June 26: A hard choice...

Are the needs of one family more important than an entire nation's?

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A hard choice... Sir, - Stewart Weiss raised profound moral, ethical and political issues in "(Don't) free Gilad Schalit" (June 25). Yes, parents the world over would do anything to gain the release of their child - but are the needs of one family more important than an entire nation's? If we refused to bargain with kidnappers perhaps they would realize that this method is useless in forcing the release of proven ruthless men who will only kill again, or kidnap others. We would thereby be saving many, many others from a similar fate. It's a hard choice to make, especially if it's your offspring. ALIZA WEINBERG Rehovot Sir, - The death penalty debate is ongoing, and it's about time to enforce it into Israeli law and save soldiers and their families the terrible torment they go through when a soldier has been kidnapped. STEPHANIE TAYLOR Ginot Shomron ...and fuzzy thinking Sir, - Too bad Israel cannot seem to make up its mind whether to treat arrested Arab terrorists as criminals or as prisoners of war. They are criminals in the sense that they are tried by the Israeli courts, convicted and sentenced - but POWs in the sense that they can be released for political reasons in exchange for hostages held by the other side. Isn't there a lack of coherence here? YVETTE PORTER Paramus, New Jersey/Ra'anana About not getting it Sir, - A few years ago I watched Nicolas Sarkozy demolish Tariq Ramadan on French TV and thought: finally a French politician who gets it. But once in power, European politicians seem forced to say things which make no sense - at least not to readers of The Jerusalem Post who absorbed Sam Ser's cover story on the "simmering hatred" in Islam in last Friday's UpFront magazine ("A radical rethink," June 20) notably the interview with Ali Sina. On his visit to the Palestinian Authority, Sarkozy said: "It was a pleasure to come here to Bethlehem to see what the checkpoints were like, the wall, the misunderstandings on either side. This must stop." The anti-suicide-bomber fence, as I prefer to call it because that is what its main purpose is, was built after 148 Muslim Palestinian suicide bombers exploded among Israeli civilians. Along with targeted killings and good intelligence, the fence has reduced suicide bombings by 95 percent - from seven in one week during March 2002 to one per year. I wonder what Sarkozy would say if hundreds of suicide bombers exploded on Place de la Concorde, Saint-Michel, Place de la Republique or in the Metro? MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC Beersheba Sir, - Sarkozy makes me proud of my country. Vive la France, et Vive Israel! Yes to both democracies, and NON to terrorism. LOUIS SEBASTIEN Nancy-Ville, France 'Righteous Jews' Sir, - Larry Pfeffer was 100 percent correct in criticizing Yad Vashem's refusal to recognize the "righteous Jews" who planned, plotted and fought in every way possible to save fellow Jews from the Holocaust ("Rescue, expurgated," Letters, June 24). After what I understood was a serious "battle" with Yad Vashem, the name of the late Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schonfeld is now in the Memorial Cave at Yad Vashem. Having been on his first Kindertransport and because he saved my parents two days before the outbreak of WW2, I have always admired and loved Dr. Schonfeld. My children, knowing what he meant to me, wanted to commemorate family members who perished in the Shoah and, at the same time, pay tribute to the fantastic rescue efforts of this man. Anyone visiting the Memorial Cave will now see after the first corner a plaque recalling Dr. Schonfeld's rescue of hundreds of children. There would have been more, but Yad Vashem restricted the size and text of the plaque. There is no reason why the museum should not devote a comprehensive exhibit to the rescue efforts that succeeded - and those that failed - by fellow Jews both inside and outside German-occupied Europe. It would show that Jews did not "go like lambs to the slaughter." EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem Talking about illness Sir, - In "When you need a shoulder to lean on" (June 22) Judy Siegel-Itzkovich emphasized the importance of creating an open dialogue around facing serious illness. Sharsheret, the US-based organization that supports young Jewish women with breast cancer, has served as an important model for women who previously felt the need to hide their illness in - undeserved - shame. Here in Israel, we at Tishkofet (www.tishkofet.co.il) offer similar support groups and services for women (and men) facing illnesses such as cancer. We have begun to plan collaborative efforts with Sharsheret, offering our very successful healing retreats to those in the US. By opening the conversation around illness, we all serve to gain from a society that offers better prevention, earlier treatment and, no less significantly, improved emotional coping by building effective networks of support through what are life's most trying times. Let's continue talking and bringing these issues into the mainstream! DVORA CORN and BEN CORNCo-Founders Life's Door-Tishkofet Jerusalem Balance and gait Sir, - Re "Nurses to assess patients' risk of falls" (June 20): As the former director of the New Rochelle Dizziness and Balance Center, I think this concept is very important. However, a very specific format for evaluation must be established that can best be performed by a physical therapist. Then a program to improve balance and gait safety should be started. Giving patients or the general population equipment to prevent falls will not be successful. The only way to reduce falls is to effectively evaluate the individual and his environment, and proceed with the proper balance and gait training program. SHMUEL (STANLEY) ADELSBERG, PT Jerusalem Disinformation? Sir, - I was astonished to read in "Samson and the ILA" (Shavuot supplement, June 8) that the Israel Lands Administration said Amir Dromi of Samson Farm, near Beit Shemesh, submitted a plan for five building plots for residential buildings, guest houses and public buildings. In actual fact the plan he submitted calls for one single plot that will include one residential building (his home), one small building as housing for workers, a goat pen, a barn, a tool shed, an oil press and housing for the generator. No guest houses and no public buildings. The plot also includes an area of about one acre for the preservation of ancient building, as required by the government - all of the above on a single plot of land measuring less than four acres, clearly only what is required for the most basic needs of operating the farm. My feeling is that this is part of a campaign to discredit my son with inaccuracies and blatant disinformation to justify the devastating eviction order. MYRA DROMI Metar No, no, no, Amy Sir, - As a fan of Amy Winehouse who stands in awe of her phenomenal voice and talent, I plead: Amy, defeat your demons of drugs and cigarettes while you still can. Emphysema is a living hell. Don't follow those other great talents who lived too hard and died too young, to the music world's great detriment ("Winehouse denies illness report," June 25). J. ANDERSON Tel Aviv