January 23, 2019: Small coffin, large message

Readers of 'The Jerusalem Post' have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Small coffin, large message
Regarding “‘God knows your names’” (January 21), having made aliyah in 2016, I knew there would be one thing I would miss from living in London. With both my parents buried at Bushey Cemetery, I was aware that my ability to visit whenever I wish would be curtailed.
However, this news that a small coffin holding the remains of six Holocaust victims from Auschwitz Birkenau has now been interred at Bushey was extremely poignant to me, as it must have been to all those that attended the ceremony.
I am sure this event holds significant meaning for many and given my own personal link to these burial grounds, it is an added reminder to us all of those that suffered in their innocence at the hands of that heinous regime.
As time goes by, there is the danger that this most horrendous period for our people will become just a footnote in the history of the Second World War. Therefore, this much belated interment will relay a significant message, declaring how and by whom six million Jews were murdered and that this fact must never be forgotten.
Tel Aviv
On Sunday, January 20, I attended the funeral for six Holocaust victims - their ashes and bone fragments having been stored in the Imperial War Museum in London for many years. Somehow it had been possible to identify they were five adults and a child and that they were Jewish.
Nothing else was known about their identities. They were brought to proper burial in a single small coffin (not six coffins) in a most dignified manner.
I hope that one day it will be possible to accord the same respect to the many Holocaust victims who perished in Budapest along the banks of the Danube, and in its waters.
Bushey UK
Tough Knut
It is unfortunate that the Ra’anana Symphonette, which is presenting the history of Betty Knut, who died at age 38, a performance that reporter Sarah Hershenson describes as one that “made her story come alive” (“In the footsteps of Betty Knut”, January 21), seems to have failed to include her activity as a courageous member of the Fighter for the Freedom of Israel group, the Lehi pre-state underground. All that is noted is that she was “a war correspondent during WWII as a member of the French underground” and her that she was a “doyenne of the arts in Paris and in the early days of the State of Israel.” The closest the biographical details come to her connection to the Lehi is that she “worked for the establishment of the State of Israel.”
Much of importance is left out. For example, she planted a bomb in the British Colonial Office on April 15, 1947 and assisted in the preparation of envelopes of explosives that were mailed from France and Belgium to British officials. One additional contribution of Knut was mobilizing Kariel Gardosh to become a caricaturist for Lehi publications. After immigrating to Israel, he became known as Dosh, Israel’s most famous political cartoonist.
Really prevent breast cancer
As president of Jewish Veg, formerly Jewish Vegetarians of North America, and author of three editions of the book Judaism and Vegetarianism, I was disappointed and saddened in reading “Preventing breast cancer just got easier” (January 20).
The article discusses using a combination of three drugs that “for women of average risk of breast cancer, the harms of the drugs clearly outweigh the benefits,” because they come “with the possibility of serious side effects, including blood clots and a higher likelihood of uterine or endometrial cancer.”
What makes the possible use of these risky drugs even more shameful is that there is a far less dangerous way that women can sharply reduce their risks of getting breast cancer at a time when over 4,000 Israeli women will be diagnosed with this deadly disease every year.
Many studies have shown a strong connection between the consumption of meat and other animal products and breast cancer and other life-threatening diseases. In his book Save Yourself from Breast Cancer, long-time breast cancer surgeon Robert M. Kradjian, M.D., analyzes many peer-reviewed medical reports and concludes that, “diet is the primary genesis of breast cancer.”
Unlike the case with the three drugs, shifts from animal-based diets have positive side effects – including reduced risks for heart disease and other life-threatening diseases, reduced mistreatment of animals and less damage to the environment.
Since the preservation of human life is such an important mitzvah, it is urgent that the Israeli medical profession urge shifts to well-balanced plant-based diets.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Avoidable death
Regarding “Four years after US student died on desert hike, tour guide speaks out” (January 17), Josh Ettinger’s justifications for the tragedy that happened under his watch are sad to read. While it must be difficult for him to accept his role in Ariel Newman’s death, it is impossible for any reasonable person to believe that what occurred could not have been prevented.
The facts are straightforward: the hike occurred under extreme weather conditions that were prohibitive; the boys were in Israel for only a week and were still not acclimated to the time zone or climate; Ettinger defied a statement on the Ministry of Education website that said that the hike should not be conducted in the summer time, should take eight to 10 hours to complete and should be made only by those with intermediate to expert hiking experience; the boys were not given any training to accustom them to rigorous hiking; the boys were pushed to complete the hike in a fraction of the time it should have taken; and most importantly, witnesses reported that Ariel cried out to Ettinger that he could not go on given the heat.
Had Ariel been allowed to take refuge in the accompanying air conditioned vehicle, he might still be alive today. Although some witnesses might not have heard Ariel or noticed his condition, it defies belief to imagine that Ariel did not look sick and did not ask to leave the hike when in fact, he was sick enough to die.
