Letters: July 17, 2017

For years and years, over 300,000 devoted American Hadassah members have been raising funds almost solely for the hospital.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hadassah whitewash
In “Rescuing Hadassah” (Know Comment, July 14), David M. Weinberg does a brilliant whitewash of his good friend, Prof. Zeev Rotstein, director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization.
The problem is that he makes a complex problem sound so simple: Just bring in Mr. Fixit with the blessing of that moderate, clear-thinking buddy, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, bash everyone who disagrees with or challenges either man and voila, you’ll “rescue” Hadassah.
Sorry. That’s not how it works.
I’m an Israeli-American life-member of Hadassah, from four generations of life members.
For years and years, over 300,000 devoted American Hadassah members have been raising funds almost solely for the hospital. They built it. They furnished it. They gave it their loving devotion.
But according to Weinberg, “hubris and irresponsible management over the past two decades [drove] Hadassah into deep debt. The leadership of the organization apparently assumed that it could get away with hyper-deficits... which the government undoubtedly and inevitably would have to bail out.”
That is his side of the story and further justification for Rotstein riding in on his white horse and saber to cut away the dead wood.
Wrong! This was a case of pushing out one needy group in order to make much more money on another needy group: foreign medical tourists willing to pay huge sums for cancer care. Weinberg never mentions that turning the deficit around means doing it on the backs of nurses, doctors and other staff members who took big cuts in pay and agreed to work longer hours to help reduce costs.
If Rotstein got bad press, it’s because he deserved it. His arrogance, and Litzman’s veto of adding a hematology unit to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in order to protect his protegé, looked heartless and biased – because it was! Next time, please give us a fair analysis of what really happened.
Yes, Hadassah’s finances need major repairs and it seems that Prof. Zeev Rotstein is doing that.
However, nowhere does David M. Weinberg mention the children with cancer who have to be taken to hospitals in different parts of the country to get their treatment. Nowhere does he take Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman to task for forbidding Shaare Zedek Medical Center from creating a pediatric hemato-oncology unit, which it said it could in a few months.
It is these children and their families who are being punished.
Sadly, Mr. Weinberg misses the point.
Yes, sanity!
In 1950, the Gaza Strip’s population was about 240,000.
Today, 67 years later, it is listed at 2 million. This is more than an eight-fold increase! By contrast, during the same period, India’s population increased less than four times over. No wonder Gaza will soon be unlivable (“UN report: Gaza will be unlivable in three years,” July 12).
Nevertheless, the UN and other “distress” reports on Gaza never recommend or even suggest birth control. This is a measure of the value and veracity of their activities.
Family-planning education should urgently and effective be carried out. Also, there should be a plan of letting willing Gazans emigrate to Arab countries, which for the most part are vastly underpopulated.
Using the immense sums spent by both sides on wars in Gaza to fund such programs would bring great benefit – much more than building an island and other such fantasies.
Israel should actively promote such a plan. Gaza is exploding, but it is literary next to us.
It is not hard to spread this message there. It will provide them with hope and some sanity.
Yes, sanity – even in the Middle East!
Rabbis’ blacklist
With regard to “Rabbinate blacklists 160 rabbis in Diaspora” (July 10), one starts reading a newspaper article with a certain amount of detachment.
How does this affect me; am I involved in this event? Suddenly, the general becomes specific and the number 160 becomes unimportant because the reader identifies one of the names.
How can it be? This same God-fearing, soft-spoken person who for six months visited my sick father in the hospital each week and stood by my siblings during his last days, who hosted them during holidays and on Shabbat – he is now on some blacklist.
Tisha Be’Av is approaching.
During this day, we are told to sit on the floor as a sign of mourning. The members of the Chief Rabbinate involved in this matter should not only sit on the floor, but also under a table and behind a black cloth, hiding their faces in shame.
Your report and the subsequent furor in your letters section is based on a misinterpretation of the document.
It was obviously a document compiled by some clerk, of persons who had in the past been given as references to verify Jewish identity but were found on investigation not to be suitably qualified. Its purpose was to expedite future applications by obviating the need to reinvestigate them. Since most of those listed were clergymen associated with the Reform and Conservative movements, they were not rabbis.
Both movements have made fundamental changes in theology and practice, so their “rabbis” are automatically disqualified.
They are “streams” within Judaism only if any religion espoused by anyone claiming to be Jewish is a form of Judaism.
Once one accepts the concept of equally acceptable Jewish denominations, it becomes impossible to draw a line to allow some and exclude others.
By all means, let them register themselves as religions under Israeli law – but not as Judaism.
This is the only “pluralism” that could possibly be acceptable.
Salford, UK
Seeking justice
All one’s working life, one pays a percentage of his or her salary to the National Insurance Institute (NII). The better your salary, the happier the NII is to take more of your money. However, when it comes to payback time, it is a completely different story – the NII starts using your good income against you.
I am a 92-year-old, handicapped Holocaust survivor who worked for a national institution in a leading position. Having made a very good salary, I have a fair pension. The NII uses my basic pension to calculate some imaginary figure as the maximum for my old-age benefit.
I need a full-time caregiver, but because my basic pension taken together with the monthly NII benefit due me is slightly above this imaginary figure, the NII has cut my benefit by half, so instead of the 18 hours per week of assistance I am entitled to, it gives me only nine. What is even worse, it makes me fill out a monthly form that it knows is not true! His excellency Moshe Kahlon, our minister of finance, claims he is social-minded. Let him prove it by ensuring the proper treatment of aged and handicapped Holocaust survivors.
And they claim that this a Jewish state whose motto should be Tzedek, tzedek tirdoff – Justice, justice, thou shalt pursue!
The caption for the photo accompanying “What remains of the religious status quo?” (Observations, July 14) should have described the ultra-Orthodox Jews as protesting against the state for requiring members of their community to present themselves at IDF enlistment offices in order to register for exemptions from military service.