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December 6, 2016: Sleeping with baby
But as a lactation consultant of many years’ experience, I disagree with the assertion that babies are always at high risk sleeping in their parents’ bed.
Sleeping with baby

“An empty crib” (Health & Science, December 4), about preventing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, or crib death), was excellent in 90% of its content.

But as a lactation consultant of many years’ experience, I disagree with the assertion that babies are always at high risk sleeping in their parents’ bed.

Yes, it can be risky, but with safety features in place, it can be safer than a baby sleeping alone. The risk factors are:

• No co-sleeping if the baby is formula fed, if either parent smokes, is very obese, is drunk or on sleep-inducing drugs. Even innocuous medications such as nighttime cough remedies can make the parent sleep too deeply to be aware of the baby.

• The bed must be firm and the room kept cool. No fluffy toys in the bed. The baby should be under-dressed and not allowed to sleep under the parents’ covers, as this could cause overheating. Just fold your duvet back and allow the baby his own blanket.

• There have been too many instances of mothers, nervous about falling asleep with their breastfed baby, who go into the living room to nurse, and then fall asleep on a squishy couch that has much more potential in its folds for smothering the infant than a cool, firm mattress.

Breastfed babies co-sleeping with all the safety factors in place tune into their parents’ breathing. Parents are spatially aware of the extra occupant and curl around the baby protectively, preventing him from sliding down the bed.

Mevaseret Zion

Chickens in scripture

“Balfour, Rothschild and the ostrich” (Comment & Features, December 4) should have been fact-checked. It asserts that “scripture makes no references at all to chickens, which had not yet been domesticated from their wild ancestors in India.”

A cursory check of Google will show that estimates of chicken domestication range from 5,000 to 8,000 years ago. Other sources claim a more recent date. In any event, it is indisputable that the chicken was domesticated well before Jews came into being or the scriptures were written.

As to why chickens might or might not be mentioned in “scripture,” that is a worthy question to ponder, especially as it is a favorite food of Israelis.


Trump and Iran

TNS reporter Brian Bennett reports that last Wednesday, CIA Director John Brennan said it would be the “height of folly” and “disastrous” for US President- elect Donald Trump to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran.

Last year, Brennan said this at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government: “The individuals who say that this deal provides a pathway for Iran to a bomb are being wholly disingenuous, in my view, if they know the facts and understand what is required for a program.”

He added: “I certainly am pleasantly surprised that the Iranians have agreed to so much here.”

Trump and his prospective intelligence/defense picks strongly disagree. They think that Iran played the US negotiators for fools.

Brennan believes that revoking the Iran deal would unleash that and other Middle Eastern countries to obtain nuclear weapons.

Does he not realize that Trump would couple the revocation with equally strong strictures on Tehran? Surely, he would act much stronger against Iran than did President Barack Obama, who has been decidedly soft toward that rogue nation.


Alfei Menashe

There is one area in which US President-elect Donald Trump can really set himself up as the strong leader he says he will be, and that is by renegotiating the nuclear deal with Iran. The current deal merely delays Iran’s path to nuclear weapons; it does not prevented this. It thereby paves the way to an inevitable challenge, if not conflict, in the future.

Trump can immediately show the world, which will follow him. This would suggest two things. First, America’s leadership will never be questioned again. Second, Trump is damn capable of negotiating the very best deals that are heavily tilted toward America’s interests.

Show the world what you’ve got (or not), Donald.



Matter of land

Caroline B. Glick (“Israel’s constitutional identity crisis,” Column One, December 2) argues that the proposed settlements regulation bill “provides a means for willing Palestinian sellers to sell their property to willing Jewish purchasers without risking the lives of the owners.”

How can we ever know that a seller is truly “willing” (and that he is receiving a fair price) when his only option is to sell his land or have it seized? Israel’s experience with the security barrier demonstrates that Glick’s assertion is misguided.

Palestinian owners of land on which the security barrier is built are entitled to compensation, yet very few of them accept the money, fearing that they will be branded as collaborators.

Israel is forced to set aside money until sometime in the (distant?) future when the owners feel safe enough to collect what they are owed.

Glick does not understand that land is different from all other possessions, especially for families who have lived in one place for many years. The American and British legal systems recognize the uniqueness of real property. Both allow for enforcing real estate contracts exactly as written (i.e., “specific performance”). Monetary compensation for breaches is not sufficient because no two pieces of land are exactly alike.

Consider the thousands of Jewish families whose homes were stolen by non-Jews during the Holocaust. The Jews would have been rightfully outraged at being evicted even if they were offered some form of compensation.

We are now proposing to treat Palestinian landowners in a similar manner.

Most importantly, Glick fails to confront the one fundamental question: Is it right? While it is sometimes appropriate to take privately owned land for the greater benefit of the general public, there is no justification for seizing someone’s property so that another private individual can benefit.

The proposed law would be a permanent stain on Israel’s reputation, giving the lie to the claim that the Jewish state treats all people equally, regardless of religion or nationality.


Zichron Ya’acov
The writer taught contract law in the US before embarking on a career with the State Department.

Jordan’s role

With regard to “Sorry, but Jordan is not a friend” (Comment & Features, November 1), Edy Cohen’s statement does not contribute to peaceful settlements in the Middle East.

Jordan is a bastion of tolerance, religious freedom and social harmony in a volatile region. It has been shouldering the brunt of refugees since 1948. Now it is home to over two million Palestinian refugees, making it the largest host of refugees worldwide, putting its economic growth and prosperity and a multitude of development projects in jeopardy.

Jordan has played an indispensable part in the peace process, urging belligerent parties to advance the cause of a solution with two states living side by side in peace and security. It is a stakeholder in the five primary final-status issues: Jerusalem, borders, security, water and refugees.

His Majesty King Abdullah II is the historic and legal custodian of Islamic and Christian holy shrines in the Holy Land. In a nutshell, Jordan is the pressure valve that safeguards regional and world peace and security.

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