July 1: Those who toil

A major lesson from the Bernard Madoff disaster is the difficulties the modern economic world places in the way of people earning a reasonable return on their life's savings

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Those who toil Sir, - A major lesson from the Bernard Madoff disaster is the difficulties the modern economic world places in the way of people earning a reasonable return on their life's savings. The complete negation of the concept of interest on capital savings has resulted in many seeking other means of obtaining a return in excess of near-zero to survive in retirement. Many may call that greed, but the options have become so limited that the public in many cases falls into traps. Retirement money is being channeled into much riskier investments to "stoke" the stock markets; the results are clear from the current world economic crisis. It is in the name of the desperate need to create "economic growth" that the age-old concept of interest on money has been compromised. The lesson to be learned is that solid savings avenues need to be reprovided. For some reason, governments do not see themselves as responsible for their pensioners. In the same way that the interest concept has been destroyed, so too are salaries and wages being compromised - all to create "dramatic growth." Our economic wizards need to start rechecking their concepts and get us back to solid economic practices which will not play havoc with the economic welfare of those who toil by the sweat of their brow ("Madoff gets 150 years in prison," June 30). DAVID GOSHEN Kiryat Ono Taking care of our precious sons Sir, - Re "Medical Corps works hard to be the best" (June 28): One can only applaud the efforts at upgrading emergency medical care, and the plans to alleviate the shortage of physicians in the military. However, the ongoing treatment of medical problems of soldiers is fragmented, in part due to the movement of soldiers and the lack of continuity of care by the same physician for diagnosing and treating complex medical problems. Furthermore, in case of disability incurred during army service, the ailing or medically discharged soldier is forced to do battle with an often hostile bureaucracy. In case of medical malpractice or suspected medical malpractice, one cannot sue the Medical Corps or the Israel Defense Forces, only each individual physician involved. Presumably, each doctor can honestly claim, "But I only evaluated the soldier one time." That is exactly the point. Regarding the physician shortage, OC Medical Corps Tat-Aluf Nachman Ash, M.D. stated: "By the end of this year, we will start to close the gap [writer's italics]. The attempts are admirable - but what happens in the meantime to the medical care of the soldiers? They are all someone's son, sibling, spouse or parent. The country cannot afford, either morally or financially, to neglect soldiers' medical care today. YOCHEVED J. BERLOWITZ, M.D. Jerusalem More in common than we think Sir, - What a beautiful, optimistic op-ed Stewart Weiss wrote ("Situation: Hope-less?" June 30). Yes, we here in Israel do have our problems - those between religious and secular being an example - but we have more in common with each other than we realize. Too bad we don't have more rabbis who think like Rabbi Weiss. The world would be a better place for it. HANNAH SONDHELM Jerusalem Bad food creates blockages Sir, - Barry Rubin's crucial observation bears repeating: "By feeding the PA's false belief that the West will pressure Israel into giving it a state in the borders it wants, without concessions, restrictions or even implementation of past promises, the US and European governments are doing a very effective job of sabotaging any possibility for peace." The sooner this message filters through to the governments concerned, the better ("The world according to Fayad," June 29) RACHEL BIRATI Melbourne First welcome to their new home Sir, - I was surprised to read the comment by Shawn Rodgers, who made aliya two years ago and claimed that "There should be at least someone there to meet people coming off the plane, to explain the whole process to them in their native language" ("Olim, prepare to kiss Terminal 1 goodbye!" June 30). I have been doing precisely that for nearly two years, along with a dozen others specifically trained and commissioned to do the job of meeting the new immigrants upon their arrival at the airport. We accompany them through the registration process and interpret the instructions handed out to them by the Absorption Ministry. Regarding Terminal 1, a large hall there has been used to welcome and register groups of more than 12 arriving olim. The facilities currently available in Terminal 3 are simply not large enough to accommodate such numbers. The inconvenience caused by the need to move the reception of groups to Terminal 1 has been long known; however, efforts should focus on finding a better solution within the already existing space in Terminal 3. More thought and perhaps money are needed in another area: assisting the new olim in their dealings with the Interior and the Absorption ministries, the health funds, and the municipalities of their first place of residence in Israel. The actual process of registration at the airport is very efficient, and I am not aware of any complaints from olim about it. AVRAHAM REMINI Modi'in Proselytizing... Sir, - This is in response to Howard Bass's op-ed "A nation under law?" (June 25). Pastor Bass, I believe you need to be informed that as a follower of Christ, you would be considered a Christian by Jews. As such, as part of your teachings, one of your beliefs is to proselytize - whatever you wish to call it. Proselytizing for any religion other than Judaism is against Israeli law, and if your people proselytze for Jesus, they should be aware of this. HELEN KRIEGSFELD Jerusalem ...misleading Sir, - The headline and description in the first paragraph of "Court hears Messianic Jews' suit against Beersheba chief rabbi" (June 22) were misleading, giving the impression that what is being discussed is an internal Jewish dispute. I do not enter here into the subject of the article - the alleged use of violence; which if it occurred, is to be condemned. Only in paragraph four were we told that Messianic congregations are actually Christian congregations. The term "messianic Jews" creates a false impression, referring as it does to Jewish converts to Christianity; in effect, to Christians, pure and simple. "Court hears Christian congregations' suit against Beersheba chief rabbi" would have been a more honest presentation. NAOMI SCHENDOWICH Jerusalem So that's why! Sir, - Thanks to "Babies remember traumatic events for years, US psychiatrist says" (June 29), I now realize why I tend to be circumspect about accepting invitations to parties. I guess I didn't enjoy the first party I went to, when I was eight days old. YONATAN SILVER Jerusalem