April 28: Stranger than fiction

April 27, 2015 22:34

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Stranger than fiction

Regarding “Mea She’arim mob assaults IDF officer” (April 26), stories of this nature make me hopeful that negotiations with the Palestinian Authority will soon resume. This way, perhaps we can let the Palestinians have Mea She’arim as part of a land swap.

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Seriously folks, is this story really, really true? Can it be that truth is really stranger than fiction?

Mevaseret Zion

Inner workings

Your opinion piece concerning belief in God (“Faith vs. facts,” Comment & Features, April 26) was accompanied by a remarkable illustration of the interior of a watch. I wonder whether this was the author’s intention.

Did T.M. Luhrmann have in mind the 19th-century British theologian William Paley, who wrote that anyone regarding the fine detail and precision of a watch cannot but conclude that it was created by a watchmaker? Considering the complexity of a watch, how much more so that the complexity of the natural world requires a Maker.



No proven link

Sometimes, the letters editor hits a dry spot and thinks, What mischief can I do to jigger things up a little? So he prints the letter from reader Eliyahu Holley about vaccines (“Vaccine policies,” April 26).

No link between autism and vaccines has been found after many excellent scientific studies. The original Lancet paper by Andrew Wakefield, claiming a connection between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism, was completely discredited, found to be based on forgeries.

It was withdrawn – an almost unprecedented act for a scientific journal.

The long list of ailments mentioned by Mr. Holley is a potpourri of unrelated disorders he claims are related in some way to vaccines.

There is not a shred of credible scientific evidence to back up this allegation. One might as well claim that all these diseases have become more common because of the Internet, cell phones, global warming, the world financial crises or any other factor you care to choose.

What is missing, of course, is evidence, or even in many cases plausibility. There is, however, overwhelming evidence for the huge benefits that enlightened vaccination has provided, the most recent example in Israel being the abatement of the polio virus crisis two years ago.

Recent history has provided many examples of outbreaks of devastating diseases, such as measles, mumps and whooping cough, when vaccination rates drop as a result of irresponsible publicity. The real victims are the dead and damaged children injured by completely preventable diseases.


The writer, a physician, is head of the Department of Pediatrics at Ziv Medical Center and vice dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University.

Band of brothers

Your “Canadian lone soldier receives presidential citation” (April 24) was an excellent article.

It brought back memories for me, also an ex-Canadian and ex-lone soldier, having served in Nahal in the late 1960s.

Since then, I have read numerous articles in your newspaper about lone soldiers. You need to keep up the good work.

I stayed and did my combat reserve duty (year in, year out), raised a family, worked and retired.

We are all a band of brothers, whether lone soldiers or sabras, past, present and future.

Kiryat Motzkin

Shedding light

With regard to “FBI chief tells Polish envoy he regrets Holocaust remarks” (April 24), the value of the denial by Poland that Poles committed atrocities during the Holocaust can be assessed by recalling the Jedwabne atrocity.

On July 10, 1941, more than 1,600 people, the entire Jewish population of Jedwabne, near Lomza in northeastern Poland, were pushed into a barn by their Polish neighbors and burned alive.

Jews who escaped were decapitated, burned alive or beaten to death. In the 1960s, a monument was set up at the site, blaming the atrocity on the Germans.

Documents discovered by Prof. Jan Gross of New York University showed that this act had been committed by Poles, with the Nazis playing only a minor role.

This was acknowledged in a leading Polish newspaper, Rzeczpospolita.

The quality of Polish morality can be gauged by the above-mentioned “disclaimer” monument.

The outcry in Poland at the remarks of FBI Director James Comey should be seen in this light.

Beit Zayit

Time to acknowledge

Yedidia Stern, a concerned and active law professor and head of the Israel Democracy Institute’s religion and state project, is undoubtedly sincere when offering his suggestions for compromise rather than coercion by the state in its relating to the ultra-Orthodox community (“A miracle waiting to happen,” Religious Affairs, April 24). With the implementation of his proposals, he optimistically foresees the possible transformation of that community into Israel’s “next big growth engine.”

Unfortunately, I fear that the issues are far more complex than Stern’s surprisingly simplistic presentation, and that in no manner can they be attributed to coercion by the state. The two very ugly attacks last week by haredi thugs against uniformed haredi soldiers bespeak of a deeply rooted antipathy toward any service in the IDF, and an ideological bias against the very legitimacy of the state.

Admittedly, this group might be relatively small, but it and its actions are permitted to flourish because of the absence of any robust punitive measures and the lack of any clear and vocal condemnation by the heads of their yeshivot and their overly timid rabbinic authorities.

It is about time that those who claim primary allegiance to God and Torah firmly acknowledge the Divine miracle that is the State of Israel and its army of defense.

Petah Tikva

Starry-eyed Kudos to Elie Podeh for evoking the heart of the issue in the twostate debate (“Applying the ‘Obama Doctrine’ to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict,” Comment & Features, April 20).

Many commentators in The Jerusalem Post have focused on whether we have a partner for peace, that is, whether it is at all possible to reach an agreement. Gershon Baskin’s Encountering Peace columns offer a resounding yes to that question.

But Podeh boldly leaps to the question of what next? He blandly allows that a future republic of Palestine might violate its agreement.

But in that case, he says, Israel’s “military might could easily undo what has been conceded.”

What is his argument for this claim? It rests mainly on the comparative annual budgets for military spending: NIS 57 billion for Israel vs. $1b. for the Palestinian Authority.

Oh really? Is that all there is to it? Are confrontations between nations like prizefights, in which the heavyweight will easily brush aside the featherweight? Even in boxing, the prediction can fail in the face of a lucky punch.

But Podeh ignores the factor of alliances. We call them mutual defense pacts. Who is to say that Israel would not have to take on another country – say, Iran – in order to “take back what has been conceded”? And what would the world have to say? Even now, the BDS forces are gathering steam. Imagine the reaction if Israel had to “take back” Palestinian independence! Is Podeh confident that the nations of the world would judge fairly the depth of our provocation? Yes, Podeh has gotten to the heart of the problem. But his conclusion reflects starry-eyed optimism, to say the least.


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