January 18: Call ahead, perhaps?

One might wonder where members of our government and (especially) the budget office go when they need medical treatment.

Call ahead, perhaps?
Sir, – Regarding “Ministry aims to cease hospital overcrowding” (January 17), one knows there is a problem with our hospitals when his own family takes into account whether there will be a proper bed to recuperate in before going to the emergency room.
One also might wonder where members of our government and (especially) the budget office go when they need treatment.

Wandering neighborhood
Sir, – Who moved Gilo? Our kids have been living there for the past 20 years or so. We always get there by traveling south on the Begin highway. In the Jerusalem phone book, Gilo appears on the map for “Jerusalem South.”
In “US, Palestinians blast Gilo building plans” (January 17), however, Gilo is described as “a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem.”
In the interest of editorial accuracy, The Jerusalem Post has fallen on its face – regardless of what the AP (which “contributed to this report”) thinks, Gilo is still on the southern edge of Jerusalem.

Petah Tikva
Stick to curriculum
Sir, – With regard to “Students at LSE shoot down motion supporting academic boycott” (January 16), I believe the British government should intervene where universities are using precious time on campus discussing politics that have no bearing on the students’ studies.
In my time, there were great worries about Freemasons being in the police force or within the legal system because they were a society with secrets. These LSE tutors are quite open about their political beliefs. They should be teaching economics.
I would certainly think twice about sending my child to the London School of Economics, knowing that some members of the staff hate Israel.
We deserve to know
Sir, – As usual, Liat Collins is right on the mark (“The battle of rights and wrongs,” My Word, January 16). Her objection to a Knesset investigation of the funding of NGOs is based on the valid assumption that MKs would seek to concentrate only on those NGOs whose political orientations differed from their own.
However, there is a sound case for revealing the funding sources of all political NGOs: We all deserve to know who is paying the piper and likely calling the tune. The solution is simple. Pass a law requiring any NGO with a political agenda to post its funding sources in real time on a publicly available government website.
An organization funded primarily from abroad could no longer masquerade as an indigenous Israeli organization. Such a law would also restrict the activities of shady non-profits that spring up during election campaigns like mushrooms after rain, and are designed to bypass laws that prohibit foreign entities from financing political parties.

Ma’aleh Adumim
Put down those glasses
Sir, – Reading Ashley Perry’s op-ed piece (“The best decision I’ve ever made,” January 16) made me look up the quote from Robert Burns: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley/An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain/For promis’d joy!”
Perry seems completely oblivious to the deterioration of ethos, values and purpose on which this state was founded some 60-plus years ago.
Those values, which we immigrants from Western countries held dear and made efforts to retain during the most difficult periods, both physical and economic, of the early days, now fade into obscurity on a daily basis. I and many like me who have been here since the beginning of the state – also for idealistic reasons – are ashamed and humbled by what we have become as a society.
We have an incredible land and Israelis are great and courageous people at heart. Yes, we are unique. But survival is not an aim in itself. To build our safe and secure future we have to get to know those who are not Jews but also have a stake in this land. We need olim who will contribute to our society by participating in public and political life to change the mindset that everything is magia lanu (our right), and who will make an effort to get to know those who live on the periphery of our society – as well as those who in Jerusalem, our “united city,” who live in Third World conditions – and to understand why they do not celebrate Jerusalem Day.
Let’s welcome with open arms new immigrants, but not with rose-colored glasses – otherwise, more will be leaving than staying.
Tel Aviv
Sir, – Reading Ashley Perry’s article warmed my heart. He wrote honestly about his aliya experience, and with so much negativity in the press, it’s comforting to have something positive written about Israel.
Nevertheless, although I come from a similar background and also moved here with idealism and passionate Zionism seeping from my pores, I did not have the same positive experience. While wine becomes finer with age, for me this analogy cannot be applied to living in Israel. As time moves on, the more my rose-colored glasses become more a hazy shade of gray.
During the first three or four years here, I was blinded by the strong ideology and passion I so felt was my life’s purpose, and I was more inclined to let the problems roll off the duck’s back like water. My sister, who moved here in 1999, left Israel with her husband and first-born in 2005 to return to the UK. I felt upset because I believed the end-game was more important then one’s contentment in everyday life. Since then, however, my everyday life has indeed been filled with frustration and anger, and I can say now that I was too quick to judge my suffering sister. I will not rant about the intricacies of this bizarre place, but I do fear for its future, which is inextricably linked to my own.
I do recognize that I suffer from the “grass is always greener” sickness, but eight years on I can no longer say “I am proud to be an olah” or, indeed, an Israeli – and this fact deeply saddens me.
Tel Aviv
Other way around
Sir, – In the January 14 article “Romney is first of 2012’s presidential hopefuls to visit,” you quote an Al Jazeera reporter as saying: “...the US couldn’t get Israel to make peace with the Palestinians....” It seems the more correct statement would have been that “...the US couldn’t get the Palestinians to make peace with Israel.”

Look it up
Sir, – Before we attack Sarah Palin (“More rhetoric erupts after Palin’s use of ‘blood libel’ term,” January 14), let us consider these facts:
Terms that are born out of bloody historical experience enter the language and are used in more pedestrian fashion. Examples: crusades, crucifixion, written in stone, holocaust, wailing wall, God bless.
Knowing how it feels
Sir, – Regarding the anniversary of Ariel Sharon’s stroke, Susan Shaul (“Memories of Arik,” Letters, January 6) writes that she has “difficulty forgetting the home I was forced out of [as part of the Gaza withdrawal]. People think that a house is just four walls, but we were forced out of homes, lives and livelihoods. That is hard to forget.”
These words go far to pinpoint the roots and emotional intensity on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For each side, houses have not been “just four walls” but “homes, lives and livelihoods.” Hence, the difficulty of stepping into the other side’s shoes to see how it feels, and for each side to give up its claims – or forget them.
Cambridge, Massachusetts