Peres - don't resign

In response to "Peres - resign" (by Yoel Marcus, Opinion, January 4 ).

When Benjamin Netanyahu won the TV debate over Shimon Peres before the 1996 election, many analysts suggested that the younger candidate triumphed because of his command of the media, sound bites and body language.

Since Peres is not permitted to debate our prime minister in public, I think he is using the only tactic that he has - speaking out when the spirit moves him. In all his other runs to head the government, sadly, Peres lost every single time.

Now getting close to his tzaddik 90th year, as president he can make himself heard. Mr. Marcus, in his Friday article, by proposing resignation, would totally eliminate the voice of the Honorable Shimon Peres. Now he can speak out; resign, and his sensible voice is silenced.

Dr. David Geffen


Development towns need development, too

In response to "J'lem okays new housing in deal 'designed to eliminate chance of deal with Palestinians'" (by Nir Hasson, Barak Ravid and Jonathan Lis, December 18 ).

I have a modest proposal: Why not expand Afula with 500 new apartments? That would be wonderful for the younger generation there. Why not expand Beit She'an, Nahariya, Dimona, Yeruham, etc.? Where is the budget for them? Enough about Jerusalem, it's not the only city in need of expansion and development.

Ora Lahav-Shaltiel

Ein Hod

The national disgrace of child poverty

It's sad to read about the worsening of poverty in our country, and even sadder to read about the increase in the number of poor children. Children who should be outside playing, running and having fun with friends are dealing with grown-ups' problems. Poverty exists; it's not a new social problem, but it is intensifying, and something needs to be done to control it. There can be no legitimization of the economic situation and the living conditions of a family becoming the concern of a child.

A child in distress is a child at risk. The recent reports on poverty present worrisome data and reflect the connection between the situation of being at risk and the school dropout rate, which leads to ignorance in society.

Childhood is the critical period in a person's development, and a child should not have to behave "like a grown-up." This is a wake-up call for the government to urgently mobilize to address the situation. A substantial share of the national budget should be allocated to social services, and solutions found. It is impossible to wait and only have philosophical discussions. The children are our future and they deserve a better one.

Or Gafniel