May 23: Beds and ice cream

Netanyahu himself doesn't control the purse-strings that compensate him for the effort he makes on behalf of his nation.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Beds and ice cream
Sir, – The puerile and sniveling manner in which both Susan Hattis-Rolef (“Poverty in Israel – and the prime minister’s expenses,” Think About It, Comment and Features, May 20) and Jeff Barak (“Israel’s modern-day royal family,” Reality Check, May 20) decried Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s need to be well-rested when arriving in London at an important gathering of the world’s “greats,” or his penchant for a certain flavor of ice cream, is appalling, and smacks of hostile envy.
Surely, they both must understand that others, not Netanyahu himself, control the purse-strings that compensate him for the tireless effort he makes on behalf of his nation?
Limoges, France
Sir, – One has to wonder why Jeff Barak finds it necessary to mention Prof. Benzion Netanyahu z”l while correctly criticizing the Netanyahus for their reckless spending. One thing has nothing to do with the other.
Barak is correct on the latter and way off base on the former.
The late Prof. Benzion Netanyahu was forced to spend his professional life teaching in the States because the “liberal” academic establishment here in Israel refused to offer him a teaching position. Prof. Benzion Netanyahu was very active in the states during the Holocaust trying to save Jewish lives with the late Hillel Kook, and doesn’t need to explain his whereabouts to anyone, especially Barak.
Petah Tikva
Sir, – If all expenses from the prime minister are paid for by the state and with the money of the taxpayers, why is Netanyahu receiving a salary? Netanyahu can follow the example of the mayor of Jerusalem, who receives only one shekel per month for his salary. Maybe during his next four years in office, Netanyahu can work without a salary, and instead, his salary can be given to six needy families, giving each NIS 5,000 a month.
Sir, – In regards to “Comptroller to probe PM’s financial issues this week,” (May 20), may I respectfully draw the prime minister’s attention to two examples, which could well guide him in his use of the public purse for his personal comfort: 1. The fact that David Ben-Gurion used a Jeep to travel about is well known.
2. US president Harry Truman kept postage stamps in his desk, for his personal correspondence.
Beit Zayit
Sir, – Gone are the days when Israel’s prime ministers set a clear and unmistakable example of living modestly. David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, and Golda Meir must be spinning in their graves. Nowadays, we do not elect our heads of state, we anoint “kings.”
And, he never even offered me a taste of all that pistachio ice cream!
Ashdot Ya’acov
Sir – Susan Hattis-Rolef wrote that the mean income is the one at which “half the population is above this figure and half below.”
She then went on to state that “the mean monthly salary in Israel... is somewhere in the range of NIS 5,500-NIS 6,000” whereas “the average salary is around NIS 8,000-NIS 9,000.”
Hattis-Rolef and the Jerusalem Post staff have confused mean and median. Mean income is another term for average income, and is determined by adding the salaries of all wage-earners and then dividing by the number of wage-earners. It is the median income, not the mean income, that is one which half the population is above and half is below. At least she’s correct in realizing that if the income disparity between rich and poor is high, the average income may be significantly higher than the median income.
Talking teeth
Sir, – I appreciated the very concise report in The Jerusalem Post relating to fluoridation of the water supply. (“Health minister attacks dental health protection based on false information,” Comment and Features, May 20).
As a retired dental practitioner from the UK, I lived through the time when fluoride was introduced into the water supply and watched over the years as the mouths of children improved from almost untreatable dental disease to a very controllable condition. The anti-fluoridationists used the same arguments then that we hear today.
Excessive amounts of fluoride are dangerous, but we are talking about the addition of one part per million to the water supply. This minimal addition to the water supply does not seem to have been emphasized. The writers of the report should be commended for its excellence.
Perhaps our new health minister should also read it and take note of its contents.
Pardess Hanna
Sir, – I was very happy to see your article about the health minister’s appalling threat to stop the compulsory fluoridation of water by municipalities in Israel.
The article was a joint effort signed by Ted Tulchinsky, Jonathan Mann, Harold Sgan- Cohen, Elliot M. Berry, Rifaat Safadi, and Ronny Starkshall, and their list of credentials at the end of the article indicate that they must be amongst the most knowledgeable and outstanding authorities on the subject in Israel.
Against this we have a laywoman who supported her decision with the most ill-informed and ignorant set of arguments – all of which have long since been discredited and discarded by worldwide health authorities.
Israel’s continuing successful progress in reducing dental cavities is clearly reflected in the statistics ever since fluoride was introduced about 10 years ago.
Mrs. German, you should call on the authors of this article to come and discuss the matter with you! If not, you are liable to bring about a catastrophe in terms of ill-health and suffering in the lives of Israel’s future generations
Sir, – A number of medical professionals in Israel have attacked Yael German, the new health minister, claiming that she has made decisions based on false information. I think that this is an undeserved allegation. Although the good doctors repeatedly invoke the United States as a preeminent decisor of health, they might be unaware of the inappropriate relationship between the FDA, the pharmaceutical/medical industry, and big business, which unfortunately drives many US health decisions and practices. I, therefore, find it ill-advised to give carte-blanche credence to a lot of what is promulgated as safe and effective by the United States these days.
I also imagine that the doctors are not aware of the recent Harvard School of Public Health study which determined that fluoride lowers children’s IQs, nor did they review any of the information and references that Dr.
Moolenburgh provided in advertisements in The Jerusalem Post, on Friday May 3 and Friday, May 10, about the problems he and his medical colleagues discovered with fluoridation and why he fought against fluoridation in Holland.
I am very disappointed that these doctors can’t understand that others’ studies, observations, and opinions might be valid, too. One doesn’t need to be a medical expert to understand, as German does, that it is bad practice (and in any other context would be illegal) to medicate an entire country without consent, without consideration of the dosage each person might actually be getting, nor consideration of other medical conditions that might make such medication harmful. Dental health is not the only consideration we citizens have.
CORRECTION The op-ed in yesterday’s paper by Ari Briggs (“Et tu, EU?”) contained elements of a speech given by Caroline Glick in London in January. The writer apologizes for not crediting Glick for her comments in the article.