Brain-dead and alive?
In response to "Brain-dead woman who gave birth to preemie still alive" (October 24):
This article is problematic for two reasons. First, it is a mistaken translation. The Hebrew headline properly translated into English would have read "42-year-old woman who gave birth is brain-dead." Second, this mistaken translation misleads the Israeli public into thinking that a person who is brain-dead can remain alive.
While it is possible to support organs (even a beating heart ) for a number of days after the onset of brain death, the organsim - the human being - is dead. This is the position of the Israel Medical Association and it is Israeli law. The mistaken belief that a brain-dead person is somehow alive is what prevents Israelis from donating organs, contributing to the dearth of organ donors in Israel.
Founder and director, Halachic Organ Donor Society
A fateful choice
In response to "Israel's only choice" and "This morning, a nation awakes" (October 19):
Elia Leibowitz presents a fateful choice between two withdrawal options and thereby is revealed as the successor of his father, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whom I consider a prophet, and proves that all his predictions have come to be.
The problem is that choosing the sane option is no longer realistic. The proponents of a withdrawal ahead of any damaging strike have gradually disappeared, and today there are even fewer of them than there were in the days of the elder Leibowitz. It has proven nearly impossible to persuade either the leaders or the masses.
Perhaps Elia Leibowitz will attempt to convince Ari Shavit, who favors the Yoni Netanyahu ethos and considers it a fact that there will be heavy casualties in the coming wars, while not offering any alternative.
Following the joy over Gilad Shalit's return, we are reverting back to sadness and fear of the future.
Was the IDF confused?
In response to "IDF recommends freeing Fatah prisoners as gesture to Abbas," (October 24):
According to the report by Amos Harel, the Israel Defense Forces will recommend that the government release 550 prisoners and hand over to the Palesitnian Authority additional areas that will come under their security control. This is all intended to strengthen the position of PA head Mahmoud Abbas, which was weakened as a result of the Gilad Shalit deal.
This is a scandalous proposal. In a democratic country, it is the government, not the army, that determines policy, with the General Staff merely expressing an opinion about the security implications of diplomatic moves that the government initiates. Has the IDF become confused and forgotten that its prime aim is to protect the lives of Israeli citizens, not to strengthen the chairman of a foreign authority? Was the high risk that the government took when it freed more than 1,000 prisoners in the Shalit swap not sufficient?
That risk can be justified by the contention that it was the only way to bring home a captive soldier. But to add to that another risk for the sake of the chairman of the PA? Have the generals in the IDF forgotten that territories that are under Palestinian security control have become bases of anti-Israel terror? And for what does Abbas deserve a prize - for his persistent action against Israel in the international arena?
Have we not freed ourselves of the idea that the good Fatah will protect us from the bad Hamas? Have we not learned the lessons of Oslo?
A column that smacks of anti-Semitism
In response to "An alien in our midst" (October 21):
We read Benny Ziffer's provocative column, which smacked of anti-Semitism, with disgust. Ziffer wished to criticize the consensus over the Gilad Shalit affair that swept over the country, but it seems that the criticism he voiced would have been better expressed toward himself.
Ziffer uses distorted language to depict the abducted soldier, who returned from captivity physically harmed, as "the pale image of the Eternal Jew from whom we have tried to hard to dissociate ourselves," he wrote. "A smiling Israeli soldier was abducted and a Jewish victim of the pogroms came back. Franz Kafka came back in a uniform way too big for him, apparently having shed all traits of Israeli-ness and returned to being a Diaspora Jew. A strange and alien creature came back into our confident Israeli existence."
Even if this was deliberately written in stereotype fashion, or perhaps was meant to convey something that we were not able to understand, it was an insult to Shalit and to the survivors of the Holocaust, wherever they may be, as well as to us Israelis who, according to Ziffer, understand nothing but "Israeli chutzpah."
The struggle for Shalit's release that was conducted by members of his family is described by Ziffer as the victory prize of the imaginary national reality game "Chutzpah Idol." Ziffer ignores a marginal fact that could topple his beautiful tower of claims: Unlike those who participate in reality shows on TV, who fight for the right to get publicity and fame, the Shalit family had no choice but to fight for their son's life through public pressure for his release. They had to face the attendant exposure and publicity, which they would surely have given up happily if their circumstances had changed.
And as if all of this were not enough, Ziffer ends his hurtful remarks by blatantly ignoring the heavy emotional baggage that Gilad Shalit must bear when he states that the psychologists who will take care of him will give him treatment with a "chutzpah hormone" to "bring the flush of arrogance back to his cheeks." In other words, they will help restore the Israeli characteristics that Shalit lost during five years in the hands of Hamas.
That being the case, who is the proud Israeli and who is the new anti-Semite? Indeed, the one who criticizes here is the one who deserves the criticism.
Col. (Res.) Moshe Keinan
Dr. Orna Kazmirsky
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