Months on paper
Sir, –The president of Israel’s Supreme Court says courts should
include the Hebrew date alongside the secular date (“Grunis orders Hebrew date
on court documents,” October 10). This has, in fact, long been been the rule
affecting all government institutions. Apparently, it has been ignored by the
Surely this begs the question as to why the names of the
Hebrew months are more “Jewish” than the familiar names used today throughout
most of the world. In the Pentateuch, the months are simply known by numbers –
first, second, third, etc., just like the days of the week. It was only during
the first exile in Babylonia in the 6th century BCE that the Israelites began to
adopt Babylonian names, and ever since the months of the Jewish year have been
called after Babylonian or Akkadian deities – Nisan, Iyar, Sivan, Tamuz and so
In the present Gregorian calendar only the first six months are deity
names, July and August being named after the Caesars, and later months being
simply numerical – e.g., September and October, from the time when the Roman
year had only 10 months.
On balance, therefore, a third of the Gregorian
months are quite inoffensive, even echoing the biblical number system, whereas
the entire Hebrew calendar derives from pagan deities. Are we to conclude that
Roman deities are non-Jewish, but Babylonian deities are Jewish?
Sir, – Ami Ayalon is an advocate of the two-state
solution. His ardor is reflected in a flawed article in which he draws an
unsupportable connection between progress toward creation of a Palestinian state
and a US-led coalition to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb (“The red line should
go from Tehran to Ramallah,” Comment & Features, October 7).
posits an absolute necessity for inclusion of “moderate” Arab countries in the
However, this will not be possible, he avers,
unless the Arab masses can be pacified, lowering the flame of anti-American
hostility and thereby allowing their leaders to join. Naturally, appeasement of
the Arab street is to be bought by Israeli concessions toward the creation of a
The threat of Shi’ite Iranian regional hegemony and
possession of nuclear weapons, and not approval from the Arab street, will
dictate a course of action for the Turkish and Sunni Arab governments. Iran is
currently the overriding consideration, with “Palestine” coming in a distant
As far as the Arab masses are concerned, they would continue to
hate the United States, Jews and an erstwhile Israel even after the creation of
an Arab state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
vitriol, imbibed from the mosque, family, school, media, government and peers,
is founded on centuries of ideas and emotions about the West. The Jews’
possession of “Muslim” land and the perception of dispossessed Palestinian Arabs
only hardens an intrinsic abhorrence that no Israeli or American concession can
Arab attitudes toward the West are the result of centuries of
lost pride as the Middle East realized its backwardness. Lately, to compensate
and seek a stronger self-image, much of the region’s population is turning to
As larger numbers embrace radical Islam, the term “moderate”
referring to countries in the Middle East becomes inappropriate.
links this adjective to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, distorting the truth:
Saudi Arabia is the home of Wahabiism and is its sponsor
Egypt, ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, is an unstable
country increasingly tolerant of the persecution of Christians, and tests the
demilitarization of Sinai.
Turkey, once a secular nation, is traveling
inexorably toward fundamentalist Islam.
Disregarding facts and reality
leads to faulty theories and conclusions, and to fatal decisions.