March 19: Running death

Why was the medical advice ignored – or was it a financial decision to go ahead with the half marathon?

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Running death
Sir, – The death of a young man following participation in the Tel Aviv half marathon was the second in two years (“TA to investigate decision to hold half marathon,” March 17). Now, the Ministry of Health and the Tel Aviv city council are leveling accusations at each other as being the responsible party.
Bear in mind that in addition to the death, 12 other participants were hospitalized in very serious condition. This indicates the dangers of holding such an event even when temperatures are not that high.
It is hard to believe that most of the 35,000 participants were in the necessary physical condition.
The health hazards are not fully appreciated, including the fact that over-consumption of water may be dangerous.
The publicity given to these events should be accompanied by clear explanations of the possible medical dangers, and participants should be advised to consult their personal physician and be sure of their level of physical fitness before deciding to take part.
The writer is a retired physician
Sir, – I was surprised and shocked to hear that the Tel Aviv half marathon had not been postponed because of the extreme heat last Friday.
Why was the medical advice ignored – or was it a financial decision to go ahead? SALLY SHAW Kfar Saba
Teachers and pay
Sir, – MK Shimon Ohayon’s article on the importance of compensating teachers (“Improving the status of teachers in Israel,” Comment & Features, March 17) is on target.
Only last week I was talking to one of my first-year students at Tel Aviv University, who left her lucrative post-army job in hi-tech to complete her BA degree. She said that when she gets her degree she really does not want to go back to hi-tech because it is not nearly as important as being a teacher. She added that everyone says she’s crazy because everyone knows teachers don’t get paid well.
Ohayon’s article clearly spells out the situation. Hopefully, he can do something to improve the situation.
Sir, – “Improving the status of teachers in Israel” insufficiently stresses one important component – the respect that children should show their teachers.
The idea of calling a teacher by his or her first name (a common practice here, even in kindergarten) does not allow the teacher to be on a higher level than the child. In my school days in Australia we always stood when the teacher entered the classroom, and said “Good morning, Miss/Mr. ...” until the teacher responded and gave us permission to sit.
When one of my grandchildren recently complained that her teacher was not a “real friend,” I explained that being a friend was not her role. Friends are from one’s peer group.
Teachers, like parents, are there to educate children and should be respected, even revered. This value should be taught at home.
Teachers fulfill an important role in every child’s life. In addition to receiving a much better salary, they are entitled to the respect that would make their job as disciplinarian that much easier. It is up to parents to inculcate this value into their children, even from kindergarten and first grade.
Coalition relief
Sir, – One could almost laugh at some of the haredi comments about our new governing coalition – if they weren’t so sad (“Haredim denounce ‘axis of hatred’ in new ‘evil government,’” March 15).
They do not seem to realize that this is how they themselves are perceived by the rest of the country. The evil is in forcing religion upon us and behaving in an ugly way to people who do not hurt them as they hurt others, including their own people.
It is a relief that they are not in the government. They should be in synagogues as rabbis. This is my opinion. I come from a very religious background, but my grandparents were not fanatics.
Tel Aviv
Sir, – Gershon Baskin’s latest column (“No more unilateralism,” Encountering Peace, March 14) is difficult to digest with all its one-sided, slanted double-speak.
Do we want to look far back and debate our possible mistakes and what we should or shouldn’t have done? If so, as a proper balance we should also scrutinize Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his denial of the Holocaust.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has stated time and again, for all the world to hear, his readiness to sit and negotiate without pre-conditions. Countless gestures have been made to the Palestinians. On their part, not a one – not even openly stating that Israel is a Jewish country.
As much as we’re willing to talk without preconditions, it’s a stalemate because, to be honest, they are not in the same place. Maybe as much as we never wanted this, a unilateral step must be taken before it’s too late.
ZF’s values
Sir, – With regard to your recent news item “British Jews celebrate strong ties with Israel” (March 13) and David Newman’s column “The Zionist Federation policy of exclusion” (Borderline Views, March 5), since the beginning of the year, we at the Zionist Federation (ZF) of Great Britain have seen the greatest successes from our largest events. These include our most popular Parliament Lobby Day ever, the ZF Science Week, which drew extensive national media coverage in showcasing groundbreaking achievements from Israeli scientists, and our largest ZF Gala Dinner to date.
These events sit alongside all the many other day-to-day activities working on behalf of Israel. However, we feel we need to work harder in communicating the principles and values of the ZF that drive the passion behind this work.
The ZF is deeply committed to the State of Israel and its security. We believe that pursuing peace is an obligation set upon us to ensure that our children need not know war.
We believe in a two-state solution that provides peace and security for Israel and an independent state for the Palestinians, where both prosper economically and work together to maintain peace. We also believe in Israel as a Jewish state living in peace and security among its Muslim neighbors.
At the heart of the ZF lies a dedicated liberal and democratic ideology. Israel, alongside other Western democracies, must protect all its minorities, hold human rights to the highest standards, seek social justice for all and support religious pluralism. We do not support religious or secular extremism. In fact, we support absolute tolerance in a society that holds that all men and woman are treated equally no matter their color, race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity.
We believe in the future of Israel as a safe, peaceful and prosperous light among nations. These values are shared by our membership and the organizations that work alongside us in actively engaging and promoting Israel in the UK. We would like to ensure that, going forward, there is greater dialogue and cooperation with progressive Judaism and that we engage the younger community in working for these values.
PAUL CHARNEY London The writer is chairman of the Zionist Federation
CORRECTION The orbit of the Panstarrs C/2011 L4 comet brought it within 164 million km. of Earth, and not as stated in “Comet to soar over Israel” (March 18).