Letters to the editor, December 30

Travel warning Sir, - I feel grave concern at what seems to me to be a very possible outcome resulting from the presence of a group of Israeli Jews, regardless of origin, in Iraq at this time ("'Roots' trip planned for Israel's Iraqi Jews," December 28). In light of the many recent kidnappings of foreigners there, and their subsequently being murdered, a group of Israeli tourists in Iraq would not only be placing itself in danger, but Israel as well. The group could well become a highly sought after prize by Iraqi insurgents. After all, it is common knowledge that Israel will pay almost any price for the safe return of its citizens held by hostile forces in other lands. I do hope our government will prevent these would-be tourists from making such a journey until it is deemed safe to travel to Iraq. If that is never, then so be it. IRENE BERMAN Shoham Dichter's 'wisdom' Sir, - Avi Dichter, in announcing his candidacy with Kadima, said that since disengagement, "The downturn in terrorist attacks has been dramatic" ("Dichter: Only Sharon can effect change," December 29). Which actually means that if a defined area is emptied of Jews, it becomes difficult to murder Jews in that area. He goes on to let us know that rockets are the only option the terrorists have left to strike at Israel. So all they can do is destroy apartment buildings and the families inside them in Ashkelon (for now). And this wisdom comes from Israel's former Shin Bet director and our possible future defense minister. Oh, yes, Israel is moving Kadima. YEHUDA OPPENHEIM Jerusalem Nomadic development Sir, - Heartfelt thanks to the Zionist Council of Israel for its wise opposition to expanding Jerusalem westward ("Jerusalem study: City must expand to East, not West," December 28). It has been a source of grief to many veteran Jerusalemites to see, over the years, the neglect of the city's center and the exploitation of the surrounding natural green areas. The short-sighted values that espouse development to the West resemble nothing so much as the abandoning a used up patch in the forest in order to move on to the next promising location. There are too many residents who do not think beyond their own four walls. HELEN LEVENSTON Jerusalem Tech-No! Sir, - Many thanks to Larry Derfner for the truth about modern technology ("The hard way," December 29). For years now when buying any appliance we have asked for the simplest version, knowing that we are still paying for many superfluous extras. The mobile phone companies keep offering to "upgrade" our telephones, an offer we politely decline. As for call routing, we have discovered that sometimes (only sometimes) pressing "zero" can actually put you through to a person, although only after going through about five minutes of unnecessary rigmarole. Despite complaints, companies like Bezeq, Visa and Hot have not made their call routing any more efficient. SALLIE TANGIR Tel Mond Sir, - I wonder if Larry Derfner has also come up against the practice: "It's not worth repairing, buy a new one"? After my scanner recently broke down, and having bought a new combined machine, I now have in my house two printers, two photocopiers, two faxes, three electric kettles, two toasters, six telephones and two coffee makers. Help! BERNARD STEINFELD Herzliya