February 26: Who was negligent?

How does negligence play a role in the death of Lance Wolf? If 2 youths bang a man over the head with wooden planks, how is that negligence?

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Who was negligent?
Sir, – Okay, so I am not a lawyer and don’t speak legal lingo, but how does negligence play a role in the death of Lance Wolf (“Court convicts Jerusalem teens of death by negligence for 2010 wooden plank attack,” February 23)? Perhaps it is the parents’ negligence that allowed a 14- and 15-year-old to drink a bottle of vodka. Maybe it’s Wolf’s negligence for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But if two youths walk toward a man carrying wooden planks, deliberately confront him and bang him over the head, how is that negligence? It looks to me like a case of intent to cause bodily harm, which in this case resulted in a man’s death.
If the sentence for adults who commit such a crime is three years in prison, we are all in trouble. I hope that these minors go into detention long enough for them to first understand the gravity of their crime, and then remain there long enough to learn how to behave like decent human beings.
By the way, the personal details of Wolf’s life are totally irrelevant to this story. Even dead people should be entitled to privacy.
Sha’arei Tikva
More than yucky
Sir, – The photo of the “Taglit- Birthright Culinary Group (“Marching on its stomach,” February 23), with that much chicken mounded and then being handled without gloves, hats, hair nets or aprons at an unknown temperature, is a little disconcerting, to put it mildly.
One hopes that after this “culinary” moment, hands were washed before moving to another task. The risk of cross-contamination and possible salmonella is quite evident.
Our soldiers deserve the best food prepared in the best of conditions. I couldn’t tell by the look on the face of the young woman in the middle whether she was talking on her cellphone or was a little put off by the experience.
I hope that further Taglit events of this type are handled with more attention to food hygiene.
The writer is a retired chef
Not prepared
Sir, – Dore Gold hits the nail on the head (“Hatred: Coming soon to a campus near you,” Comment & Features, February 23).
Having just completed a couple of training sessions for groups going overseas, participants appeared to be ill-equipped to deal with the type of hostile questions likely to be posed to them. With an IDF group there seemed to be no idea how to respond to the question, “How do you sleep at night knowing the next morning you will be killing Palestinian children?” In the case of high school students who receive some training prior to exchange visits, the level is very superficial. The Ministry of Education needs to wake up.
Gold says that “typically, those hurling these charges against Israel hope their audiences are ignorant of the facts.” Let’s be clear: For some people, even the presentation of facts does not result in a change of mind. At best, one may get the answer: “We will have to agree to disagree.”
The writer is chairman of the Coalition of Advocacy Volunteers
Universally healing
Sir, – Referring to Judy Montagu’s sensitive article about sitting shiva (“Mourners of Zion,” In My Own Write, February 22), it really is a very healing process.
Many years ago I was sitting shiva for a parent in England and we had a good friend, a Christian lay preacher, who came to visit. He stood there and gave a short speech, saying what a wonderful idea the shiva was. He said in his experience, non-Jews crossed the street when they encountered bereaved acquaintances as they were too embarrassed to say anything.
He wished that shiva would be instituted in his Church, as it was such a comfort for the remaining members of the family. It was a truly heartfelt thought.
Petah Tikva
Sir, – No matter the person, as Judy Montagu writes so eloquently, shiva is a difficult time and there is no “proper” behavior as to how to relate to the situation.
The lead is taken from the mourner(s), and the visitor who enters, uncertain as to what his or her behavior should be, has to gauge the particular situation.
Montagu’s column should be required reading for all who must sit shiva or visit a mourner.
Ma’aleh Adumim

Frame of reference
Sir, – Regarding “Barak: We’ll do what we need to do” (February 21), one thing we learned from Saddam Hussein is that sanctions that are much tougher than those currently being proposed for Iran are unlikely to succeed.
Sanctions are predicated on the assumption that leaders will make rational decisions based on economic calculations. Similar to Saddam, Iran’s leaders have little incentive to cooperate because sanctions have limited impact on their internal authority or personal living conditions. They may feel that acceding to external demands would be a sign of weakness and hasten their downfall. They may rightly assume that once they have nuclear weapons, Iran’s position as a regional power will be strengthened and the world will be forced to lift the sanctions.
Combining all this with their radical religious beliefs, Iran’s leaders are acting rationally – within their own non-Western frame of reference.
The choice is not between maintaining the status quo or dealing with the aftermath of a military strike. The choice is between stopping Iran now, even if it requires military action, or facing a nuclear-armed Iran later on.
A more robust sanctions regime now would have a very limited chance of success. If concerted action is delayed much longer, it could well be too late for Israel and the world.
Zichron Ya’acov
The writer, a former US diplomat, was directly involved in enforcing UN sanctions against Iraq
No wonder
Gershon Baskin (“Q&A affecting the future of the Middle East,” Encountering Peace, February 21) has once again presented the warm, glowing, positive Palestinian attitude to a negotiated settlement with Israel.
Baskin does not explain why Abbas walked out on then-prime minister Ehud Olmert after being offered everything he asked for.
Nor does he explain Abbas’s refusal to recognize a homeland for the Jewish people. In addition, he is not troubled when Abbas sits down for a photo-op with someone convicted of murder, and omits any mention of rocket fire from Gaza.
Is it any wonder that the vast majority of Israelis remain unimpressed by Baskin’s arguments for a real peace with the Palestinians?

Petah Tikva
Good idea
Sir, – I would like to express my support and thanks to MK Rachel Adatto for initiating legislation to allow for the involuntary hospitalization of patients suffering from anorexia (“Ministerial panel okays bill for forced hospitalization of anorexia victims,” February 20).
Many men and women suffering from eating disorders do not recognize the grave danger they are in, or are in denial and therefore do not seek help. Many have died as a result. While effective treatment requires the patient’s motivation, many are cognitively compromised such that rational decision making is impossible.
As a graduate-level counseling student, author, speaker and consultant in the field, I strongly believe that initial life-saving steps must be taken with or without patient consent. I commend everyone involved for approving this important bill.
Boca Raton, Florida