January 9: President's itinerary

I hope President Bush will visit Sderot and see what Israel continues receiving in return for its withdrawal from Gaza.

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
President's itinerary Sir, - I hope President Bush will visit Sderot and see what Israel continues receiving in return for its withdrawal from Gaza. As a result the Palestinians voted in Hamas, and there's non-stop rocketing of Israeli cities. As a religious person I hope the president visits Josef's Tomb in Nablus and sees what Palestinians did when a Jewish holy site fell into their hands. I hope he visits east Jerusalem and some Jewish settlements and appreciates that over 200,000 Jews cannot be made homeless ("Right-leaning ministers to tell US president they oppose making concessions to Abbas," January 8). BENJAMIN KLEIN Brooklyn What it takes... Sir - Re "Bush schedule finalized" (January 8): Thousands of police and other security personnel will be on duty until Friday afternoon to guarantee the safety of US President George W. Bush. Dozens of cars and drivers have been hired to transport his entourage. Jerusalem sanitation workers will be employed around the clock to clean the streets through which his convoy has to pass. Beit Hanassi has been renovated for the visit. The list goes on, but the message is loud and clear: To get things working in this country requires the visit of the president of the United States. How much does it all cost? Wouldn't it have been more beneficial to direct all this money toward Holocaust survivors and hungry children? One day we might get our priorities straight. TZIPI LANDAU Jerusalem ...to get the cash flowing Sir, - The finance minister is giving MKs an extra NIS2,800 in salaries, plus another NIS2,800 for car maintenance per month. They do not want it, but the minister tells them to go on and take it. This comes to about NIS 10m. a year. A third of Israel's children are living under the poverty line. The faculty of the universities are asking for long-overdue compensation for salary erosion. Students cannot attend classes and may be losing a year from their studies, ruining the lives of many. I think those 10 million shekels can be put to better use ("MKs decry pay raise - but take it anyway," January 1). KATHY KAY Petah Tikva This much, at least Sir, - Don't expect much from the Bush visit. But... Ehud Olmert can still ask for Jonathan Pollard's release! (Free Pollard, Yishai to urge Bush," January 8). JESSICA FISCHER Michmoret Then I woke up Sir, - Monday night at 4 a.m. we heard a loud boom. It was raining, so I assumed it was a thunderclap. My wife knew right away it had to have been a rocket explosion, and guessed our military was conducting more exercises. Little did we know that two Katyusha rockets had hit our neighboring town of Shlomi. "I won't let Arabs scare me out of my home or out of my country," declared my wife, angrily. Rockets hitting our area angered me too. But more than that, I felt like our brothers and sisters when they were forcibly expelled from their homes in Gush Katif and northern Samaria. I felt useless. It is my duty to protect my children. It is our military's duty to protect our towns. Where is our army? Where are our leaders? Who will send a clear message to those Arab barbarians in Lebanon and in Gaza that launching rockets against Israeli towns is a big mistake? ("'Status quo won't change after Katyusha,'" On-Line Edition, January 8.) I had a dream: that Ashkenazi fellow stormed the Knesset and established a temporary military government. He took Olmert, Peres and Barak into custody, then unleashed the IDF on Gaza and Lebanon. The UN overflowed with condemnations, but after that no one ever again dreamed of messing with the Jewish state. Then I woke up. ZE'EV SHEMER Hispin, Ramat Hagolan No equal billing (sigh) Sir, - I really enjoyed Michael Boyden's "As Israel approaches 60" (January 8). I disagreed with his statement, however, that Israel has never had a strong Socialist party. What were Mapai and Mapam during the early days of Ben-Gurion et al? Surely they were Socialist parties. Other than that, I fully agree with every point Rabbi Boyden made. It's truly unfortunate that the powers that be do not insist the Reform and Conservative streams of religion get equal billing with the Orthodox. L. ZURAKOV Netanya Loss of a baby Sir, - The terrible blow of losing a child is often made harder to bear because of a widespread reluctance on the part of friends and family to broach such a difficult subject. The moving ("Given, and taken," December 23, 2007) covering the tragedy suffered by the Clyman family was therefore a welcome step in the right direction, and it is to be hoped that many will be helped by Seth Clyman's book. While all mourning is personal and there is no right or wrong response, I would urge caution about following the family's course of action in not attending the funeral and refraining from visiting the grave and observing the yahrzeit. As one who suffered a similar loss and has provided support for many bereaved women, I know of many who deeply regretted not attending the baby's funeral and not being able to visit the gravesite. Often they were unable to mourn properly and, even years later, continue with their lives. There are no actual rules about attending the funeral, sitting shiva or visiting the grave. The customs we have now, formed in times when women were, unfortunately, likely to lose many infants, were meant to spare them further suffering. Luckily, that is no longer the case for most people, and to accord custom the force of religious law deprives many of communal support - and of much-needed closure - when they could use it most. LISA AMELAN Jerusalem No new mom need get depressed Sir, - Childbearing women do not have to suffer in silence, and it grieved me to hear about the stress and frustration experienced by Victoria Feinerman ("Why new moms get depressed," Letters January 7). The Israel Childbirth Education Centre, modeled on Britain's National Childbirth Trust, was founded in 1981 to provide support and education during the childbearing period. Through its training program there now exists a network of prenatal courses, postnatal support groups, breastfeeding counsellors and doulas. These counsellors are trained to provide non-judgmental support for women and their partners. No woman need feel alone, whatever her needs - natural birth or medicated, breastfeeding or not. Details of this nationwide network can be found at (www.leyda.org.il). Those with difficulties understanding the Hebrew Web site can call (0507) 114-117. WENDY BLUMFIELD Israel Childbirth Education Centre Haifa Kudos Sir, - "More than just little adults" (December 30), on the construction of a children's hospital at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, was a masterpiece. Judy Siegel-Itzkovich understands medicine and is highly professional and always on target, while providing interesting, even fun reading for the non-medically-oriented reader. A real pro! FRANCIS B. MIMOUNI, MD Department of Pediatrics Shaare Zedek Medical Center Jerusalem