Israeli institutions are based on US standards and are frequently irrelevant (e.g., insurance issues). Most notably, JCI does not at all look at issues that are at the heart of safety and quality, such as budgets, staffing levels, physician shortages, low morale, burnout and the quality of professional work. It is all about robotic dedication to following reams of written rules that are often inflexible and inappropriate.
Is there evidence that patient satisfaction and outcomes are improved as a result of this massive and expensive effort? The literature is conflicting and there is no clear evidence of a significant benefit, even in the US. As Ms. Siegel-Itzkovich herself writes, there has been no reduction in malpractice suits after JCI.
One must ask: Why can’t our Health Ministry have its own accreditation process?
The writer is a physician and hospital department chair.