February 1: Turkey must learn to share

The only effective answer is regional cooperation, barring of course Turkey behaving in a reasonable manner and treating the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers as regional water sources.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Turkey must learn to share
Sir, – The January 29 article “Netafim opens a new factory... in Turkey” by Ehud Zion Waldoks, recounting an Israeli company’s success in developing a factory to produce more efficient drip irrigation systems for agricultural use, was excellent for as far as it went.
In recounting the recent history of reduced water flow in the two most important Middle East water sources originating in Turkey, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, Mr. Waldoks failed to even mention the heavy Turkish damming of these two rivers, and the diversion of large amounts of their water to local Turkish use. This arbitrary Turkish water diversion, largely carried out with no consultation with other states which depend on these two water sources – such as Israel – has had the net effect of leaving the rest of the Middle East high and dry.
While many of us are glad to see this company succeed, all the water efficiency in the world will do nothing to ease the present Middle East water shortage or prevent it from worsening.
The only effective answer is regional cooperation, barring of course Turkey behaving in a reasonable manner and treating the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers as the regional water sources they are, and not private property of Turkey.

    Kiryat Arba
Goodwill gestures can only do so much
Sir, – I take issue with the first paragraph of Isi Leiber’s op-ed “Ending the illusion of peace in our time” (January 28), where he states that we need to convince ourselves that our neighbors would commit to peaceful coexistance so that we will finally be capable of making major sacrifices.
Yitzhak Rabin was convinced, Ariel Sharon was convinced, Ehud Olmert was convinced, and all either made or were prepared to make painful sacrifices.
All the concessions – painful or otherwise – have produced nothing. All the gestures to bolster the reputation and standing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have made his stance more obdurate, not less.
President Barack Obama’s efforts to influence the rest of the Arab world have been a dismal failure, and yet he continues through his various envoys to pressure Israel to give, give, give.
The time for gestures is long gone. Israel should take a firm stance in its own interests, and every rocket attack launched against its southern communities should result in our border towns being strengthened, not dismantled.
“If I am not for myself who will be for me!” – Rabbi Hillel.

Blame the enemy, not the friend
Sir, – The marvelous, and marvelously true, article by Seth Frantzman (“Who’s to blame?” January 27) can be applied to President Barack Obama. He entered the presidency and immediately transferred all guilt to America by going to speak in Cairo, extending the hand of negotiation to Iran, and making Washington responsible for internal American problems. 
Just as it is immoral to escape confession and self-criticism by individuals and nations, so is it equally immoral and misleading to assume guilt when innocence is the fact. Sometimes the enemy is responsible for his hatred and evil, without our instigation or cause of that hatred and evil.
We can add an Al Chet (mea culpa) to the Yom Kippur list: Forgive us for assuming guilt when we are innocent.

Support for Hadassah is far from diminishing
Sir, – As a long-time reader of the Jerusalem Post, and as the National Treasurer of Hadassah, I felt I had to respond to the latest of the perplexing and unflattering articles and commentary by reporter Judy Siegel concerning our volunteer organization (“Hadassah board expresses regret over Prof. Mor-Yosef's departure,” January 12).
The announcement that Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef will not continue after his ten-year term as director general of our Hadassah Medical Organization, while not unexpected, has caused understandable regret by all who share our admiration and affection for him. The six director generals who preceded Professor Mor-Yosef held their positions for between two and thirty years.
We have accepted Professor Mor-Yosef’s letter of resignation, respecting his own often- repeated doctrine that mandated change in leadership every ten years. We, too, believe in change. In our own 98-year old organization, we elect a new national president every four years.
I’d like to remind readers that we have contributed more than $800 million dollars to the hospital in the nine years that Professor Mor-Yosef has been at the helm of HMO, far more than any other time in our history. And while it is certainly true that we are decreasing our financial contribution to the daily running of the hospital, anyone who has visited the campuses of our hospital has noticed the constant building we supported that marked the Mor-Yosef era. We have already started constructing the most ambitious and expensive project of our history – Professor Mor-Yosef’s dream and ours – the 14-story Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower.
Today’s estimated costs for the Tower have risen to $318 million dollars, not counting equipment. This is a challenging fundraising goal, particularly in a contracted world economy, but we have pledged to go ahead with it. Our 300,000 volunteers in America and throughout the world are working hard to raise this money, and the implication of diminishing support is both untrue and hurtful.
As for Hadassah’s future, I’ve had the pleasure of registering a 30% increase in the number of new, renewed or upgraded memberships during the fourth quarter of last year, compared to the same period one year earlier. In every generation, Jewish women endorse and support the vision and values of Hadassah with time and their own hard-earned money.
We continue to take great pride in the healing, research and teaching at Hadassah Hospital, and by helping to enable the light that comes from Zion.

    Hadassah National Treasurer

    New York, NY
Birthright Israel lasts well beyond Israel
Sir, –  I felt the article “Birthright Israel: Where’s the Follow-Up?” (January 3) really glossed over a lot of the good programming being done by Birthright NEXT-JEC that follows up on the Taglit-birthright trips. As I have experienced in New York City, there are programs every night of the week attracting many young professionals here in NY, as well as sponsored follow-up trips to Israel and Europe. I have personally been involved in Birthright NEXT-JEC charity programs, educational programs, as well as Shabbat programs.
While I agree more can and should be done, I think the article largely overlooked the current follow-up programming that seeks to engage Taglit-birthright participants, as well as Jewish young professionals in general.

    New York, NY
Sir, – I respectfully have to disagree with the article  “Birthright Israel: Where’s the Follow-Up?” (January 3).
Granted, when I went on a Birthright Israel trip in college the point of the article may have been true, but for my cousin, who recently came back from a JEC (Jewish Enrichment Center) trip, things were different.
The JEC is Birthright Israel’s alumni outreach chapter in NYC. They offer a Bar/Bat Mitzvah program for people who have limited knowledge of Judaism, a follow-up Legacy class for graduates of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah program, and more advanced Legacy trips to Israel for young, Jewish adults eager to visit the country again.
On the advice of my cousin, I took advantage of their programs. Now I’m enrolled in the JEC-U classes which are follow-ups to the Legacy program, and I currently meet one-on-one weekly with two of the rabbis at the JEC to study torah and discuss Jewish life in NYC.
There is so much more that can be said, but the most importantthing to emphasize is that none of this would have been possiblewithout the JEC and their follow-up. Any young adult coming back from aBirthright trip who has a desire to continue learning and get involvedin the Jewish community has the ultimate organization to come home to.
I’m living proof of that.

    New York, NY