June 27: Beyond the pale

You might accuse me of exaggeration, but employing stereotypical physical descriptions is obnoxious.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Beyond the pale Sir, - I know that newspapers have a policy regarding minimum wording in articles - hence, perhaps, Matthew Wagner's description of "the hot Jerusalem sun." However, his "pale-skinned yeshiva boys smeared with sunscreen lotion" was a bit outrageous ("Haredi rally celebrating independent education draws thousands," June 24). Did he smell the participants to ascertain whether or not they were wearing sun-tan lotion? Give me a break. Back to "pale-skinned": Is your reporter an Apache warrior? Would "pale skin" also describe the rally participants with Sephardi or Yemenite backgrounds? It is a good thing Mr. Wagner did not cover the Tibetan protests last month at the Chinese embassy in Tel Aviv. He might have described the scene as "wall-to-wall yellow indignation." You might accuse me of exaggeration, but employing stereotypical physical descriptions is obnoxious. BARTLEY KULP Safed Horse racing in Israel Sir, - I would appreciate the right of reply to a series of allegations against the horse racing industry carried on your letters page last week ("Neigh to this evil sport," Letters, June 20). Your correspondent clearly has the best of intentions in wishing to protect the rights of horses, something I wholeheartedly support. However, it is a pity that she bases her allegations against international racing on figures and reports that bear little connection to the Israeli reality. Her organization wishes to oppose the start of professional horse racing in Israel and cites the American model as good reason to persuade people to protest and support a ban. I have little experience of US racing and cannot comment on points relating to the US industry. However, I wish to make it clear that the Israeli Jockey Club, the body that organizes regular racing in Israel, has never seen the American model as one which we wish to follow. We have stated many times that it is the example of the British racing authorities that would best serve as a template for the development of racing in this country. Unlike the US, the British refuse to let any horse run that is using prescribed drugs to mask illness or injury. We see this example as one well worth following as it places the well-being of the horse at the top of the priority list and has resulted in a fatality rate of just 0.2% among racehorses in Britain in recent years. We also wish to establish, in due course, a center for retired racehorses and for the retraining of racehorses so they can move on to another career and to good homes after their racing time has ended. Under proper supervision, the life of a racehorse should be one that sees the animal enjoying the very best of care, and facilities equivalent to a 5-star equine hotel. It would be naive to suggest that all horses in Israel receive this level of attention, but many do. It is our task at the IJC, together with the Ministry of Agriculture veterinary teams, to work on excluding those that fail to meet their obligations to animal welfare and encourage those that are already doing such a fine job. In Britain, the racing authorities work very closely with the highly regarded Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Results have shown that the level of supervision and care for racehorses on British courses is second to none. Instead of using emotive language and, on occasion, misleading statistics while trying to establish an unworkable ban on racing in Israel - driving the sport underground, where there will be no medical supervision for jockeys or veterinary care for horses, it would make far more sense and be of far greater use to the racing industry here if those who genuinely want to ensure the welfare of racehorses worked together with the Israeli Jockey Club in providing the best possible environment and facilities for the animals we all so love and admire. I very much hope this will be the case in future. PAUL ALSTER Israeli Jockey Club Zichron Ya'acov Righteous Germans get an award Sir, - Many Germans are dealing with their country's horrible past in a constructive manner. Thousands have made extraordinary contributions to preserving vestiges of former Jewish life in their local communities, including historical records, cultural material, cemeteries and synagogues. They carry out such activities as volunteers because they feel it is the right thing to do - the preservation of Jewish material is one of the few ways in which they can respond constructively. On January 27, 2009, five Germans will receive the Obermayer German-Jewish History Awards in the elegant Plenary Chamber of the Berlin Parliament. They will be selected by a jury of seven eminent and knowledgeable individuals, based on nominations to be submitted by September 23, 2008. The call for nominations and information about past awards and awardees can be found at (www.obermayer.us/award) and a hard copy of the call for nominations can be requested by writing to the German-Jewish Community History Council, 239 Chestnut Street, West Newton, MA 02465 USA; or email [email protected] These awards provide Jews throughout the world with the opportunity to recognize and honor German individuals who, in many cases, have devoted their lifetimes to such important endeavors. ARTHUR S. OBERMAYER West Newton, Massachusetts