February 14: Not our holiday

We should spend more time and money advertising Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Tu Be’av.

Striking views Sir, – I thought we were a democratic country until the general strike came upon us last week (“Strike ends as Histadrut, Treasury sign deal on contract workers,” February 13). It is frightening that one man, Ofer Eini, can use his power to bring our country to its knees.
It is time that our legislators change the law so that members of a union must vote if they wish to strike, and only if a majority agrees can it go forward.
Would it not be possible to also legislate for the leaders to show their solidarity with their members by forgoing their own remuneration for the period of the strike?
BOB GOLD Jerusalem
Sir, – I have lived in Israel for 40 years. This strike by the Histadrut was the first one I supported.
The number of contract workers should be reduced to a minimum, especially in the government.
Ofer Eini, you are great!
Sir, – I confess to exhibiting naiveté, but I fail to understand the support the public had for the general strike.
There is no doubt that contract workers are fully deserving of significant improvement in their working conditions. However, their plight has been present for decades, so why strike now? Moreover, why was their predicament not brought up for review in the Knesset? Did the left-wing parties attempt to obtain legislation in support of these people? Why has the general trade union been leading the fight for contract workers, who are not members of the Histadrut and in fact were not striking? The answer is clear: Ofer Eini’s actions were politically motivated and reflected his desire to become the hero of the working class and be reappointed to his present position.
In the meantime, the undoubted suffering of the general public was allowed to continue.
Sir, – Am I the only one to be perplexed as to how we can have a general strike by government employees when the group they were striking on behalf of, contract workers, did not participate at all? I would hazard a guess that in no other Western country would the law allow such a situation – there are restraints on collateral strikers, and certainly when those directly affected are not themselves on strike.
One is bound to ask why it never occurred to our prime minister or his coalition to promote legislation that would have prevented the circumstances of the strike. I would also hazard the comment that Prime Minister Netanyahu would enhance the prospect of major aliya from Western countries if Israel reformed its totally outmoded labor laws.
Help them now
Sir, – When is it moral for Jews to help non-Jews? I say now.
It is time for Israel to say enough and to roll in the tanks to stop the killing in Syria and bring down the dictators. It is time for Israel to grant refuge to Egyptian Copts.
It is also time for Israel to help Tibetans, who are being systematically destroyed by the People’s Republic of China. That Israel wants to sell products and services to China does not justify turning its back on them.
Yishai should go
Sir, – Interior Minister Eli Yishai claims he is being unfairly targeted because he is religious (“Yishai will not quit, change post over Carmel fire report,” February 12). He cannot be serious.
Yishai’s credibility as interior minister leaves much to be desired with regard to both the disastrous fire and immigration issues, where he empowers manpower agencies, manipulates and exploits migrant employees, and creates an “open door” policy that is clearly detrimental to both Israel and its foreign workers.
The fact that a lawsuit has been filed against a close relative for hiring an illegal migrant as a house cleaner (“Interior Minister’s sister sued for allegedly employing illegal migrant,” February 12) clearly indicates that his presence as interior minister is not viable.
Man of vision
Sir, – Your fine article “Bringing kin together” (Religious Affairs, February 10) on Yehuda Meshi- Zahav reminds me very much of Kipling’s poem “If.”
A man is asked if he can keep his head when all about him are losing theirs and blaming it on him. Meshi-Zahav kept his head and took the initiative to create an outstanding rescue and recovery organization at a time when people were not able to envision such a concept.
ZAKA has been simply aweinspiring in its scope and natural growth since its inception in 1995. It is also a tremendous kiddush hashem (sanctification of God’s name), for it is among the first responders to many foreign natural disasters as well.
For his outstanding efforts, Meshi-Zahav was awarded the coveted Israel Prize.
We need many more men of his courage and determination.
He is a man of vision, striving to “bring the kin together,” and is not afraid to address the silence of haredi leaders who have not spoken out against extremists.
May he be blessed with many more healthy and productive years.
Kiryat Arba
Why Henry?
Sir, – I cannot fathom why Henry Kissinger should be given a presidential award by the State of Israel (“President’s Prize winners,” February 8).
This award is being given in the name of Shimon Peres. It should be for those people who have helped the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Kissinger has certainly helped the United States. He has been a most loyal citizen and has had an enormous influence on US foreign policy. However, I don’t understand what, except negatively, he has achieved for Israel.
The President’s Prize is not to be given to just anyone. It should be given specifically to those who have really benefited the state. My suggestion for the future is Ro’i Klein, a man who gave his life for his fellow soldiers in the IDF without one moment of hesitancy.
Not our holiday
Sir, – I do not understand the fascination that Israel has with celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Growing up in America, we Jews were taught over and over how we did not celebrate Valentines Day, as well as Halloween, Christmas and New Years, as they are all Christian holidays.
We did celebrate Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, as they were national holidays.
We should spend more time and money advertising Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Tu Be’av (the 15th of the Hebrew month of Av, which has come to be known as Israel’s “day of love”) if we need more reasons to celebrate!
REBECCA RAAB Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – It never ceases to amaze me, walking around at this time of the year and seeing the malls and various establishments selling all sorts of gifts and encouraging the celebration of a holiday whose origin is completely steeped in Christianity and Roman paganism.
Israel has its very own day of love on Tu Be’av, when the same gifts are sold and advertised.
Obviously, the vendors want to cash in and encourage Israelis to spend money.
Israel needs to be Israel and not always try to copy others, especially when it’s fundamentally opposed to our ideology.