December 11: On edge

Students' levels of science and maths have fallen precipitously, but just as important is the woeful ignorance of our youth of their Jewish heritage and culture.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
On edge Sir, - At first, I was frightened and shocked by "Jewish ignorance in Israel" (December 9). I asked myself why it jolted me to such an extent. We, the Israeli public, have known for some time that our education system was rapidly deteriorating. But what can we expect from an indifferent and highly unpopular prime minister, an inefficient Education Ministry and lack of funds - other than an unbelievable educational crisis, teetering on total disaster? Levels of science and maths have fallen precipitously, but just as important is the woeful ignorance of our youth of their Jewish heritage and culture, to our bitter shame and regret. No promising student will enter the teaching profession under such circumstances, and America will gladly absorb any brain drainage from our country, leaving our future economy denuded of vast resources. If the current teachers' strike is over the disgustingly low salaries and for a vastly improved educational system, then parents must immediately commence giving their wholehearted support to the teachers in their monumental struggle and involve themselves to a much greater extent in the education of their children. M.U. MILUNSKY Netanya Reward loyalty Sir, - The policy of rewarding non-Zionists and trying to lure back those Israelis who left Israel is rather stupid ("Israel Zionist Council blasts cabinet over program to bring back expatriates," December 10). The Israeli Zionist Council is perfectly right to be upset. To reward those who have left Israel and who have not shared in the terrible ordeals that Israel has undergone is to reward those who have distanced themselves from the nation. Israel cannot be marketed this way to former Israelis who have decided that they prefer a good life and who know they can come back whenever they want with no regrets. The good Zionists interested in Israel are those citizens who love the country enough to stay and help. The Israelis who left this country can come back on their own if they want to. No one stops them and everyone is glad to see them. However, it is immoral to bring them back through special incentives when the country treats so shabbily its teachers, Holocaust survivors, poor, disabled and its own soldiers. These groups of loyal Israelis deserve our special efforts, as opposed to those former Israelis who do not care about what goes on in the real Israel. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Flashing lights Sir, - The prime minister should have read The Jerusalem Post last week. He would have seen the red line that gets police attention: It seems you have to torch their cars. Getting police interested in any "regular" crime is impossible ("Prime Minister chides police for weak response to attacks against the elderly," December 10); the criminals know this and are emboldened. We would all be grateful if the prime minister - or anyone - could light a fire and get us police protection. Now is the perfect time for a new miracle of lights. SHARON ALTSHUL Jerusalem Scourges discourage Sir, - The rash of attacks on the elderly lately is a disgrace and should be stopped immediately. Many of these old people suffer from heart and lung problems and they're lucky to survive the brutality. The violent perpetrators should be severely punished. They should be flogged and thrown into jail for 15-20 years on charges of attempted murder. Plus, now our judges' and police's lives are being threatened. It's about time to bring back graded corporal punishment, from a light tap on the backside for a naughty three-year-old to the hangman's noose for first degree murder. IVAN MYERS Petah Tikva Easy way out Sir, - In "Livni: NATO role vital if we're to make substantial concessions" (December 9) our foreign minister is quoted as stating that "[a stronger Palestinian Authority] would fight terror instead of Israel." In spite of its rivalry with Hamas, the PA has shown no interest in fighting terror. Why would it do so, when it is so convenient for the PA to let Israel do the fighting? ALBERTO SOCOLOVSKY Ramat Gan Poor aim Sir, - Watching Saeb Erekat get his knickers in a twist over the concept of a Jewish state is quite amusing ("Fight with US looms over construction at Har Homa," December 9). It's a safe assumption that the PA negotiator has read a book or two. He must know the Jewish connection to Palestine and Jerusalem predates Christianity and Islam by thousands of years. He, I'm sure, is also aware the Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations Charter and Mandate and the UN Partition Plan speak unequivocally of two states - an Arab state and a Jewish state. He appears a fool when he overlooks the fact that more than 50 states constitutionally adopt a religious creed, including Islamic countries and the PA itself. So why his silly, tough guy act denouncing the very idea of a Jewish state? This seems another example of the PA shooting itself in the foot with the starting pistol. RAYMOND CANNON Netanya Missing morals Sir, - Recently, I went to a vigil in support of Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Schalit. Needless to say it was a sad event. I was surprised that the speakers referred to the kidnappers as "terrorists." The soldiers were abducted not just by terrorists, but by entire organizations. Hamas is part of the democratically elected Palestinian government; Hizbullah is a part of the Lebanese government and is supported by both Syria and Iran. They are behind the kidnapping of the soldiers, and are now playing their part in not returning them to Israel, thereby breaking international law and denying its validity. I learned at the vigil that the International Red Cross has been unable to determine the conditions of the soldiers. This causes great pain to their families, but more importantly it indicates a complete rejection of the Western values of loving-kindness, compassion, forgiveness and mercy. The aforementioned states' refusal to deal with the aftermath of the kidnappings raises the question of how the West can negotiate with countries and organizations that have rejected international law. Unfortunately the answer is that it is not possible, as they are not bound by our agreements because they are not bound by our moral code. JONATHAN USHER Toronto