October 2: Even back then

Regarding “Technion scores $130m. grant for joint venture in China” (September 30), China certainly respects Israeli know-how.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Even back then
Sir, – Regarding “Technion scores $130m. grant for joint venture in China” (September 30), China certainly respects Israeli know-how.
Three decades ago, following the Cultural Revolution, China needed to bring in foreign experts. Then, too, even before the two countries had established diplomatic relations, it turned to Israel.
Upon my arrival in Beijing I was informed of two pertinent facts: I was the first foreign adviser brought in by the Ministry of Development to aid in the reconstruction of the country’s severely depleted scientific community and, since I was an Israeli, I was to keep a low profile and not ask any questions (political, I assumed).
How different China was then. I was given in one payment my per diem living expenses in yuan for the entire month-long stay. I was not given a key to my hotel room – after all, no one would steal. And no one did, though that bundle of yuan was easily accessible in the room’s only draw and I was away the entire day, every weekday.
One nuance might be of interest.
Since Sunday is the day of rest in China and my hosts knew I was a Sabbath observer, I assumed I would have a two-day weekend. No such luck. Sunday morning, the crew with which I was working arrived full of smiles.
My interpreter told me that “when Dr. Schroeder is here, we are all Jewish!” GERALD SCHROEDER Jerusalem The writer is an expert in nuclear physics and earth sciences
Who’s delusional?
Sir, – Labor Party leader Shelley Yacimovich should be more cautious in her use of technical terms, especially when lecturing to an honorable forum of intellectuals such as J Street (“Livni at J Street confab: ‘We live in a tough neighborhood,’” September 30).
The word “paranoid” refers to a state where a person suffers from a delusion – i.e., a patently false belief that cannot be dispelled by reason, logic or concrete proofs.
The Iranian threat is totally proven by its leaders’ proclamations, its nuclear aspect by absolutely verified intelligence.
True delusions are exemplified by situations such as the belief that peace can be made now if Side A wishes hard and gives up vitally strategic land to Side B, whose openly avowed and proclaimed aim for over 60 years has been to totally destroy Side A.
Such a situation, combined with naivety, could lead, God forbid, to true disaster.
YEHUDA OPPENHEIM Jerusalem The writer is a clinical psychiatrist
First, do no harm
Sir, – I agree with what Benjamin W. Corn says in “Turning a blind eye on the evil ophthalmologist?” (Perspectives, September 30), but I believe some important aspects have been omitted.
While Bashar Assad is an especially disgusting medical murderer, he is not an exception. Others in this category spring to mind, such as the Nazi Joseph Mengele, George Habash (a pediatrician and leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), Harold Shipman (a British general practitioner who murdered 200 patients), Baruch Goldstein and Nidal Hasan, the US Army psychiatrist who carried out a mass shooting in the name of Islam.
That it is possible to construct a list of this nature suggests that there are major flaws in the method of selecting applicants for medical school.
I was also disappointed that Corn did not mention Maimonides’s prayer, which solicits Divine help so that the practitioner, physician or surgeon will have the attributes necessary to be a caring doctor. The fact that one prays for support indicates humility, a characteristic that is necessary for a caring doctor but which is absent all too often.
ALBERT JACOB Beersheba The writer is a retired physician
Big trouble
Sir, – With regard to “The Knesset Land of Israel Lobby and Danny Danon” (Think About It, September 30), Susan Hattis Rolef has a tough time seeing what most of us realized a long time ago – the Oslo Accords really brought a lot of pain and suffering to Israel and its citizens.
The author speaks of how the Arab boycott has basically disappeared since Oslo. But it has been replaced by the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign, which is not only an Arab boycott but one that stretches across the continent of Europe and is even making inroads in the minds of Americans, the last of Israel’s allies.
The author cites terrorism as being due to a “lack of progress.” That’s the way most peace-loving people deal with their frustrations: They blow others up.
We, the people of Israel, are in big trouble if our own citizens have no problem justifying the actions of our enemies while defending agreements and accords that have been violated over and over again by our “partners for peace.”
Ancestors indeed
Sir, – Ed Miliband, leader of Britain’s Labor Party, is stated to have “Jewish ancestors” (“British Labor leader woos voters before 2015 poll,” International News, September 25). In fact, he and his brother David are unquestionably halachically Jewish. Their Jewish grandfather, who lived in Poland and did not survive the Holocaust, was a very religious man and had, prewar, business relationships with my late father, Baruch (Berthold) Strauss.
In or about 1946 their widowed grandmother, having learned that Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld was bringing groups of Jewish children, mainly war orphans, to England, wrote to my father asking him to arrange for her two daughters to be included. He not only did so (only the elder daughter came), but my parents took the child into their home where, for many years, as a member of the family, every need was cared for. When she had finished her schooling at 16 she was reunited with her mother, who had since moved to Israel. From then onwards we never heard from her, though we knew she had returned to England.
The Miliband brothers frequently express their gratitude to Britain for having given a home to their parents, but never a word of thanks to Rabbi Schonfeld or my family. Some time ago I wrote to David Miliband in detail, but he has not replied.
Being halachically Jewish in that family will now come to an end since the Miliband brothers’ children will have only “Jewish ancestors,” as the brothers have married out.CHANNA KRITZLER Jerusalem
Fortunate generation
Sir, – I enjoyed your informative article on the important role of the Israel Navy’s Dvora patrol boats in securing our coastline (“Sailing with Boat 836,” Simhat Torah supplement, September 25).
My third son, Eitan, recently completed his military service in a similar unit based out of Ashdod, which secures the southern sector of our Mediterranean coastline. The article accurately portrayed the important activities of our young fighters. But I would like to add another, important aspect that was not addressed.
When we had the occasion to visit Eitan’s ship on Independence Day 2011, I was struck by something quite moving. First, when we visited the bridge, I noted that in the center of the control panel was a small Book of Psalms, enclosed in Plexiglas with instructions saying it was to be used in times of danger. Similarly, as it was a boat staffed in part by yeshiva students, we saw that a volume of Maimonides’s treatise Mishne Torah was sitting on the navigation table. Obviously, one of the students was studying in his down time.
One has to assume that Maimonides, in his wildest dreams hundreds of years ago, could not imagine that his children would be studying his works and defending the borders of an independent Jewish state.
We are fortunate to live in a generation that can be part of this miracle.