The article about the death of Ariel Newman, recounted from the perspective of Mr. Josh Ettinger, who served as the hike leader that day, has several claims that any medical expert trained in death due to exertion in the heat would contest.
The assumption that the syncope or fainting experienced previously by Newman and his mother years earlier are related to heat illness or some genetic predisposition is not supported by any medical mechanism or research. Furthermore, the suggestion by the hike guide that there was “no way to know for sure the cause of death” is grossly inaccurate based on the reported 43°C body temperature at the hospital and the circumstances in which the death took place.
Had the writer sought out comments from heat-related sudden death experts, they would have quickly understood that Newman did suffer from exertional heatstroke (EHS) that day and that his death was 100% preventable had proper precautions been in place. EHS occurs when one’s body temperature exceeds 40.5°C and the individual also demonstrates signs of mental status changes during exercise. EHS is a medical emergency, but death from EHS has been shown to be 100% preventable when proper precautions and treatment are in place.
In the case of Newman, there are several pieces of information that would suggest that he could still be living today. Given the environmental conditions the day before (36.6°C) and the day of (36.5°C) his death hike in the Judean Desert, the intensity of the exercise on Day 2 (eight to 10 hour ~16 km. hike on a rapid pace to complete in just six hours), and the lack of physical fitness and the heat acclimatization status of Newman, it is clear that these factors overwhelmed his ability to cool, resulting in his medical evaluation via helicopter and core body temperature confirmed at the hospital of 43°C. This body temperature, the context of the case and the fact that he died, confirm EHS was the cause of death, which was agreed upon and confirmed by the medical examiner.
While it appears that Mr. Ettinger did all he could given his IDF training from the treatment side of things by summoning a medical evacuation once he noticed Ariel was suffering from a medical emergency, the opposite can be said for what was done to cause the EHS. Little, if nothing, was done in this case to prevent Newman’s EHS.
It is unfortunate that the article so dramatically misinformed the public about the current best practices regarding the scientific and medical knowledge related to EHS. This misinformation could jeopardize many future lives.
Regarding your article about the death of Ariel Newman, the article is not accurate at all. I have been following this case from the outset and am aware that your article misses the truth by a mile. Nowhere did you give the Newman family a chance to comment and correct the record. Doesn’t good journalism demand that all sides of an issue deserve a voice? In the interest of fairness, I hope you will now publish another story from the Newmans’ point of view to balance the slant of this published piece.
New York
What we’re waiting for
Regarding “Gedera beckons” (January 20), Gil Zohar’s piece about the “cute as a button” tour of Gedera, with the sounds of birds chirping, nearly had me in my car to hurry to the new boutique hotel – until the parentheses.
That made me very sad. How does Zohar ask at the end of his ode to the Lear Sense Hotel “With an invitation like that what are you waiting for?” Is he serious? Go back to the parentheses.
“But it’s taste that makes the Lear Sense worth a visit. Chef Asaf Stern’s Aberto Restaurant” – here come the parentheses – “(non-kosher).” That’s why I and many others will simply have to pass up the Lear “No-Sense” Hotel. We will simply have to make do with the King David, the Inbal, the Leonardo Plaza and other places that serve only kosher food. I’d rather go to Kibbutz Chofets Chaim just up the road from the Lear.
In a word, it is absolutely shameful in our day and age to serve non-kosher food in our country.
Tell the chef that I am not coming. The Biluim would not eat at your hotel.
You are all heroes
Today while visiting Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, my handbag was stolen out of my backpack while I was waiting at a road intersection to cross.
Within minutes, a wonderful citizen of humanity had observed three people rifling through my handbag and contacted the police. A successful chase ensued and my handbag was returned to me.
I’d like to profusely the person who acted so quickly to contact the police and the amazing service towards me shown by the Israeli Police in Tel Aviv.
You are all heroes.
New Zealand Educator
Speaking of cold and snow
Regarding Professor Horowitz’s letter (“It’s not cold here,” January 21), and the totally insane and illogical paralysis with which the population of Jerusalem is gripped whenever a light dusting of snow appears – paralyzing public transport and much else – I am reminded of a tale of a bright but cheeky 10-year-old in Soviet Russia during a particularly hard winter with snow and ice on the ground.
The boy arrived two hours late and the teacher demanded an explanation. The boy responded, “I progressed like Papa Lenin: one step forward three steps backward.”
The teacher pounced on this with, “So how did you get to school, then?”
“I went home,” replied the cheeky chap.
Baka, Jerusalem
Only when convenient to him
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad defends his country’s ban on Israeli athletes entering the country (“Malaysian PM says ban of Israeli athletes is not antisemitism,” January 20) by noting, “A country has a right to keep its borders closed to certain people; that is why borders are there.”
One wonders if his attitude was so sanguine towards Donald Trump’s travel bans, which were mostly on citizens from Muslim-majority countries.