August 14: That's rich!

Saying that someone who wants to be rich, or who is wealthy, is lonely and lives a depraved life is a ridiculous assertion.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
That's rich! Sir, - Shmuley Boteach has once again written a nonsensical article, asserting that someone who wants to be rich, or who is wealthy, is lonely and lives a depraved life ("So you want to be rich?" August 13). Money is not the only thing in the world, nor the most important. But to one who can't make ends meet, there aren't too many problems in life that money won't solve. MATTHEW BERMAN Herzliya Womanizers & 'man-izers' Sir, - In "The myth, the math, the sex" (New York Times supplement, August 13) the mathematicians omitted two factors from the High School Prom Theorem: 1. "The Wallflower" and 2. "Cutting In." The dance cards of the Wallflowers are blank, and the cards of the most popular girls would show only one partner per dance. Math would compute that there were "x" number of dancers and "y" number of couples for each dance, ergo - parity. As in the formula for computing the per-head level of the national debt, one arrives at a figure, certainly accurate, but which does not reflect the actual difference in the financial situation between the "haves" and the "have-nots" of the particular country. In any case, the use of the high school prom as a paradigm does not reflect the current picture. The high school prom is patently outdated, and common sense says that the significant change in sexual mores indicates that the number of "man-izers" is constantly approaching the number of womanizers. MIRIAM L. GAVARIN Jerusalem Reckless drivers are murderers Sir, - Reckless driving resulting in death and maiming should be classified to the same degree as murder, whether premeditated or not, and the perpetrators should receive comparable punishment. Potential killers who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and are apprehended should serve a prison sentence and have their licenses withdrawn. The only deterrent to bestial road conduct is a harsh penalty and no remission. Speed cameras should be placed at all vantage points ("Police launches yet another new program to curb wild drivers," August 13). JOEL JOSEPH Essex New low for the BBC Sir, - The BBC's on-line news reached a new low on August 10, when it headlined its dispatch "Palestinian killed in Jerusalem." Meanwhile, the story dealt with the fact that a would-be terrorist shot a security guard and was himself shot to death ("Israeli Arab killed after stealing gun and shooting Ateret Cohanim guard," August 12). The BBC played it like a hapless, innocent Palestinian was done wrong. Some hapless, some innocent. If the BBC doesn't honor the idea of news objectivity, why are its journalists granted Israeli press credentials? VALERIE PRINTEMPS Washington Breaking barriers Sir, - In the caption to "Security barrier riot" (Photo, August 12) you referred to Friday's demonstration in Bil'in as "violent," clearly implying that protesters confronted the Israeli border police with stones. Footage on the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Web site clearly shows that in fact it was the Israeli border police who threw tear gas before any young Palestinian threw a stone. The footage also shows that border police threw gas at protesters who were retreating. I think you should define what you mean when you characterize a demonstration as "violent," because it appears that you consider any action you disagree with to be worthy of misrepresentation. MOLLY SIMONS Ramallah Convoluted? You bet Sir, - It is surely symptomatic of the utter contempt the Palestinians harbor for Western governments and media that they initially blamed the transfer of "monies to Hamas security forces" on "a computer error," and this after solemn promises that the funds would not reach Hamas ("Donors beware," Editorial, August 11). And in face of the fact that Hamas perceives the Fatah government "to be lingering on borrowed time" and is poised to replicate the Gaza "putsch" in the West Bank, it is incomprehensible that Deputy Prime Minister Ramon would advise Ehud Olmert to rush into irrevocable final status negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas because Ramon too has serious doubts that Abbas can survive politically for much longer. What convoluted thinking and reasoning are shaping the policies of the Israeli government? FAY DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey Rwanda and Jews Sir, - In "Lessons from Rwanda, the Israel of Africa" (August 9): David Kimche argued that Israel and Rwanda have had similar experiences of genocide and each can learn valuable lessons from the other. He also noted some of the ways in which Israelis have provided post-conflict assistance to Rwanda. Jews elsewhere in the world have also felt a close bond with Rwandans, and have sought to demonstrate their support. For example, some of the volunteers and donors working to build Rwanda's first public library, the Kigali Public Library (, are American Jews. We became involved because of the visceral reaction we had to the 1994 genocide, and the kinship we feel with Rwandans. It is particularly incumbent upon Jews, because of our experience in the Holocaust, to identify with and support victims of genocide in any way we can, whether in Rwanda, Darfur or elsewhere. ZACHARY D. KAUFMAN San Francisco Sir, - When one makes a comparison, one must also be prepared to make distinctions. David Kimche suggested that the reconciliation between the Hutus and Tutsis of Rwanda can be replicated here. He failed to note that the Hutus and Tutsis expressed, in word and deed, their shared desire to live in peace. Here, despite the one-sided withdrawals and gestures of good will on Israel's part, the Arabs have never, in their behavior, demonstrated a desire to live in peace with Israel. Moreover, Rwanda is not threatened by its neighbors, while the Palestinians' allies threaten Israel with extinction. Worst of all, the Rwandan model that Kimche presents is "one state for two peoples." Is that his recommendation for us as well? ZVI STONE Jerusalem Owed to survivors Sir, - My amazement segued into outrage and anger when I read the reports of Holocaust survivors in the Land of Israel living in destitution. How could this have been allowed to happen? These people should be treasured and esteemed, their comfort and well-being guaranteed for the rest of their lives. In my judgment, one factor responsible for this is that Israel's present-day political leaders have become too political, allowing themselves, to a great extent, to be distracted from first principles of ethics, goodness and moral responsibility. In other words, they have become ordinary politicians, as exist everywhere. The treatment of Holocaust survivors is a stark example of what can result when this happens. I hope and pray that this disgraceful situation is corrected speedily, and that the pensions, etc., paid to these people are made retroactive. There should also be sufficient grace for apologies to be offered ("Olmert presses for agreement with Holocaust survivors in 10 days," August 9). C. ALEXANDER BROWN Rockcliffe Park, Ontario