Sir, – With regard to “Swedish politician calls on Jews to abandon their faith” (December 19), it’s an irony of history that Bjorn Soder, deputy speaker of the Riksdag (parliament), was born in Vasby, in the county of Scania, which was part of Denmark until 1658.
After being defeated in the Second Northern War, Denmark was forced cede the county to Sweden.
There are records of a Jewish doctor who served at the court of King Gustav Vasa in Stockholm about 150 years before that. So while Soder’s forefathers were Danish subjects, the Jews of Stockholm looked after the health of the Swedish monarch.
It is unbelievable that a progressive, liberal country like Sweden would allow a person with medieval values to become a deputy speaker.
Shame on you, Soder, and shame on the Riksdag.ERWIN PAVEL
The writer is a Swedish citizen
Sir, – The Jewish people, throughout history, have fit into the habits of the local inhabitants in all countries where they have sojourned, including Sweden.
They have followed the laws.
Does the same apply to the Muslim population in Sweden, or will Muslims be allowed to dress and pray as they are accustomed to doing, and not disturb the general public? I believe not! S. GELGOR Tel Aviv Foster families Sir, – Yael Eckstein’s piece on foster families’ help for needy children (“True candles in the darkness,” Yael’s Corner, December 19) is important. Yet she was misinformed if she was told that Israeli families are not reimbursed for the care they extend.
Having worked for many years, both in the United States and Israel, in foster home placement. I know that families are reimbursed for their services (although not as much as they deserve. They are also regularly supervised by professional social workers.L. BLASS
Attract oleh docs
Sir, – As acknowledged in “Health Ministry: Rise in medical professions, but lack of personnel” (December 18), there is a physician shortage in Israel.
Based on my own aliya experiences and observations, I would like to suggest some approaches to ameliorating this: 1. It took me several years to collect and have translated/notarized all the documents demanded for licensing. This process should be streamlined.
2. Board-certified physicians who make aliya should not be required to take additional qualifying exams.
3. Physicians contemplating aliya should be strongly encouraged to become fluent in Hebrew before arrival.
4. We should encourage doctors who are in good health and would like to continue practicing medicine to do so past the current mandatory retirement age of 67. Patients normally prefer doctors with great experience.
5. To the best of my knowledge, Nefesh B’Nefesh is the only agency that connects interested physicians with available positions in Israel.
6. Doctors in specialties of particular need should be actively recruited. Such physicians arrive without the need for a major educational outlay by the state. Of special value in this regard would be a semi-annual employment fair.
Jerusalem The writer is an American board-certified physician Truth in language
Sir, – If John McWhorter (“Why save a language?” Comment & Features, December 11) had mentioned that there were 6,000 “spin-offs” rather than “languages,” he would have to go back to Shinar/Sumer – also known as Babel. He also would have to introduce the “B” word, or Bible, and even, as many linguists have agreed, mention “Semitic” as being the oldest language according to archaeologists whose discoveries in the early 1930s contributed to the abandonment of Wellhausen’s 19th century JEPD theory.
Mr. McWhorter might even cite that the Fertile Crescent was the cradle of proto-human language, examples of which can be found in the Hebrew Bible/Torah. He next would have to introduce monogenesis and start contemplating the neuro-linguistic “big bang” that occurred at Babel.
What they were thinking is key to understanding how their language- culture arrived at the usage of certain words.
Each culture’s understanding of a word offers some criteria to determine whether two languages are genetically related. I refer to the meaning, sound and sense of a given word. This in turn leads one back to an original language.
There is a sufficiently high number of such words in many languages that can be traced back to a Semitic root – too many to describe this phenomenon as a coincidence. For example, when Russians say da, they mean “yes, I know,” from the Hebrew yada.
The Turkish say evet when they affirm; it means “good,” from the Hebrew tov. In Papua New Guinea they say seme, from the Hebrew emes (it is true). English speakers say yes, and the Chinese shi, both from the Hebrew yaish.
Note the use of metathesis, the transposition of letters, part of the spin-off from Babel. From Zephaniah 3:9: “Then, when I will transform the languages of the nations into a clear tongue [understood to be Hebrew].” On that day there will be no cross-cultural perception of the meaning of life. On that day etymology will once again be emetology.LEONARD BOOK
The writer is a rabbi researching the theory of monogenesis, or proto- human language.’Nuff said
Sir, – I think this might accurately sum up the depth of true concerns within the Church of Scotland in general, and it’s current moderator, Rt. Rev. John P.
Chalmers in particular, for Palestinians, Jews and the Church’s efforts for peace in the region.
On November 12 I wrote to the moderator, highlighting the gross inaccuracies in a claim, published in Issue 62 of the Church’s WM magazine. “I was disappointed but hardly surprised to observe the Church’s persistence in simply false, or at best misleading, accusations against Israel. In particular, the allegation that: “It will come as a shock, but Christians in Gaza have not been permitted to visit holy sites in Bethlehem and Jerusalem since 2007.”
Not unexpectedly, in his reply the moderator avoided accepting the inaccuracies as such, preferring to fog the issue with the excuse that this is what his “partners” and “our friends in Gaza” are saying. However, he did concede” “We are certainly not attempting to make false accusations, but realize that this may have been interpreted as such, and we will take corrective actions in the next edition of WM.”
True to the moderator’s word, WM issued a clarification – on the last line of the last page in Issue 63. And this is what it says: Correction and clarification WM 62 pg 4 – “It will come as a shock, but Christians in Gaza have not been freely permitted to visit holy sites in Bethlehem and Jerusalem since 2007.”
Enough said, for the moment.STANLEY GROSSMAN
Glasgow The writer is a member of the Scottish Friends of Israel.
• With regard to “PM promises to ‘vigorously’ oppose PA moves at UN” (December 22), the Palestinians have not yet been able to secure the required nine Security Council member votes for the timed statehood resolution now before the council, and thus far only seven members have announced their intention to vote in favor. The Security Council has five permanent members.
• The Jordanian proposal cited in “Labor-Hatnua takes credit for US stand against UN Security Council moves” (December 21) calls for an agreement within a year for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank based on the pre- 1967 lines, and the actual withdrawal by the end of 2017.