March 4: Good for brownie points

There is not and has never been a plan for a Holocaust curriculum in any UNRWA school.

Good for brownie points
Sir, – Contrary to what you reported in “Palestinians vow to prevent Holocaust education in UNRWA-run schools” (March 2), there is not and has never been a plan for a Holocaust curriculum in any UNRWA school.
When this story first surfaced, almost a year ago, our agency explored every level of the PA’s Ministry of Education, since local UNRWA schools follow the curriculum and use the textbooks of the host entity, as they do in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
We also examined all levels of the UNRWA education department. Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, director of the executive office of UNRWA, replied to our query: “I am writing to clarify that there is no ‘Holocaust curriculum’ as such in UNRWA schools and there are no plans to introduce one.”
There is, however, one aspect of the Palestinian educational system in UNRWA schools that does relate to the Holocaust. In every Palestinian school library, students have easy access to the doctoral thesis written by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas 26 years ago titled “The Other Side: The Secret Relations between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement.”
What UNRWA spokespeople have gained by spreading the false notion that they are planning to initiate Holocaust education in their schools is new support and credibility with Jewish groups across the globe.
DAVID BEDEIN Jerusalem The writer is director of the Israel Resource News Agency
Driving him crazy
Sir, – I made aliya in November 2009. A few months later, my wife and I applied for drivers licenses.
She sailed through the procedure while I, who have been behind the wheel for more than 50 years, am still driving with my US license.
I am an amputee. I have been driving in the US, Canada and Israel for 23 years since I lost my left leg, without an accident or even a parking ticket.
But here I need to undergo a review.
I was given an appointment to be checked by a doctor in Tel Aviv. Result: almost two hours each way to the Health Ministry office, an hour and a half waiting in the hallway, and finally a brief examination that proved I am healthy and able to drive (this, after two visits to my own doctor and a visit to a cardiologist acknowledging the same).
Besides the time spent getting the paper work done for the appointment, I was charged NIS 584 to see the doctor and was not able to charge it to my health plan. I still need to get the doctor’s report, go back to the licensing bureau and make an appointment for a driving test.
Another item that should be looked into is parking permits for visitors with disabilities. Because my wife and I are often in the US for more than a month, we drive long-term rental cars in Israel. Unlike in the US, where the placard is for a person, here it is for a car, and each car we rent requires a new placard, which takes weeks to obtain.
Any visitor using a handicapped placard from the US receives a parking ticket in Jerusalem. I have a placard from New York State.
The parking ticket is for NIS 500.
There has to be a better way.
Waste not
Sir, – Have you ever wondered what happens to fruits and vegetables deemed unsellable by supermarkets? I never did – until my son came back from work at a local supermarket complaining about the disposal of large amounts of produce that was slightly less attractive.
At a time when so many families struggle to make ends meet, this behavior is downright sinful. Indeed, there is an injunction in the Torah against useless destruction.
Since there are so many caring people, I call on them to volunteer to arrange produce bins in supermarkets for allocation to the needy. Since supermarkets would be somewhat inconvenienced, they could advertise their cooperation, something that would only help their image.