March 11, 2018: Breastfeeding babies

On motherhood, Arabs in Israel, and AIPAC.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Breastfeeding babies
It was so heartwarming to see the beautiful picture of an Israeli mother breastfeeding her baby in a buttercup field (“Small gifts – big results,” March 8). I also laud the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews for its efforts to give financial help to mothers and babies with limited financial resources.
However, together with many other NGOs that donate to the welfare of babies and young children, they make the mistake of equating good nutrition with vouchers for formula.
The picture tells the story. The most vulnerable babies need to be breastfed, and the most valuable contribution to a mother with a small infant is to link her with a voluntary lactation consultant in the very first days after birth. There are very few breastfeeding problems that cannot be solved with adequate support and information. These babies will then thrive and suffer fewer infections, digestive disturbances and better health into old age, as all the studies now show.
Formula may be a quick fix, but it needs to be mixed precisely in sterile conditions, and it is missing the vital antibodies that are contained in mother’s milk.
Some years ago, when I was president of the now-defunct Israel Childbirth Education Center (which closed for lack of funding), I approached several NGOs, offering them the services of 70 lactation consultants who were prepared to work voluntarily on a hotline and, where necessary, follow up with personal visits. We needed the funding just to set up the infrastructure. They all refused. They continue to provide formula in their care packages.
Correcting past injustices
Rivka Lazovsky, chairperson of World WIZO, paints a not-so-rosy picture of the position of women in public activity (“International Women’s Day: Women and the local question,” Comment & Features, March 8).
Out of 257 heads of local authorities in Israel, only six (a bit over 2%) are women. On the other hand, there is slow but steady progress in the number of women presenting themselves as candidates for leadership, and Ms. Lazovsky believes that “on a clear day the moon no longer looks so far away.”
I believe it is not enough to aspire to a 50% representation – there must be reparations to correct historical distortions.
After achieving 50% representation, women should aspire and demand to reach the 98% representation reached by men, and for the same number of years that men have dominated these positions. Only in this manner can the injustice of the past be corrected.
A jaundiced eye on AIPAC
With regard to “Gabbay: No security without separating from Palestinians” (March 6), I couldn’t agree more – except I would prefer they were called what they are: Arabs.
Gabbay’s idea of separation differs vastly from mine, of course. There is only one way to live in peace in one’s own land; therefore, our enemies must be encouraged one way or another to leave.
Mr. Gabbay says: “We will never compromise on the security of our country.” But that has already been done by supporting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and refusing to destroy Hamas and Hezbollah despite the knowledge that they are growing stronger than ever, with the ability to strike every part of our land.
Elsewhere in the same day’s paper (“At AIPAC’s annual policy conference, bipartisanship still a strategic asset”), you quote Gabbay as telling AIPAC: “We must keep the support for Israel bipartisan. This is a strategic asset for Israel’s security... The core foundation of our security is our alliance with you.”
Wrong. The core foundation of our security is keeping outside interference to a minimum and doing what is best for us – and this must always be to build our land for the Jewish people. It is our sole purpose for having been returned.
And in the same paper, there is also “Right-wing politicians, settlers say AIPAC falsely claiming Israel supports two-state option.” Why is this false? Even taking into consideration that AIPAC actually thinks it is a great idea (I think it’s time they closed shop), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has never walked back his recognition of the “rights” of the fake Palestinians to our land.
The prime minister refuses to allow the PA to collapse. He reiterates his acceptance of a two-state solution and continues to make concessions to the terrorists, even at the risk to Israelis. He also refuses to take back control of the Temple Mount, leaving a Muslim flag flying over it, denigrating and humiliating our people.
I would say that AIPAC is only claiming what is true.
NPs provide a response
Regarding “Physicians clash with IMA on nurse practitioners” (March 2), as senior nurse practitioners, we have an obligation and mission to represent the larger group of NP olim who have lived and worked in Israel for many years.
We applaud the Health Ministry for establishing the status of NP in the Israeli healthcare system. Reporter Judy Siegel did an exemplary job of outlining the current issue and struggle, yet we want to clarify one point so the larger population can understand the real issue.
The ministry is not giving nurses extra privileges previously delegated only to physicians. The newly trained professionals are being educated to practice a totally new professional role – that of the NP. Nurse practitioners are not only learning new skills, they are learning to be a new kind of clinician and are being trained by the very doctors that Prof. Leonid Eidelman, head of the Israel Medical Association, represents.
The pioneering physicians who are educating the new NPs not only believe there are more than enough patients to go around, they believe that adding NPs to the collaborative healthcare team will create a better healthcare system. This was well represented by the responses of the Health Ministry director-general, the directors-general of Rambam Medical Center and Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and others.
Since 1965, thousands of research studies have shown that NPs provide equivalent care to physicians with regard to safety and effectiveness in primary and specialty care throughout the world.
Each of us individually has dreamed of being an NP in Israel. Since making aliya, NP olim like us have had to put aside their credentials and skills because there were no options to work as NPs. Many of us chose to remain in the profession of nursing. As licensed and certified NPs and olim, we look forward to becoming integral contributors to the healthcare system in which we are employed. Furthermore, although foreign-trained NPs were not included in the policy-making process of NP development in Israel, we hope our many collective decades of experience will contribute toward mentoring new NP graduates and shaping this essential profession in Israel.
We have established a professional organization of NPs in Israel and have a steering committee ready to meet with the Health Ministry on a regular basis so that we can all work together on this important endeavor.
As proud NPs, we will protect and defend our highly-skilled, highly-educated, highly-credentialed profession from naysayers and the uninformed. But the real impact we have on the healthcare system will only be felt when we are taking care of our patients and providing excellent healthcare services.
Nof Ayalon