Bring in the dogs

Sir, – I cannot believe the defense establishment is not testing a simpler and cheaper system for detecting tunnels and terrorists hiding in ambush inside tunnels (“New tunnel detection system undergoing field testing,” August 18).

Before spending billions, why not try train bloodhounds? They can detect a body under a mile of water and have been shown to follow a scent for 200 km. even when efforts are made to distract them.

Surely a bloodhound can find terrorists hiding in ambush underground.

They have 300 million scent receptors. I believe they could have saved the lives of some of our precious soldiers.

LYNN GIMPEL
Jerusalem

Marrying out

Sir, – With regard to “Hundreds demonstrate at wedding of Arab man and Jewish-born woman” (August 18), for centuries Jews have died rather than submit to conversion to Christianity or Islam.

Then a Jewish girl converts to Islam and the president of Israel sends congratulations on her wedding.

Shame on you, Reuven Rivlin!

BENITA RATNER
Netanya

Sir, – I shake my head and wonder what the idea of this Jewish country was about in the first place.

In the old country there was a TV show, Bridgett Loves Bernie, about a Jewish man married to a non-Jewish woman. It was the death knell of generations of Jews.

Are some of my fellow Israelis so lacking in identity, so numb of soul? I was not born here. I made aliya, adopting this Jewish country.

Was I being naive or unsophisticated in my expectations? I don’t think so. I was being true to those who dreamed for thousands of years of a Jewish state.

One does not have to be a lawyer or an intellectual to explain what that means. A Jew with a Jewish soul knows what it is not – it is not Morel Loves Mahmoud.

SHALOM POLLACK
Jerusalem

What about Bowe?

Sir, – In “Al-Qaida threatens Jewish captive” (News in Brief, August 18) you report: “The United States has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaida, which it considers a terrorist organization.”

Really? On June 1, 2014, the US successfully negotiated the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, taken captive in Afghanistan and held by al-Qaida. Five al-Qaida terrorists implicated in the 9/11 attack were released to Qatar with the condition that they remain there for at least one year.

What of Weinstein? Are American Jews not worthy of the same consideration afforded Bergdahl, or might it be said that in the Obama administration some Americans, such as those of Jewish ethnicity, have fewer rights than others?

LILA LOWELL
Jerusalem

Concise encapsulation

Sir, – Congratulations to Sam Sokol for a concise encapsulation of the long-standing halachic debate regarding metzitza b’peh (“NYC brit mila controversy: An Orthodox ideological rift,” August 18). But he errs when he states: “Some Orthodox opponents of traditional metzitza utilize sterile glass or plastic pipettes to prevent the transmission of germs. Such a practice was endorsed by 19th-century rabbi and father of ultra-Orthodoxy, Rabbi Moses Schreiber....”

Rabbi Sinai Schiffer of Karlsuhe, Germany, addressed the issue in 1906. He noted that use of a pipette was first introduced in Germany only in 1888, almost a half-century after Rabbi Schreiber’s passing! Rabbi Schreiber had sanctioned (according to his leading disciple, Rabbi Moses Shik) the use of a sponge on a one-time basis.

Rabbi Schiffer listed many subsequent authorities who opposed the use of a sponge. The introduction of the pipette was meant to retain the principle of oral suction and not, as your article suggests, to change the traditional custom. Only in recent years has the tube come to be portrayed in a reformist light.

ARYEH WEIL
Jerusalem

Fluoride in water

Sir, – I applaud the decision of Yael German (“Health minister to ban fluoridation of drinking water,” August 18).

There is no known essential metabolic role for fluoride in the human body, and dosing entire populations with a proven enzyme disruptor and probable carcinogen and neurotoxin for the purpose of a marginal, transient reduction in tooth decay is an insane “strategy.”

I pray that this exemplary stance is repeated in other less-enlightened countries forthwith.

PAUL CLEIN
Liverpool

The writer is a pharmacist

Sir, – Health Minister Yael German has gone completely over the edge in her lunatic campaign to send Israeli dental health back to the 19th century. What a pediatric dental surgeon of my acquaintance thinks of her cannot be printed in a family newspaper.

The danger of allowing German to continue to run the country’s health system is frightening. What is to prevent her from canceling vaccinations against measles, whooping cough, polio, TB, diphtheria, tetanus, mumps and other illnesses for equally ridiculous reasons? Not everyone in Israel can afford years of corrective dental surgery, prosthetic bridges and implants that Ms. German’s policies will surely cause to no small number of our precious children.

TREVOR DAVIS
Aseret

Big problem

Sir, – Your August 18 editorial “US-Israel ties” contained the following sentences: “Israel must take the issue of relations seriously, but not blow it out of proportion. The US administration recently approved an additional $220 million in funding for the Iron Dome anti-rocket system to replenish its stock of missiles.”

There is a big problem here.

Congress had approved the bill some weeks earlier. But when it got to President Barack Obama’s desk for signature, he sat on it.

Obama approved it only the day after Israel inexplicably withdrew every last soldier and tank from Gaza. At that point, remember, we were winning – terrorists were surrendering to us when they ran out of food, water and ammunition.

The whole thing stinks of extortion.

Of course, the victim is never allowed to say so.

I have thought for a long time that Obama has been getting ready to throw the State of Israel under the bus. The bus is now one street away. We need our friends in Congress to remind him about the difference between friend and foe.

By a quirk of fate, Israel even finds itself on the front lines against what I call the “ISIS crisis.”

THELMA JACOBSON
Petah Tikva

We’re guilty, too

Sir, – The rise of overt and violent anti-Semitism in Europe – attacking Jewish places of worship, businesses and individual people with impunity – has been allowed to erupt and escalate with the shameful inaction of various European governments, their police forces and justice systems.

However, a large part of the blame lies with the Israeli government.

The percentage of the annual budget allocated to hasbara (public diplomacy) is shameful. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the running of any campaign.

The people in charge should be European and/or Anglo olim who understand the Western mind and mentality and do not shrug their shoulders or say, “What can we do?” Every anti-Semitic/anti-Israel action, every global article, tweet, Facebook post, lie and piece of disinformation should be noted and refuted. And for this, proper, long-term investment is needed.

The Arabs realized the potency and advantage of propaganda over 60 years ago and have been waging a vociferous and mendacious anti-Israel propaganda campaign ever since. The global public been exposed to only one (twisted) representation of the situation.

History has been rewritten, and Israel has gone from a plucky, outnumbered little country to an amoral, land-grabbing, child-slaying monster. Worse, we have colluded in our own undoing by standing by and shrugging our shoulders.

REBECCA MENDOZA
Givatayim

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