Sir, – David Newman (“Scottish independence and the right to secession,” Borderline Views, September 16) proposes that the quest for Scottish independence is an analogy to the Palestinian issue. However, his hypothesis has a fatal flaw whose basis precludes meaningful progress in Israel-Palestinian dialog.
While Scottish nationalists seek an independent state within their traditional defined border, with no designs on English territory, most Palestinians, as demonstrated by the written and oral statements of their leaders, have the goal of a state “from the river to the sea,” leaving no room for a Jewish state.
Until the idea of the existence in peace of a Jewish national entity permeates the Palestinians, from their leaders on down to the classroom, the prospects for peace appear dim.DAVID MASLOW
Delft, the city
Sir, – With regard to “Delving into Delft” (Arts & Entertainment, September 16), the Netherlands is small, and so is Delft.
However, it is not a “town.” On April 15, 1246, it received city rights from Count William II of Holland.MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN
Sir, – Bravo and thank you, Steve Linde, for “Tony Bennett leaves his heart (briefly) in Tel Aviv” (Arts & Entertainment, September 16), a wonderful review of the Sunday night performance at the Mann Auditorium.
I would also say thank you, Tony Bennett, for coming to perform in Israel and giving us a most unforgettable and unbelievable show. May I also add my three words’ worth: fabulous, fantastic, phenomenal.
Mr. Bennett is the supreme song stylist, a true giant of the American songbook, and as he proved last Sunday night, a warm, loving human being. I am lucky to have seen and heard some of the greatest performers while on my visits to the US – the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Keely Smith, Cleo Laine, Johnny Mathis, Mel Torme and the legendary Sammy Davis, Jr. – but the performance of Tony Bennett will always be the greatest thing I’ve experienced.
Tel Aviv Giving in
Sir, – In most of my 54 years in this country I was liberal in my way of thinking, but in the past few years, with the rise of violence and excessive hatred in the Arab countries, and especially with having lost so many of our dear sons from the unacceptable violence of Arab terrorists, I greatly object to Barry Leff’s “A rare visit to Hebron” (Observations, September 12).
This is yet another example of giving in to the terrorists: We are “disrupting thousands of Palestinian lives.” Must we yet again surrender to violence – and retreat because they don’t know how to live in peace? Should all the Jews leave France because the Arabs don’t want them there? After all, the Jews are taking up valuable land that the terrorists could occupy.
Perhaps Rabbi Leff should get the Jews to vacate Jerusalem as the Arabs don’t want us there either – such a shame to cause them this inconvenience.
This article happened to appear alongside “Of politicians and moral courage” (Column One), where Caroline B. Glick criticizes US President Barack Obama for not confronting reality.
Here, one of our own rabbis advocates giving in to the terrorists and vacating land “in order to be fair to the Palestinians.”
(By the way, why “Palestinians”? They are Jordanians).
The vacation will begin in Hebron. Where will it end? Please remember, Rabbi Leff: It is not the Jews in Hebron making the problem. It is the Arabs who won’t accept them there or any other place in the world.JANICE SHRIER
Sir, – It appears that some Egyptians are becoming irate at claims that Hebrew slaves built the pyramids (“‘Israeli spies alter past to show Jews built pyramids,” September 11).
The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt took place circa 3,500 years ago. In fact, the year 2035 will mark exactly 3,500 years – coincidentally, the same time as the enormous volcanic eruption of the island of Santorini. (As it says in the Passover Haggada, “a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.”) It might also account for the 10 plagues. This is all backed up by geological proof.
The Egyptians might be right about the Pyramids as it appears that the builders were paid.
However, they are wrong about the dates: It is not 3,200 years from the Exodus; it is 3,500 years, as evidence of fallout from the eruption testifies and can be scientifically proved.JEFFREY MARLOWE
Sir, – The piece by Daniel Berman, Brenda Breuer and Awi Federgruen (“A scientific perspective on ‘A New York circumcision controversy,’” Comment & Features, September 10) is not as scientific as the title implies.
The piece is “scientific” only because it is difficult to completely rule out alternative routes of herpes simplex virus infection being transmitted via metzitza be peh (MBP, or oral suction) since the virus can be ubiquitous, as pointed out in a recent editorial I co-authored in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. Berman et al ignore over a century of medical research referenced in our editorial linking not only herpes, but tuberculosis of the penis and syphilis (some cases of which were fatal), where the parents were shown to be free of these infections while the mohel was not.
MBP was probably performed throughout the ages as a form of disinfection and to stop bleeding – think of the almost automatic behavior of putting one’s injured finger in the mouth. It was not recognized as a source of illness or death prior to the 19th century, likely because before that time infant mortality was so high that a few deaths from MBP would not stand out. Now we know MBP to be unsanitary at best and life-threatening at worst.
Since the mid-19th century, leading rabbinic authorities such as the Chatam Sofer ruled that MBP could be performed through instrumental suction. If not for Reform attacks on circumcision that began shortly after Rabbi Moses Sofer’s courageous and progressive ruling, we would not be having this discussion.BEN ZION KATZ
The writer is a physician and professor in the department of pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine
Not up to laymen
Sir, – I was dismayed to read “J’lem District Committee rejects Shfela basin oil shale pilot project” (September 3) during a recent visit.
Israel has been bereft of any natural energy resources until the recent oil and gas offshore finds, and this project, if successful, would make the country self-sufficient for generations.
It was thus disconcerting to find that the Jerusalem District Planning Committee, meeting in closed session, was composed of bureaucratic laymen representing various government ministries and local authorities. The only members who had technical knowledge, albeit very limited, were from the Environmental Protection Ministry, where the minister had already publicly voiced his opposition.
For such major projects in the UK, the government appoints an inspector, usually a neutral, highly qualified person, to hold a public inquiry where top expert witnesses from both sides state their case and provide written evidence available to all. It should not be up to laymen to decide such issues.
It is high time the procedure was changed to be truly democratic; otherwise, chaos will ensue! BARNEY KAYE