May 4: The ‘a’ word again

Baskin should understand what the word means before he tries to tar us with that brush. He should ask an African who lived under the system.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
The ‘a’ word again

Sir, – Gershon Baskin (“People of Israel – wake up!” Encountering Peace, May 1) likes the idea of using the word “apartheid” at any price, just like US Secretary of State John Kerry. He, too, tries to use it as a weapon to bash Israel.
While every shopping mall, hospital, theater, hotel, beach area, nature reserve, etc. is enjoyed by our Arab citizens – who, by the way, are better off in Israel than in any Arab country – Baskin is hissing “apartheid,” albeit modified by “a new form of.” He just rewrites the definition and voila! But the word has always been a red flag, and using it deliberately, even if erroneously, is deceitful.
He should understand what the word means before he tries to tar us with that brush. He should ask an African who lived under the system.
Sir, – Regular readers of your columns are familiar with the repeated pro-Palestinian views of Gershon Baskin. However, in his most recent diatribe he reaches a new level of blatantly anti-Israel rhetoric despite his claim to be a proud Israeli.
Every paragraph can be countered by describing the factual situation existing between our prime minister and the head of the Palestinian Authority. However, this would occupy too much printed space, so I will limit myself to commenting on one of his statements: “There is no acceptable two-state solution that does not allow the Palestinians to have their state without Israeli control.”
There is already a Palestinian state known as Jordan, whose area west of the river resulted in its frequently used name.
Having conquered the Jordanians in the war they waged against us, we can legitimately annex a small part of that land and return the rest to the country whose citizenship the West Bank Arabs so readily accepted for 19 years.
Tel Mond
Blessed memory
Sir, – About a score of years ago, Prof. Reuven Feuerstein (“Feuerstein: A tribute from a very grateful mother,” Comment & Features, May 1) came to teach at Yale University on a sabbatical leave. He took up residence in Monsey, New York, where my husband and I were privileged to be part of a group of educators and physicians he assembled on a semi-regular basis to disseminate his then-revolutionary ideas about the learning potential of all individuals, however challenged they might seem.
Many years later we visited the Feuerstein Center in Jerusalem and were amazed to see the extraordinary results of his methods.
Sometime toward the end of Prof. Feuerstein’s sabbatical year, my cousin discovered a developmental problem with her young child and we referred her to the professor, who generously gave of his time to meet with them. His words to them were: “This is a thinking child.” In addition, his practical advice gave them the fortitude to bring their child to his potential in the ensuing years.
May Prof. Feuerstein’s memory be a blessing and an inspiration to continue his good work.
Monsey, New York/ Beit Shemesh
Fat cats, poor saps
Sir, – With regard to “The cost of kashrut” (Editorial, April 29), I am thoroughly disgusted with the Chief Rabbinate and its hold on kashrut, forcing the prices up so high it becomes impossible for thousands of people to have chicken for Shabbat. However, my main complaint is about Tnuva, Strauss and Tara, as well as Osem, Telma and other food companies that ship their products abroad.
We spend time in Canada, where we were born. Every summer, when we travel there to visit family, we are upset and disgusted to see that Israeli products are 20-30 percent cheaper there than what we have to pay here.
It pains me to say that the cost of living here is crazy. The fat cats are getting fatter and the poor saps are getting thinner.
When will our government wake up and do the right thing?

Heavy heart
Sir, – Your April 20 editorial about little Adele Biton and her family’s plight (“Adele’s sad saga”) and the response I read several days later from one of your readers (“Mutual guarantors,” Letters, April 24) left me very unsettled.
My heart is heavy when I think of the hardships this family faces, and I pray for the miracle that can save this little girl.
However, as a person who has spent much time working in various hospital settings, including a rehabilitation center, I assure you that things are not as simple as they seem.
Beit Loewenstein is widely regarded as a top rehabilitation facility, where a professional and loving staff provides excellent care to all patients. But the key word here is “rehabilitation.”
The number of beds is limited, and there is probably a lengthy waiting list of those who are in desperate need of rehabilitation. Therefore, when patients have reached their full rehabilitation potential, as Adele sadly has, they must be discharged and room made for the next patient.
This is not a financial calculation, but a process of clinical reasoning where the staff is seeking to donate from their knowledge and expertise to as many patients as possible. The end result might cause it to appear callous or unsympathetic, but it is the responsibility of the staff to keep a broad perspective and make difficult decisions like this on a daily basis.
I am looking neither to judge nor to suggest what should be done in this highly complex situation.
I’m simply pointing out that in the equation there is another innocent child, perhaps the victim of a car accident, stroke, abuse or even terror, who remains nameless and faceless but is enduring immeasurable hardship while waiting for his or her turn for a bed and treatment.
Both sides at fault
Sir, – The world has had enough of the Middle East conflict.
The leaders on both sides have failed their people miserably for six decades. The proof is screaming at the world.
To the Israelis the question is: Why did the Jewish leadership (both Israeli and Jews in the Diaspora) not at least try to put themselves in the shoes of the Palestinians and realize that if there was ever to be peace it was in their best interest to do everything in their power to assist them to thrive and prosper in a shared land? To the Palestinians the question is: As a people guided by the tenets of Islam – a religion that recognizes and shares many of the prophets of the Old Testament and has always portrayed itself as peace-loving and tolerant of other religions – why have you turned your back so forcefully on the biblical claim of the Jewish people? How did you allow your political and religious leadership to negate these facts and lead you to the suffering and humiliation you have endured for over 60 years? My final question needs answers from both sides: Why does neither of you recognize that when the state is controlled by one religion it creates two classes of people – believers and non-believers? Non-believers will always be treated as second-class citizens, an affront to an individual’s basic human rights.
Regrettably, the extremists on both sides are now running the show. Until the moderates take back the agenda, the suffering will go on and it will take generations to cleanse the hatred and bitterness.
Given the damage and lost potential, the world’s heart both cries and is fed-up with both peoples.