October 5: Little risk

I find it odd that leaders and citizens on the Right are perturbed by what they consider Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Jekyll/Hyde approach to a two-state solution.

October 4, 2014 22:43
Netanyahu and Obama

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) and US President Barack Obama meet in the White House. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Little risk

Sir, – I find it odd that leaders and citizens on the Right are perturbed by what they consider Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Jekyll/Hyde approach to a two-state solution (“Right angry with Netanyahu for backing Palestinian state,” October 2).

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For years, Bibi has supported an approach that polls indicate most of the country actually endorses: a theoretical acceptance of a hypothetical state run by a peaceful, friendly leadership of moderates we can trust; demilitarized (just in case!); not susceptible to Hamas leadership; and dedicated to building a positive relationship with its nextdoor neighbor rather than working toward its eventual destruction.

Leaders on the Right ought to be completely... well, at peace with the prime minister’s endorsement of such a model, as it exposes us to very little risk anytime in the near future.


Perfectly compatible

Sir, – Contrary to David Barash’s conclusions in “God, Darwin and my college biology class” (Comment & Features, October 2), evolution and religious belief (specifically Judaism) can exist happily together – by integrating the two rather than keeping them separate.

The idea that evolution of the cosmos began with the Big Bang lives happily with Genesis’s creation in time. The Jewish emphasis on unity is supported by the conclusion from evolutionary science that all living things are related members of one family.

Most importantly, a fundamental of Judaism is that our world is intended for bestowing dignity and meaning on our lives.

My book Why Evolution Matters: A Jewish View (Vallentine Mitchell, 2014) makes clear that some aspects of evolution are predictable. Constraints on evolution, its tendency to converge toward common solutions to common problems and its self-organization lead to this predictability.

When predictability is added to evolution’s progress – all will agree that humans show intellectual progress when compared with bacteria – we can conclude that evolution would progress toward creatures with high intelligence (ourselves) sooner or later. The system is set up so that this will come about. We are, in other words, intended, and the Intender hopes that our freely- willed behavior will justify the long process by which we evolved.

The findings of evolutionary science inform many areas of Jewish concern, including suffering, free will and death. But these findings do not deny the fundamentals of Jewish belief.

Zichron Ya’acov

The writer is a physician.

Question of behavior

Sir, – With regard to “Petition slams El Al for haredi harassment” (October 1), many years ago I took a shared taxi service from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Being first in line I was lucky to get the seat next to the driver, which is roomier and more comfortable.

Before we set off, an agitated haredi man asked me to change seats, as there were only women in the seats behind. Naturally, I refused. He was not abusive but merely shrugged and said okay, he would wait for the next taxi.

Now that’s what I call decent and tolerant.

El Al might learn from this and simply boot off the flight anyone whose behavior is obnoxious. If a passenger is drunk or violent he would be thrown off the plane without question. Why can’t El Al enforce these simple standards? After all, the captain is in charge and the safety of his passengers is paramount.


Deaf ears

Sir, – Gil Troy’s suggested sermon for liberal rabbis (“The Israel sermon rabbis should dare to deliver,” Center Field, October 1) will fall on deaf ears.

With few exceptions, liberal rabbis are not leaders, but panderers who spend half their energy covering their backsides, and the other half caving in to the whims of their mostly absentee flocks. If we cannot expect a rabbi to speak out against intermarriage, how can we expect him or her to speak out on behalf of Israel? As for those few liberal rabbis who are not hiding under their desks, many comprise the very vanguard in active efforts to harm Israel.


Let’s believe them

Sir, – In “Kicking the PLO habit” (Our World, September 30), Caroline B. Glick suggests a one-state plan for peace in the Middle East. It would implement Israeli law over all of Judea and Samaria and provide the Palestinians with equal rights, thus giving them the right to apply for and receive Israeli citizenship.

Glick suggests that these citizens, including Arabs in Jerusalem and Druse in the Golan Heights, acquire a moderate and smart leadership. This leader would bring everyone out to vote. But then Arabs, together with the Left, would be a majority in the Knesset.

It would not be far-fetched for us to have an Arab prime minister – there goes the State of Israel and in comes the state of Palestine.

This all would be done legally. Votes, not bullets,would make us lose our state.

Did Jews ever stop dreaming of one day returning to Jerusalem? We pray three times a day for that. What makes Glick or any one else believe that the Arabs will stop dreaming and fighting to acquire a Palestinian state in the Land of Israel? The Arabs have proved time and time again that they are not interested in economic growth (just one example is Gaza). They have proved that they will give their lives for conquering the Land of Israel. Let’s believe them!

Ma’aleh Adumim

Cite the crime

Sir, – With regard to “Richard Horton’s war on Israel” (Comment & Opinion, September 30), of course The Lancet’s editor is a raging anti-Semite. But that’s far from his journal’s worst crime.

In 1998, The Lancet irresponsibly published a bogus “study” that purported to show a link between vaccinations and autism. It withdrew the article in 2010, but it was far too late and the damage was done. By then it had set off a wide, misguided anti-vaccination campaign that probably killed many more innocent children than even the worst anti-Semites blame on Israel.

Though the paper was false and The Lancet finally withdrew it, the campaign persists. This crime must be cited every time anyone mentions The Lancet in print or otherwise. In fact, considering this, I wonder why anybody still quotes that journal at all, and why it even still exists.


Failing the test

Sir, – With regard to “Filmmaker stars Bethlehem as model of diversity in Middle East” (Arts & Entertainment, September 30), attributing diversity to the city of Bethlehem, which is judenrein, is incomprehensible. There are no Jews living there. Might this be because it would be dangerous for Jews to live there? Furthermore, the city’s Christian population has been sharply reduced, allegedly due to pressure from Muslim neighbors.

True diversity requires that people of all religions are able to live together without fear or prejudice. The city of Bethlehem does not meet this test.


Silence means ‘no’

Sir, – Reader Brian D. Wine, an attorney, defends the Supreme Court in all its rulings (“Views of a court,” September 30).

“Basic Law: Dignity and Freedom of Man,” Wine writes, “was enacted by a special majority in the Knesset.” But that majority was 32 to 21 and 23 to 0. That is fewer than half the members of the Knesset.

Why should a law be respected when more than half of our elected lawmakers did not approve it?


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