March 9: Support for strikers

Much is expected of social workers, but they are given very little in return. Adequate compensation is long overdue.

Support for strikers
Sir, – I am writing to express my solidarity and strong support for the social workers of Israel in their struggle for recognition of their crucial contributions and for fair compensation in return (“Almost 150 emergency calls rejected as social workers begin strike,” March 7).
I teach and provide clinical consultation in Israel and work closely with many social workers. They are at the forefront of caring for the most troubled and under-served members of society, including adults with chronic mental illness, families with multiple adversities, women victimized by domestic violence and abused children.
The work they do is emotionally draining and requires much skill, energy and devotion. Much is expected of social workers, but they are given very little in return.
Adequate compensation is long overdue.
ALICIA LIEBERMAN San Francisco, The writer is on the faculty of the psychology department at UCSF
Democrats? Not!
Sir, – It is surprising that two apparently accomplished academics such as Tamar Hermann and David Newman can join together and produce an op-ed like “Israel’s democratic veneer” (Comment & Features, March 7).
Even conceding, for argument’s sake, the gross caricatures of the minorities they despise, their idea of democracy seems like something out of Orwell’s 1984. According to them, anyone who doesn’t believe in their politically correct left-wing vision of the world is obviously anti-democratic.
The unstated corollary of their argument is that these right-wing and religious fanatics don’t deserve the right to vote in the writers’ democracy. Some democrats!
To the bitter end
Sir, – I usually enjoy Allon Sinai’s sports articles, but I was really disappointed by his “Mac TA dumps Hap J’lem in Nokia clinic” (March 7), especially where he stated that Maccabi’s run in the final quarter “sent Hapoel fans on their way home long before the final whistle.”
I do not know if Sinai was in the Nokia arena that night. If he was, he would have seen and heard the 500 Hapoel fans who traveled with their team to Tel Aviv. We did not stop cheering, and definitely not one of us walked out. We are proud of our team even when it is defeated, and will always stay by its side to the end of the game.
The only ones who left early were some yellow and blue Maccabi fans who apparently did not want to get stuck in the post-game traffic.
We should know better
Sir, – Regarding “Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv’s Gan Meir to protest gov’t plans to deport illegal residents’ children” (March 6), our government, which has nothing better to do, wants to deport children who were born here. Went to school here. Speak, read and write fluent Hebrew and no other language.
Counter-demonstrators chanted “Israel is a Jewish country.” I seem to remember a similar quote: “Germany for Germans.” This did not include Jews, and we all know what happened there.
Kiryat Ono
And what about us?
Sir, – The description of Liat Collins’s flight to London courtesy of British Airways was mouthwatering (“The ultimate in ‘Bleisure’ – High-flying aspirations on BA,” Travel Trends, March 6).
However, while the airline acknowledges that it profits from its first-class and business-class passengers, it should be giving some thought to improving service for the majority: those who are squashed like sardines into the regular cabin.
At one time, Executive Club members could reserve their seats when booking, a very useful benefit when flying with children or other family members. Last time I booked a bar mitzva trip for five, I had great difficulty getting seats in close proximity because, like all passengers, I could check in online only 24 hours before the flight. My travel agent had put in a special request in advance, but when I checked in at the earliest opportunity, I found that we were scattered throughout the cabin, without enough vacant spots to move us to a more convenient seating arrangement.
Executive Club membership also did not offer much compassion when, after that midnight phone call we immigrants dread so much, I had to take the first plane to London to get to a funeral. Shocked and in tears, I managed to get the last seat on the plane, but BA charged me the maximum price and would not allow payments on my credit card.
And this past October, we rejected a breakfast that was the worst meal we’d ever experienced on any flight. The flight attendant placed the kosher tray, all signed, stamped and sealed, on our tables, but immediately removed the “hot dish” because he said it had not been sufficiently heated and would take another half hour. Meanwhile, the yogurt and juice were frozen solid, the roll was like a rock, and the dessert was a dry piece of cake standing in a puddle of frozen custard.
My complaint to BA in Tel Aviv was answered by a lukewarm letter of apology.
In the membership booklet, BA claims that passengers can save money with special deals it has with retail services, but in truth the hotels and other tourist services on offer are in the higher income bracket and not affordable for the average passenger.
While first-class and business-class passengers would not take the no-frills option of Easyjet, the regular passengers of BA are very tempted by the lower prices.
Who needs a food service when it is so bad? And for a small fee, one can reserve seats.
Incorrect & ridiculous
Sir, – In “Fifty years later, new information surfaces about Eichmann trial” (March 1), it is mentioned that a special “document” had been discovered about the prosecution’s decision “not to call a survivor to testify because of his large and muscular physique,” and that it would be “better to call up people who looked more ‘suitable’ for the part of Holocaust survivor.”
Having been one of the officers of Bureau O6 of the Israel Police who investigated Eichmann and met a great number of survivors in order to decide which were potential witnesses, and also having been the personal assistant of chief prosecutor Gideon Hausner during the trial, I wish to inform you that this is completely incorrect and ridiculous.
We tried to choose people who were able physically and mentally to stand in front of this Nazi criminal and tell what they saw and what they went through. Witnesses like Antek Zuckermann, Dr. Leo Wells, Abraham Gordon, Frida Mazia, Abraham Amiel, Shalom Cholawski, Esther Goldstein and many others were young, strong and “good looking.” Out of 110 witnesses who appeared at the trial, only one fainted while giving testimony.
In his book Justice in Jerusalem, Hausner writes (page 293): “I wanted people who would tell what they had seen with their own eyes and what they have experienced on their own bodies....
I took it over myself, together with Chief Inspector Michael Goldmann of the Police, himself a survivor of the Holocaust....
We read through hundreds of statements at Yad Vashem... putting us in touch with prospective witnesses...
who appeared less tongue-tied and finally picked out the people who would later give evidence in court.”
Claims that we avoided bringing to the witness stand survivors who looked healthy and strong are groundless. On the contrary, we avoided bringing witnesses who seemed physically fragile.
I don’t think a new gimmick has to be invented in order to evoke people’s interest in the Eichmann Trial. It does not need it!