February 5: Preventive health

If the Health Ministry invested a small amount of money in an advertising campaign and changed its attitude, the hospitals would be at less than fullcapacity come next winter.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Preventive health
Sir, – On Page 6 of the February 3 Jerusalem Post you printed an opinion piece about the lack of preventive care regarding the flu (“Roll up your sleeve,” Health, February 3). I would posit that the entire health system is primitive in this regard, and not just with anti-flu injections.
If the Health Ministry invested a small amount of money in an advertising campaign and changed its attitude, the hospitals would be at less than full-capacity come next winter. So many illnesses are now avoidable if treated from a prevention prospective. But it’s evident from the figures in the Post and electronic media that the ministry is not doing its job.
Furthermore, the level of cleanliness in over-crowded hospitals breeds more illness. Last year my husband was hospitalized for diabetes and there were beds in every place imaginable. There was hardly room for doctors and nurses to move, and little or no privacy for patients.
This can all be avoided by treating illness from the prevention aspect, not treating a clinically active disease.
Sir, – Kudos to Judy Siegel- Itzkovich for her brilliant idea to encourage flu shots by a “healthoriented gift” to every family whose members get flu shots.
Her ability to think outside the box is extremely refreshing and much needed.
Do you suppose we can convince her to run for Knesset?
Sir, – I take issue with Judy Siegel-Itzkovich’s statement that the Health Ministry has done little to persuade people to get the flu vaccination.
On the contrary, representatives at the sick funds with which my husband, a family practitioner, has an agreement have been phoning and nagging people for months. Even I was given a list of telephone numbers back in November to call and exert persuasion, gentle or otherwise, on those patients who hadn’t yet come in to get vaccinated.
There is only so much the authorities can do. Responsibility ultimately falls on the shoulders of the patients themselves. The “health-oriented gift” that is really worth receiving is not getting the flu!
Irish outpouring
Sir, – Recently, columnist Sarah Honig made certain claims in your newspaper (“That unwitting indecency,” Another Tack, January 25). She gave full prominence to the opinions of three “boisterous” 15- and 16-year-old students, and claimed that Ireland had a history of anti-Semitism.
These students were on a humanitarian fund-raising mission sponsored by Trocaire on behalf of Palestinians. Any anti- Semitic comments – which have been denied – must be condemned.
But the column lacked balance and showed poor research.
Honig’s claim that Ireland has a history of anti-Semitism is based on one pogrom – one too many – in the city of Limerick in 1904, but she fails to say that it was widely condemned by many prominent people.
Daniel O’Connell, the “Liberator,” was responsible for the Catholic emancipation in 1829, but Honig failed to mention that he rejected anti-Semitism and in 1846, in the House of Commons, helped repeal the law, De Judaismo, which discriminated against Jews. O’Connell stated: “Ireland has claims on your ancient race, it is the only country that I know of unsullied by any one act of persecution against the Jews.”
Our church is called the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church, and buried on the grounds is Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty. O’Flaherty was given the title Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government for the work he did in saving many Jews in Rome during the war.
Many other Irish historical figures, including Michael Davitt and John Redmond, rejected anti-Semitism. Redmond stated: “Race hatred is at best an unreasoning passion.”
Both Dublin and Cork have had Jewish lord mayors, and all political parties, including the present government, have Jews in senior positions.
Of course, you will find anti- Semitism in Ireland, but you will also find anti-Irish sentiment if you look for it in other countries.
But the claim that Ireland has a history of anti-Semitism is based on one disgraceful episode and therefore is factually incorrect.
I suggest that Honig visit the subject again and this time focus on the positive.
LEONARD HURLEY Cahirciveen, Ireland The writer is a retired history teacher
Sir, – As an Irishman I must take great issue with letter writer Naftali Bertram’s brash, unfounded assertion that most Irish people harbor anti-Semitic feelings (“Irish oys,” January 28). This is simply untrue.
I am presuming that he is drawing his conclusions mainly from the fact that there have been a number of very noisy anti-Israel activities and protests, and calls for economic and cultural boycotts. Nevertheless, Jews here are well integrated, respected and admired by the majority of the population. And that goes also for the State of Israel and its achievements, as well as its successes in surviving militarily against its surrounding enemies over the years.
There is, on the other hand, undoubtedly an undercurrent of anti-Israeli feeling among the noisy Left, and the media coverage given to its activities tends to give the impression that its members have some great influence over government policy toward Israel. But the fact is they do not.
Most Irish people are more concerned with surviving the economic collapse of the Celtic Tiger rather than deciding to wake up in the morning and suddenly for no particular reason become either anti-Semitic or anti-Israel.
Ireland and Israel have more in common with each other – an interest in upholding democratic and cultural values, freedom of speech and the media, the rule of law, etc. – than separating them, and that bodes well for their mutually beneficial future relationship.
Sir, – Having seen Sarah Honig’s photos and read her article, as an Israeli who has owned a summer home in Ireland for over 23 years I’m appalled and dismayed by this disgraceful behavior.
But I would like to say that in my experience in County Wexford and my travels throughout the republic – wearing a kippa in Wexford’s county colors, with Loch Garman (Wexford in Irish) embroidered on it, I’ve never experienced anything like that.
As for reader Naftali Bertram, he is free to say what he likes about Irish-Americans, but he apparently knows nothing about the Irish.
When Israel was facing Scud missile attacks in early 1991, regular Irish people sent me over 2,000 Irish punts (pounds) in donations for Israel. They were in amounts of 5-10 punts each, and from all over the island.
(They sent them to me because they’d read I was an Israeli Jew and had a home in County Wexford.) I duly forwarded the funds to then-chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who sent them on to Israel. And except for one sweet girl from County Galway, who decried the “Spud” missiles Saddam Hussein was firing at Israel, they were all quite informed about the situation.
Is there anti-Israel feeling among some people? Yes. Is there anti-Semitic feeling among some people? Yes. But compared to most countries in Europe, in my humble opinion, no.
Sir, – I want to assure your readers that I am Irish but don’t hate Israel. I hope Sarah Honig will return to Ireland because I think the vast majority of Irish people don’t hate Israel or the Jewish faith.
I want to see peace in the Middle East. I am against any violent militant action toward Israel by any terrorist or nation.
I have never been to Israel.
Hopefully, I will travel there in the near future.
Thank you.
PADDY NESTOR Cork, Ireland