LETTERS: The muezzin calls

With regard to “Muzzling the muezzin” (Editorial, November 15), the Muslim calls to prayer are lengthy and loud, sounded five times a day, beginning at around 4 a.m. They are unnerving.

November 16, 2016 21:58

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The muezzin calls

 With regard to “Muzzling the muezzin” (Editorial, November 15), the Muslim calls to prayer are lengthy and loud, sounded five times a day, beginning at around 4 a.m. They are unnerving.

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Whoever hasn’t heard them should do so before taking a position on the issue.

Non-Muslims are urged to be sensitive and understanding, allowing Muslims their rights to religious freedom. What about concern for the rights of non-Muslims to a modicum of peace and quiet, especially during the nighttime hours? Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi suggests that those who suffer from the extreme noise pollution “chose to settle near the mosques, and... they are invited to leave if they are suffering so much.” It isn’t necessary to live near a mosque to be disturbed.

That’s the point. The sound carries, especially during the night.

I suggest that we empirically determine the decibel level necessary for calls to be heard between mosques. This should make everybody happy – except, perhaps, MK Zoabi; if getting along with neighbors is so difficult for her, perhaps she should be the one to leave.


Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi says: “Those who suffer from the sounds of the muezzins... are invited to leave if they are suffering so much.”

As has been suspected, this infliction is not just religious – it is also designed to intimidate. It worked well with the Christians, who left in droves so that primarily Christian towns like Bethlehem and Nazareth eventually became Muslim. Now, once again, the ancestors of the Islamic invaders are posing as the natives of the Holy Land.

Our lethargic politicians should be constantly reminding them – and the world – of all this. The Jews, the real natives who made this the Holy Land, are back and staying for good.


 MK Yousef Jabareen’s contention that the Law for the Prevention of Nuisances should be sufficient to resolve the problem of the loudspeaker volume emanating from mosques that adjoin Jewish neighborhoods (“‘Muezzin bill’ stokes tempers on all sides,” November 15) is disingenuous at best.

The Joint List MK advocates enforcing the existing criminal statute, which, he says, carries “heavy prison sentences” for violators.

Just imagine the worldwide media circus that Joint List lawmakers and others would propagate the instant a Muslim cleric was arrested for such an offense! If these legislators were genuinely interested in fostering tranquility between the country’s Muslim and Jewish populations, they might consider advising their constituents to be more considerate and initiate a decibel decrease to more tolerable levels.

JOEL KUTNER Jerusalem After much searching in the Koran, I did not find that it was obligatory for the muezzin to use a microphone to announce prayers. So with regard to “PA leadership denounces proposed ‘muezzin bill’” (November 15), why the threat by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas? Perhaps Abbas should read his Koran more often.


 Again, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put on his boxing gloves.

Instead of consulting with, and seeking a compromise from, the Muslim community, the bill approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation will create a wide gap, not only in Israel, but with moderate Arabs. This could lead to a ban on church bells and the blowing of the shofar.

ISSY HASS Ra’anana

 Trump’s victory

 Perhaps the most frustrating claim made by apologists for US President-elect Donald Trump is that most of his supporters are not racist, misogynistic, antisemitic, homophobic bullies; they are merely an impoverished, marginalized, hitherto ignored segment of society who believe that Trump will improve their quality of life and help them make sense of the frenetic pace with which globalization has undermined past certainties and cherished beliefs.

But the extent to which his supporters are racist is irrelevant.

They chose to vote for Trump, a racist bully who professes an intent to eliminate those he deems undesirable and inferior.

And let us be clear: Inferior people for Donald Trump are inferior because of who they are biologically, not culturally.

Even if most of Trump’s supporters are not racist, they are complicit in bringing an unabashed racist to power, and like the German electorate of the 1930s, they are responsible for whatever happens next.

I have spent the better part of my career in the classroom addressing the disturbing conundrum of German support for Hitler.

And I concur with the leading specialists in the field, who have shown that the majority of Hitler’s supporters were not rabid antisemites; they, perhaps like Trump’s supporters, were willing to throw in their lot with a racist who promised to make Germany great again. They chose racism out of convenience and indifference, not out of commitment.

This knowledge is supposed to help us address social ills in a more constructive manner in order to prevent racist demagogues from coming to power.

We have been teaching the Holocaust, writing about the Holocaust and building museums dedicated to the Holocaust to the point where it is practically inscribed into our DNA, yet it has made no difference.

In 2016, the American electorate proved this, and it has shaken my belief in the power and value of education.

JARROD TANNY Wilmington, North Carolina The writer is an associate professor and the Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.

It is interesting to watch the strategists and experts of the confused and depressed Democratic Party who, magnifying glasses in hand, are feverishly searching for the reasons of their disastrous election loss.

“Where did we go wrong?” “Why did we lose when so many factors – the women’s vote, the Afro-American and Latino votes, members of academia and the majority of the millennial voters, plus most of the print and television media – were going in our favor?” What they still cannot admit (or won’t admit) is the obvious factor for the loss: Hillary Clinton, a vain, insincere, arrogant, manipulative and self-serving woman who, in spite of millions of dollars’ worth of TV ads, could not hide her true nature. The Democratic Party was defeated by its own candidate.


 Before the US elections, you ran an article about comments made by the EU ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen (“‘No Big Bang Theory to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,’” November 6), in which the envoy said one possible way to make progress was by following the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. The initiative mentions normalized ties for Israel with the Arab world in return for a return to the pre- 1967 lines, with minor land swaps.

The ambassador ignored – or perhaps did not know – that before 1967, for 19 years since the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews could not go to the Western Wall or other Jewish holy places because the Jordanians did not honor the terms of the armistice of 1949, agreed to under the auspices of the United Nations, which provided for “free access to the [Jewish] holy places and cultural institutions and use of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives.” Israel is now aware that it cannot depend on Arab promises, even in writing.

We can be hopeful that in the future, US President-elect Donald Trump will support Israel and give his backing to seeing that any peace agreements we are party to are enforced.


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