October 11: A video is worth 1,000 words

Has she seen the video? Did anyone notice all of the cameramen there? They knew in advance they would be getting “juicy” pictures.

October 10, 2010 23:38

letters 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

A video is worth 1,000 words

Sir, – In “Two Arab children hit by Elad leader’s car in Silwan, incident taped” (October 10), Melanie Lidman reports that David Be’eri “claims that youth were throwing rocks at his car.”

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Has she seen the video? If you look, you will see arms raised at point-blank range throwing rocks at his oncoming vehicle. Did she notice his back window as the car drives away, the window that was blown out by rocks? And finally, did anyone notice all of the cameramen there? Indeed, why were they there? They knew in advance they would be getting “juicy” pictures.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Waiting for an apology

Sir, – Wow! How thoughtful of the Gush Etzion rabbis to apologize for the arson attack and replace the Korans in the Beit Fajar mosque (“Rabbis deliver apologies, new Korans to vandalized Beit Fajar mosque,” October 6).

The rest of us are still waiting for the Palestinians to apologize for the brutal murder of four innocent Jews, and the subsequent attempted murder several weeks ago near Kiryat Arba.


What is a Jewish State?

Sir, – Prof. Shlomo Avineri says that “it would be a mistake to force newcomers to pledge allegiance to a Jewish state… because no one really knows what a ‘Jewish state’... means” (“Academics see proposed loyalty pledge as directed at Israeli Arabs,” October 8).

The Israeli Declaration of Independence makes it very clear what a “Jewish State” is. It mentions the word “Jewish” 17 times. The key passage is where it states Israel’s purpose in relation to Jews: “The State of Israel will be open to the immigration of Jews from all countries of their dispersion.”

It is this overriding principle to which Israel’s citizens must swear allegiance. Israel is the only country that will always provide shelter to Jews from all over the world.

And there is absolutely no reason why other minorities can’t be citizens and still pledge loyalty to a “Jewish State.”


Abrogation in the Koran

Sir, – In “Madman or prophet?” (October 8), Israel Kasnett cites the view that “it is the extremists who selectively choose the Koran verses that fit their worldview, while blatantly ignoring the nonviolent passages that call for harmony and conciliation.”

He does not seem to know that in the Koran there is a concept of abrogation, defined in the Koran itself by verse 2:106: “When we cancel a message, or throw it into oblivion, we replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that God has power over all things?” In other words, later pronouncements of the Prophet declare null and void his earlier pronouncements.

The extremists ignore the nonviolent passages because later pronouncements of the Prophet from the Medina period cancel those nonviolent passages from the Mecca period and also cancel some verses in Sura 2, which is the first chapter of the Medina period.

I find it alarming that, with all the information available at our fingertips, we still cannot get in our media the basic facts about abrogation and how the Koran is read.


The ossuary’s ‘yihus’

Sir, – As an amateur genealogist, what mystifies me most about “Putting the case to rest” (October 7) is that, based on three names and only two generations, archeologists would presume that the ossuary in question relates to the Jesus of Nazareth.

In the traditional Jewish family of six to 10 children, at least one firstborn son is named for a patrilineal grandfather, and subsequent sons for matrilineal grandfathers and uncles on both sides.

Following down the line to great-grandchildren, there would be at least as many brothers named Ya’akov and Yeshua as there were children of their great-grandfather, and each one of them could have been born to a grandson named Yosef. There could be even more if the names in question were those of uncles on the matrilinial line. And this process will geometrically multiply with each succeeding generation.

My antecedents hail from the island of Rhodes, where, by any third or fourth generation, familial names are repeated so often that even the addition of matrilinial names in a descendancy chart doesn’t always clarify an identity.

Even if the ossuary in question had been found in situ, in Nazareth let’s say, and its inscription confirmed as authentically ancient, its identity as the Jesus’s brother’s tomb would still not be a certainty.

Archeologists should certainly know that, without further evidence, stating otherwise is merely a case of wishful thinking.


Dismissal deserves no praise

Sir, – Hebrew University geneticist Ariel Darvasi’s praise for Dr.

Gaby Avital’s dismissal and his ludicrous statement that in the Israeli academic world “there are no people who share Avital’s beliefs” (“Education Ministry denies Avital let go due to Darwinism remarks,” October 6) are indicative of his unwillingness to recognize the legitimate existence of ideas other than his own.

All anyone needs to do is to Google the terms “creationism” or “intelligent design” to find the thousands of scientists who do not believe that evolution could possibly occur as a result of random chance and without guidance.

(Compare the views of Nobel laureate and biologist George Wald of Harvard University.) In fact, Darwinism is merely a scientific theory based on incomplete fossil evidence, before the discovery of DNA. Therefore, Dr.

Avital’s apparent dismissal for questioning the validity of Darwinism deserves no praise.

Jerusalem Quick fixes

Sir, – Former US president Bill Clinton is quoted as saying: “It [solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] will take about half the impetus in the whole world – not just the region, the whole world – for terror to go away” (“Clinton: Peace would deflate terror,” October 6).

The agenda of the supporters of terrorism (e.g., Iran) and of the terrorists themselves is much broader than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The “quick fixes” so loved by American administrations are extremely dangerous and probably counterproductive. We have to be more patient and smarter.


Geneva Convention blues and the Jews

Sir, – David Newman, while coming out strongly against the boycotting of Israeli universities by foreign universities and other organizations such as Church bodies and trade unions, blithely ignores the part of some of his own colleagues at Ben-Gurion University in advocating such boycotts (“The wrong litmus test,” October 5).

The main thrust of these boycotts is the espousal of the canard that Israel is occupying Palestinian land and that the building of socalled settlements are against international law. Even President Obama, for reasons of his own, has espoused this position.

However, the mouthers of this mantra have never read or perhaps even do not know of the existence of the Geneva Convention, which allegedly provides the basis for this allegation. Israel is in no way in infringement of the Geneva Convention. The language is comparatively simple and one does not have to be a lawyer to understand it.

Ironically, China – which occupies Tibet – and Turkey, which occupies part of Cyprus are actually in violation of the Geneva Convention, but no one would ever dream of condemning them – because they are not Jewish.

Beit Shemesh

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