Guarding groves
Sir, – So, Hanan Ashrawi calls for international observer teams to protect Palestinian olive groves from attack (“Ashrawi calls for int’l observers to protect Palestinian olive groves,” October 15).

I think that’s a wonderful idea.

Perhaps she can be persuaded to call for similar protection for the children of Sderot and nearby towns.

M. VEEDER
Netanya

Sir, – Israel Police should be guarding Palestinian farmers and not IDF soldier guards “Rights groups: Protect Palestinian olive trees,” October 12).

This is protection against possible criminal activity in case Israeli citizens will try to sabotage the harvest. IDF solders are very restricted by regulations where any criminal activity carried out by Jewish settlers against Palestinians is concerned.

They can only try to separate between the clashing parties, can make no arrests, and run the serious risk of being injured personally.

Why should policing be on the defense budget? If we are really serious about stopping this criminal activity which brings us a lousy name in the world media let those authorized to deal with the problem deal with it immediately.

It is time we brought to an end numerous clashes which can never be successfully investigated and those guilty efficiently and quickly charged.

IDF soldiers are not trained to be policemen!

DAVID GOSHEN
Kiryat Ono

Target practice

Sir, – On Sunday, The Jerusalem Post wrote in “IAF strikes Gaza global jihadis, killing two, following rocket attack on Netivot” (October 14) that “Friday’s rocket attack triggered air raid sirens in the town, sending residents running for cover, before exploding in the backyard of a family home. The projectile sent shrapnel flying into... a boys bedroom. ‘What if the child would have been there [in his room]?’ the IDF Spokesman’s Office asked on its official Twitter account.”

So what would have happened if the child would have been in his room? Depending on whether the child was killed, badly injured or frightened almost to death, the prime minister would have offered his condolences and stated that he held Hamas directly responsible. Or he would have just stated that he held Hamas responsible, or would have said nothing. It would then be business as usual.

Israelis being used as daily target practice by our enemies while our prime minister carries on with a tit-for-tat response, not having what it takes to order the total destruction of our enemies and make good on his promises to work for the security and well-being of the Israeli people.

We are all at the mercy of psychopaths because our prime minister and defense minister are too worried about world opinion. Will the people finally show at the upcoming elections their abhorrence of them for acting with depraved indifference to the never ending onslaught against Israelis? All the rest have been tried, tested and failed. Now try the best and give Moshe Feiglin the chance he and the people deserve and see how quickly our faith, pride and deterrence will be restored.

EDITH OGNALL
Netanya

Past the violence

Sir, – Hillary Clinton must be traveling to a different Middle East (“Clinton says US must look past violence and embrace Arab Spring despite dangers,” International News, October 14).

She looks around at hundreds of thousands of Muslims who embrace the Arab Spring shouting “Destroy Israel! Destroy the United States,” and nonchalantly declares “we must look past the violence.” But what’s past the violence in the Arab world? More dead ambassadors. More dead Americans. More dead Israelis.

Hillary believes that you can’t expect “a year of democratic transition” to drain the reservoirs of decades of dictatorship. If only she could look past this “year of democratic transition” she would see future decades of dictatorships already renewing themselves across the Arab world.

“Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it.” Get past that, Hillary.

YAACOV PETERSEIL
Jerusalem

Sir, – Either the pink glasses through which Hillary Clinton sees the world are totally opaque or she lives in a parallel universe along the lines of Alice in Wonderland, because otherwise there can be no logical explanation for her incredible take on the so called Arab Spring: “The US must look past the violence and extremism that has erupted after the Arab Spring revolutions and boost support for the region’s young democracies.”

What “young democracies” is she talking about? The public unrest and riots in every Arab/Muslim country have only led to more extreme governments, civil wars and even greater hate for the US and everything it stands for. But I guess we shouldn’t be so surprised, since her reaction to the ever-growing influence and power of extremist Islamic governments, including the brutal and terrorist murder of the American ambassador to Libya says it all: Washington cannot be deterred by “the violent acts of a small number of extremists.”

If this is how she sees what is happening in our region, then I fear that when she truly “looks past” the violence that characterized the “Arab Spring,” she will find only more violence in what seems to be shaping up to a cold and severe “Arab Winter.”

GERSHON HARRIS
Hatzor Haglilit

Naming rights
Sir, – Geoffrey Preger (Letters, October 12) is right in saying that there is nothing Jewish about the Babylonian month names used in the Hebrew calendar, but he is wrong in thinking that these month names all come from the names of Babylonian gods.

Of the Hebrew month names, only Tammuz is known to come from the name of a Babylonian deity. Cheshvan comes from a Babylonian phrase meaning “eighth month,” etymologically related to “yareach shmini” (eighth moon) in Hebrew, and identical in meaning to “October.”

Other Hebrew month names come from Babylonian words referring to weather conditions or agricultural activities, for example Tevet may be related to the Hebrew root tava and mean the month of sinking (into the mud); Shevat is related to the Hebrew root shabat, (to beat), and refers to the hard rains of that month, the root also being the source of Hebrew shevet (staff). Elul, which began with the letter ayin in Babylonian, means the month of putting in, i.e. harvesting, and is related to the Hebrew root alal, also the source of Hebrew ol (yoke).

These etymologies come from one of my favorite books, Ernest Klein’s Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language.

MICHAEL GERVER
Ra’anana

Self-examination
Sir – It is difficult to deal judiciously with Peace Now and the attitude of its executive director, Yariv Oppenheimer. They are appalled at the verdict finally given after seven years that the Jewish residents of Hebron have the legal right to live in Beit Hashalom (“Barak: Jewish families can return to Hebron house,” October 12).

Beit Hashalom was legally purchased and even though the verdict was seven years in coming, the residents can now live without fear of harassment except for organizations like Peace Now that do not care one whit about legality if it interferes with Peace Now’s agenda. That agenda seems to be to make much of Israel free of Jews.

No student of Jewish history could ever claim that Hebron was not Jewish. The great Cave of the Patriarchs was bought by Abraham and recorded as such in the very Bible recognized by the major monotheistic religions.

Peace Now should have gone through a period of self-examination for its deeds and come to the conclusion that it should pay compensation for the heartbreak it caused the residents of Beit Hashalom.

TOBY WILLIG
Jerusalem

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