October 30: Utter futility

Israel is clearly demonstrating that its response to terror will be the causing of some inconvenience rather than the required commensurate actions.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Utter futility Sir, - I fully endorse and commend your editorial "No security, no power" (October 26) especially for its commonsense exposure of the impotence inherent in Israel's policy of apologetics and not basing our security posture on our own vital needs and concerns. There is utter futility in a plan that merely cuts off electricity to Gaza for a few hours a day. In doing so we are clearly demonstrating that our response to terror will be the causing of some inconvenience rather than the required commensurate actions. We are openly proclaiming to the terrorists that they need not fear serious retaliation because we are only willing to "annoy" instead of hurting them. We are losing lives, limbs and property while they will be unable to make coffee from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. If you were a terrorist would you stop the Kassams? ZEV CHAMUDOT Petah Tikva Next step Sir, - If cutting off the electricity to Gaza is collective punishment, so is the holding of residents of Sderot hostage to the terror of the Kassams. Next step - no electricity until our missing soldiers Gilad Schalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are standing before us. RUBY RAY KARZEN Jerusalem I'd bash him Sir, - While I always enjoy reading Herb Keinon's column, I find it very jarring when he refers to his life partner and the mother of his children as "the wife" in the same way you would refer to "the car" or "the house" ("Spheres of influence," October 28). What is wrong with "my wife"? If my husband referred to me as "the wife," I'd bash him. GLORIA DEUTSCH Kfar Saba 'Me' syndrome Sir, - Michael Freund's "Our slow, steady slide toward narcissism" (October 24) detailing the "me" attitude in Israeli society is not only true of Israel but of all Western countries. Despite this way of thinking there many citizens who are doing good work helping disadvantaged people who are worse off than themselves. Often they work as volunteers or on a low salary. Coincidentally, on the same day that this article appeared, I and three other members of the Barnet Israel Group from North London were visiting a religious youth village in the Lower Galilee. Hodayot caters to more than 250 children who are in need of a safe, caring environment. All their educational social and religious requirements are addressed in this boarding school by a dedicated and loving staff who are light years away from the "me" attitude depicted by Freund. There are, of course, many such organizations doing sterling work throughout Israel, often with little praise or recognition. The more people give of their spare time in helping others the more they will lift themselves out of the "me" syndrome and become better citizens. MARTIN BERNARD COHEN Netanya/Barnet The glass isn't empty Sir, - I was saddened by the one-sided, glass is empty attitude of Michael Freund. Certainly, we always have room to improve. At the same time, let's recognize we live in a society that probably has a greater proportion of charitable organizations and hesed-minded people than anywhere else on the globe. Yad Sarah, Ezer Mizion, Yad Eliezer, dozens of soup kitchens and gemach funds, just to name a precious few. As a matter of fact, just turning to the next page after Fruend's opinion piece is the essay on Jewish Social Action Month and Kol Dor by Isaac Herzog and Michael Melchior. And right now hundreds are participating in the Alyn Wheels of Love Charity Bike Ride for Alyn Pediatric and Adolescent Rehabilitation Hospital,one of the world's leading specialists in the active and intensive rehabilitation of infants, children and adolescents. STUART PILICHOWSKI Mevaseret Zion Good reason Sir, - In championing the cause of accepting aliya by the Bnei Menashe, a cause which I heartily endorse, Karen Kleen presents information which I find difficult to understand (Letters, October 26). Thus, she criticizes the Law of Return as being enacted by "some fools" who decided to introduce Hitler's laws. While the definition of who is a Jew for purposes of aliya is similar to the Nazi definition, it is so for the very good reason of providing refuge for those at risk of persecution because of their ethnic origins. The divergence of this definition of who is a Jew from that of Halacha could be dealt with admirably by legislation which would allow of much easier conversion. If it is true that 40 percent of Russian immigrants are not Jewish, I have no doubt, having met with many of them, that easing the difficulties of conversion would deal effectively with this problem for a significant number. The most puzzling aspect of her letter is her implied criticism of Russian olim for seeking to move to the US, when her own address is stated as being Boyton Beach, Florida. MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond Better investment Sir, - Your editorial "Finish the fence" (October 14) contradicts the conclusions of a report by the Brodet Committee in June which called the fence "an example of faulty and wasteful management." The report said that the fence, which will cost NIS 13 billion-NIS15b., did not improve security and was built without proper analysis or economic considerations. There is no evidence that the fence stops terrorists; they are caught at checkpoints and in preemptive actions. The fence/barrier is built for political - not security - reasons, to mark the boundary of a future Palestinian state. Imagine how many lives could be saved by investing this fortune in improving roads, health services, preventing pollution and even a bit for education. MOSHE DANN Jerusalem I volunteer Sir, - As a retired educator, I would like to volunteer to be an arbitrator for the educational strike going on for too long in this country ("Olmert says he won't give in to teachers' demands," October 29). There are many of us who live here now and have walked the picket lines in our previous job. We could see both sides of the picture and might be able to help solve this problem. Salaries, overcrowded classrooms, additional educational requirements, observations by supervisors, and hiring and firing of teachers are some of the things we might be able to help with. Teachers deserve respect and students deserve an education. Let us do something about it. MADALYN SCHAEFFER Jerusalem Try France24 Sir, - For all those HOT subscribers mourning the removal of CNN from our screens, I recommend the France24 news channel, 070, broadcasting in English. We find it more sophisticated and less biassed than CNN, with informative interviews and roundtable discussions. CAROL CLAPSADDLE Jerusalem Vindication Sir, - The discovery by scientists in Finland that spraying human urine over crops is beneficial ("New Worlds: Golden showers," October 28) has finally vindicated the words of countless parents: "Finnish your vegetables if you want to grow up to be big and strong." NATANEL SILVER Jerusalem