July 30: Memorable 35s

A reminder of the memorable achievements of a very small number of women whom nobody initially wanted to listen to.

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
Heartbreaking Sir, - The plight of Achoura Abbadi breaks my heart. If anybody deserves political asylum, it is her. I have no doubt that if forced to return to Morocco, she will be murdered for abandoning Islam and desiring to convert to Judaism. All she wants to a rabbi willing to convert her so she can remain in Israel, her true love ("'I would do anything to get back here' - Moroccan would-be convert fights a losing battle to stay in Israel," July 29). She wouldn't be a burden to the system: Unlike the Sudanese refugees she has her profession as a caregiver to fall back on. I hope the Israeli government will not deport her. LESLIE BAKER Beersheba Memorable 35s Sir, - Barbara Oberman's wonderful article on the beginnings of the 35s in London and the amazing impact the group's activities eventually had was a reminder of the memorable achievements of a very small number of women whom nobody initially wanted to listen to. Barbara and the few who first joined her have never been given due recognition either by the UK community or here in Israel. One comment: Not all of us who joined the demonstrations were non-working. I well remember grabbing a few hours from work to stand with them outside the Russian Embassy, and being heartened by their growing numbers and the notice taken by the authorities ("Skirts against the Kremlin," July 26). GLORIA MOUND Gan Yavneh Sir, - Barbara Oberman's experience demonstrates that with perseverance, diligence and creativity, one determined voice has the power to change the world. Kol hakavod to Barbara, and to the Post for publishing her moving story. JUDITH NUSBAUM Rishon Lezion History to cry over Sir, - Many thanks to Yehuda Avner for his important historical article "They went to the gallows singing 'Hatikva'" (July 26). My cousin, a known chazan and musician, is named Avshalom (Katz) after Avshalom Haviv of the olei legardom, so this story comes up during family gatherings. I read this article with tears. MOSHE IVRY Jerusalem Put the fat cats on a diet Sir - While defending the Histadrut's decision to strike, Larry Derfner concedes that "there really are Histadrut employees making NIS 30,000 and even more a month, such as the most senior employees at Israel Aircraft Industries, Mekorot water utility, Bezeq phone company and the notorious Electric Corp." Since the Histadrut represents these workers as well as the underpaid ones, why not start, in the name of equality and fairness, by reducing the wages of those overpaid workers and putting the money toward the salaries of those who don't earn enough? Like other apologists for the Histadrut leadership, Mr. Derfner apparently sees no problem with allowing their top workers to rob the public coffers while, at the same time, putting the onus for fair wages on the taxpayers. Now that's unfair! ("The nerve of those strikers," July 26.) ERIC SOMMER Oranit Sir, - I am one of those nervy strikers who worked almost as if there had been no sanctions, and who is attempting to make a home on a NIS 4,000 per month, including overtime, take-home wage. Larry Derfner deserves a 21-gun salute. Many of us are really doing work on behalf of the citizens. How many people would prefer to have the tax authorities outsource the work? Perhaps they would like to travel to Calcutta to discuss their income tax refund, then go on to Malaysia about a VAT or customs matter? Or they might like to travel to Macau to deal with passport or identity/status matters. Much of the Israeli public reminds me of spoiled brats who have not properly matured, just like Lindsey and Paris. The new icons for Israel are Ayn Rand, Michael Milken and Enron. "Hear O, Israel, Greed is our God, Greed is No.1. Blessed be my selfishness forever." If that's the way the Zi-own-ist enterprise is headed, it fully deserves to end up like Enron! Z'EV FREED Beersheba Sir, - Larry Derfner says if we believe in the right of collective bargaining we must be willing to put up with strikes. This is nonsense. If the parties agree to last-best-offer arbitration there can be collective bargaining without strikes. If they reach a stalemate, the arbitrator can choose only between the last two offers on the table. The parties thus have an incentive to narrow the gaps, and usually do. Only rarely does the arbitrator have to intervene. More important, the public is not held hostage during the process. JOAKIM ISAACS Jerusalem Have helmet, will cycle Sir, - At last after nearly 20 years of work started by Drs. Gary Ginsberg of the Ministry of Health, Don Silverberg of Ichilov Hospital and Elihu Richter of the HU School of Public Health Hadassah Ein Kerem, MK Gilad Erdan has succeeded in pushing through a law which can be expected to prevent many head injuries in bike riders ("Heads up! Protective helmets required," July 26). Up until now Australia was the only known country to legally require cyclists to wear helmets. It's up to every parent to see that children keep this law, and also wear reflector gear, especially in the dark. Ideally, too, bicycles should carry registration - which would make the rider responsible for his/her behavior and bike condition. Riding in accordance with the laws pertaining to motor vehicles would make a marked difference in the accident rate. Since cycling is not only a wonderful sport but an economical method of transport that could be integrated into commuting to work via bike-and-ride schemes, let us hope this breakthrough - and the introduction of bike lanes in many places countrywide - will create a better environment for all. ZELDA HARRIS < Chaim B'derech Metuna Netanya Jews & animals Sir, - Kudos to Jill, Duchess of Hamilton, for calling attention to the desperate plight of homeless cats in Jerusalem ("Blair and the stray cats of Jerusalem," July 29). Just last week the press reported that two Hebrew University students trapped two cats, poured flammable liquid on them and ignited the helpless creatures. After being arrested, the perpetrators of this barbarous act were released on a mere NIS 5,000 bail, the judge noting that they did not constitute a danger to the public! As enlightened human beings and as Jews - identified as rahmanim bnei rahmanim (merciful down the generations) - we must demand that this act of wanton cruelty is appropriately punished. In August 2004 Mayor Uri Lupolianski launched a comprehensive program to neuter cats in order to prevent their unchecked proliferation, and to set up feeding stations, stating, "A society is measured by its attitude not only to humans but also to the animals that live in their midst." Whatever happened to this laudable initiative? Benign neglect by the authorities is intolerable. As noted by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin in To Be a Jew: "One is dutybound to save every living creature from pain or distress." SHIFRA PAIKIN Jerusalem