Letters to the Editor: Muezzin matters

November 23, 2016 20:48

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Eating habits

With regard to “Health Ministry obesity campaign to label junk food” (November 22), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that Israel has the third-highest rate of diabetes and consumption of white bread and sugar of all its member states.

Parents can change this by preparing healthy foods and demanding healthy foods from school cafeterias, camps, school events and any location where their children eat.

Yet the huge upsurge in diabetes and obesity is not all that can be related to poor diet. Research points to a link with autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s and other debilitating chronic illnesses as well.

The writer has a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a PhD and two years of post-doctoral work in the field of medical physiology.

Muezzin matters

Until there is a decision made about this land and to whom it actually belongs, can we please have some law and order – laws that are passed and actually kept, and order that is mandated and adhered to (“Fine against muezzin rekindles controversy over Muslim call to prayer,” November 22).

Lod City Councilor Abed el-Karim Azbarga said the local Dawa Mosque’s call to prayer was at “acceptable and unbothersome decibels” and that it should be respected as “part of the landscape” of the city. What about the fact that it is not acceptable and unbothersome to many residents whose much-needed and much-deserved sleep is disturbed? Such noise should certainly not be accepted as part of any landscape, and the laws in place to curtail this noise should be actioned without fear of upsetting those who are always upset by everything we do! For rabbis to oppose a law to curtail this noise – which, in my opinion, is kept at such high decibels in order to provoke and annoy – because it might also affect the use of the Shabbat siren is ridiculous in the extreme. How can they compare this to a five-times-aday blast that can almost wake the dead?


Quite honestly, I fail to understand the fuss over the matter.

In many Arab and Muslim countries, the law says the muezzin has to do his calling to prayer from the minaret, as prescribed by Islam. Here, we speak of recording equipment, probably operated by electric timers and at a volume that few countries would allow. (I sometimes wonder whether the muezzin is woken up by his own recorded voice.) As with modern equipment, there is surely a way to control the volume, which should be set at a reasonable level for the village or town, with the volume control sealed. Any time the seal is broken and the volume increased, there should be a fine.

Alternatively, the law could be based on the laws in those countries where the muezzin is made to call worshipers with his own voice.

As for the comparison to the sounds of the siren at the start of Shabbat, those come only once a week, and just for a few seconds.

A mosque’s loudspeakers are used five times every day from as early as 3 a.m. Even someone like the learned MK Ahmad Tibi should be able to understand the vast difference.

Tel Aviv

Takes umbrage

I take umbrage at the comments by reader Sha’i Ben-Tekoa (“Unrealistic targets,” Letters, November 22).

I grew up in a home where my parents had to work on Shabbat and holidays. My sister and I knew we were Jewish although there was no affiliation to any synagogue, nor was there any money for Hebrew school.

A little over six years ago, my husband (88) and I (83) made aliya. I depend heavily on Hebrew-speaking friends in my building, but I have never looked back. Six grandchildren and close to 18 great-grandchildren are here, and wow! (The other children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are not yet here.)


Bannon bangup

Reported to be an antisemite, Stephen Bannon, US President- elect Donald Trump’s senior strategy adviser, was invited to address the Zionist Organization of America. A clever way to boost aliya, or a case of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread? LEILA CUMBER London All these articles about Donald Trump and his appointees, and even about the people who voted for Trump, sound like a blood libel.

To all you American Jews who worry about Trump, he and his cabinet will not change your lives or your freedoms. Your freedom of speech will continue, and it will not matter what your religion is or what the color of your skin is.

In the Democratic Party, there are many racists, antisemites and people who are against Israel.

You do not hear about them because the media do not think it’s important. But when one conservative says something bad against blacks, Jews or Israel, the entire Right is blamed.

Nahal Oz

Wheeled hazards

I am a regular visitor to Israel. (I have a son and four grandchildren here.) This time, more than ever before, I am shocked at the danger caused by bicyclists and the users of scooters – they totally ignore the dangers they cause to pedestrians.

I was drawing money at an automated teller machine on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv, and my flimsy shawl was caught by a cyclist, pulling me over! He wasn’t the slightest bit interested in my position. He didn’t even stop! Why are these people allowed to speed on the sidewalks? Hired bicycles are another threat. The riders abuse and ignore road safety rules. They ride without lights, without helmets and without high-visibility strips.

How many more people will die or be hurt by people who ignore safety regulations? I understand that in 2015, there were 317 road fatalities in Israel.

This year so far, there have been 328 – and there is still over a month left in 2016!

Bournemouth, UK

Long-term plan

A solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be far away. The main reason is the complete distrust between the parties and the conflicting goals – Israel insists on guaranteed security, which means it won’t give up territory, and the Palestinians insist on getting back their lands.

The following proposal for an intermediate peace treaty deals with the above issues.

Palestinians will get the recognition that all the pre-1967 territories belong to them. This will be demonstrated by evacuating Israeli civilians, although the Israeli IDF won’t withdraw before a final agreement is reached, giving Israel the security it needs.

One of the main components of this model is that it will span over hundreds of years. This will enable us to deal smoothly with the huge task of evacuating the civilians, and allow time to heal the wounds. It will also defer a final agreement by generations, something that can increase the chances for an intersection of reasonable governments in both sides.

There will be three sides to this treaty: Israel, the Palestinians and the UN. It will span three periods of 200 years each. During the first period, Israeli civilians will be evacuated. During the second, Israel and the Palestinians will try to resolve their conflict. During the third, the UN will be able to set the final terms.


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