October 3: Internal rot

Dan Cohen was found guilty of bribery and fraud for crimes committed while a board member and chairman of the Israel Electric Corporation.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Sir, – Dan Cohen was found guilty of bribery and fraud for crimes committed while a board member and chairman of the Israel Electric Corporation (“Court sentences, fines exjudge for corruption,” October 1). What is truly shocking, though, is that several years before he was appointed to such a high position – which enabled him to enrich himself exorbitantly at the public expense – he had been dismissed from the judiciary for “ethical violations.”
The question that springs to mind is why someone with a blemished record was appointed to such an office in the first place.
On the facing page we read “Histadrut reinstates head of port union.” Cynics might wonder how thorough the Histadrut’s investigation of Alon Hassan was, considering its close relationship with the union.
Surely, an independent body should have investigated the charges.
Obviously, corruption runs deep and wide in the higher reaches of Israeli society. We might well be able to survive the onslaughts of our neighbors, the vicious anti-Semitism of the EU and even the thinly veiled threats from the Obama administration.
But if we are rotten at the core we will self-destruct.
STEPHEN COHEN Ma’aleh Adumim
Timely move
Sir, – I read with great interest “Incumbent reaches out to Anglo community in contentious Beit Shemesh mayoral race” (October 1). If it weren’t such a serious matter I would be quite amused.
In the past five years not a thing has been done for Anglos (present writer and husband included). Everything is for the haredim: summer programs for their children, activities for the intermediate days of holidays and scores of other goodies.
Now, suddenly, there will be a “special adviser for anglo affairs” – three weeks before the election.
Who’s the hijacker?
Sir, – In “Hijacking Zionism” (Borderline Views, October 1), David Newman says of the activities of certain “right-wing” groups: “All of this is in direct contrast to the very essence of what a democracy is really about and raises difficult questions concerning the future of democratic debate in Israel, a country in which opinions are divided between Left and Right, religious and secular, Jewish and Arab. If we start excluding and delegitimizing any of these opinions, we do indeed approach a form of fascism, of forcefully silencing all of those with whom we do not agree.”
Yet that is what he and other left-leaning people try to do in regard to Im Tirtzu and other bodies and groups with which they disagree.
I would remind Newman that freedom of speech applies to all and not just to him and his friends. That’s why he can continue teaching at Ben-Gurion University.
Sir, – I would like to wish a hearty “well done” to David Newman for hitting all the expected notes. We have the usual tired canard of decrying political extremism but then applying it only to right-wingers.
And of course, who can forget labeling anyone whose political beliefs differ from his own as “fascist?” (It’s a wonder he didn’t manage to work “McCarthyism” in as well.) However, his crowning achievement, the moment where he well and truly hits the jackpot, is when he lays out his xenophobic condemnation of MKs from the former Soviet Union as coming from “a society where there has never been any tradition of true democratic discourse.”
In one fell swoop he eliminates them and all their compatriots from being considered fit to participate in his version of proper democracy, where everything should be in the hands of those who know what’s best better than the people themselves do.
(One can only wonder what he thinks of Arab MKs, whose society is currently displaying its own version of “traditional” democratic discourse for all the world to see.) This is an absolutely splendid example of moral and political myopia at its finest. It should be taught in every school under the heading: What Not To Do.
Consumer warning
Sir, – So medical marijuana might be produced at a former Hershey chocolate bar plant (“Canada factory may get new life as marijuana farm,” Business & Finance, October 1).
While it is claimed that cocoa beans confer many health benefits, the product previously manufactured at the plant is considered a stimulant. I suggest that the marijuana to be produced there have a warning attached: “May contain traces of chocolate.”
Respect, please
Sir, – Every time the pope or a reverend is written about in your paper, the proper title is placed in front of his name. Then I saw “Prayers for Ovadia”(September 30).
I understand that the Post is written from a secular perspective, but could not the same respect be shown to a rabbi?
Milk – the cons
Sir, – Concerning “Moooo...re milk means better health” (Health & Science, September 29), I feel it necessary to clarify some points.
Characterizing anyone critical of dairy ingestion as “pseudoscientific” or part of some fringe element is inherently unfair. Your readers might be interested to know that a short but important book called Don’t Drink Your Milk! was written by the late “pseudoscientist” Dr.
Frank Oski when he was chairman of the department of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University.
Also, quoting someone who is an adviser to the Israel Dairy Board and a former chairman of the board of a dairy company as an objective expert is misleading, to say the least.
The number of people who are lactose intolerant, as reported in most of the scientific articles on the subject, is 15 percent for North Americans, closer to 90% for Asians and about 70% for Africans.
Claiming that Bantu women don’t live long enough to get osteoporosis is a specious argument.
Not all die at age 40.
Those who live to age 60 don’t have osteoporosis in similar incidence to whites.
A quick scan of the scientific literature available on the Internet yielded an article from the “pseudoscientific” American Journal of Epidemiology reporting that “frequent milk intake in adolescence increases risk of advanced prostate in older age.” Needless to say, there is a plethora of scientific data to show that milk is not the “perfect food.”
We can learn from nature that millions of mammals seem not to agree and are able to build big, strong bones eating hay, grass, leaves and seeds. I wager that none have osteoporosis.
The writer is a retired physician Health and Science Editor
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich responds: Milk is one of the most investigated foods in the world and there is a huge body of scientific research that recommends it for human consumption. I, who have always liked milk but have no ax to grind, can provide links to large numbers of peer-reviewed studies that back up this advice. I presented all the arguments of dairy opponents on the Internet. I interviewed Dr. Tovah Avrech, an expert whom I clearly identified as chief health adviser of the Diary Board and a former chairman of Tara. But I also interviewed the prominent sports medicine specialist Prof. Naama Constantini, who treats not only sportsmen but dancers and others who suffer from eating disorders and bone problems. She has no vested interests other than the public’s health and strongly believes in the health benefits of milk. I also presented the scientific argument of a large Israeli forum of clinical dietitians shocked by baseless opposition to dairy foods.