August 5: Case of 'Die-alog'

Re "Proud, indeed" (Letters, August 4): It is about time the British chief rabbi addressed the Anglican church.

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August 4, 2008 19:38
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letters 88 NICE. (photo credit: )

Case of 'die-alog' Sir, - Re "Proud, indeed" (Letters, August 4): It is about time the British chief rabbi addressed the Anglican church. Once upon a time Anglicans and Scots Presbyterians were the most fervent Christian Zionists in the world. From Oliphant, to Balfour, to Wingate, their contribution to Zionism was great. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's description of his upbringing is a refreshing example. However, the smug, self-satisfied British Jewish community let that all slip away and did not engage in dialogue with its Christian neighbors. Today, the declarations on the Mideast by both the Anglican and Scottish churches read as though they were written in Ramallah, and they probably were. Instead of congratulating Rabbi Sacks on his achievement, we should ask him and his community: Where have you been all these years? JOSEF GILBOA Jaffa Perilous path Sir, - When the Anglican community seeks to legitimize same-sex marriages, all it does is delegitimize heterosexual marriage ("Confessions of a heterophile," Hillel Halkin, July 2). DAVID DOTHAGER Mulberry Grove Illinois 100 years of oppression Sir, - Again we stand accused of oppressing the "poor sick Palestinians" by limiting their access to our hospitals ("Shin Bet decides who lives or dies in Gaza," August 4). Why haven't the Palestinians built their own hospitals? It certainly can't be for lack of funds. The world community has given them billions of dollars and euros. On what was it spent? Largely on weapons, it seems. If Physicians for Human Rights was really concerned with these people's plight, it would note that it is the Palestinians' own leaders who are oppressing them. And they've been doing it for about 100 years. T. JACOBSON Petah Tikva Hold an agreement Sir, - Re Ehud Olmert's decision, during his PM "caretaker-mode," to negotiate "firm understandings that can serve as a basis for agreements on both the Palestinian and Syrian tracks": Although your editorial "A long good-bye" (July 31) warned against "a lengthy vacuum in Israel's conduct of security, political and diplomatic affairs," surely the status quo would be preferable to "a bad diplomatic deal" that an Olmert desperate to redeem his legacy would be ready to negotiate and "that would be seen as binding on Olmert's successor"? In view of the deadly fighting between Hamas and Fatah, with Hamas as the putative victor, any further efforts to forge an agreement with Mahmoud Abbas must be put on hold until the volatile discord between the Palestinian factions is clarified. FAY DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey Looking bad Sir, - Jeff Barak has a fine sense of humor ("He ran the country well," August 4). If this is managerial competency, what am I missing? The time for this type of praise is at someone's funeral, not his forced resignation. Let's look at PM Olmert's achievements: the school strike and impending university strike. Appointing the unlamented former minister of defense, and a transportation minister whose few stupid words sent oil prices up $10 a barrel. Draft-dodging. The ongoing problem of the Gaza refugees. The incomplete Route 6. A publicly funded haredi school system that graduates students incapable of surviving in a modern society. Outrageous haredi domination of the chief rabbinate. The safety issues at our international gateway. Perhaps the only way to make the PM look good is to compare these marks of incompetence with the outrageous failure of the Second Lebanon War. STEPHEN J. KOHN Ra'anana Bad to worse Sir, - Evelyn Gordon is 100-percent correct that Israeli taxpayers should not be obligated to pay for haredi education and for stipends to 55,000 haredi draft-dodgers ("Tolerance, without state funding," July 31). Yet she does not elaborate on why the status quo will continue and, if anything, only change for the worse. Israel is not a democracy. Hence, as long as political party slates that are never answerable to the electorate continue to run the country, any ruling plurality - Left, Right or center - will lack the majority necessary to legislate in the public interest without being subject to the blackmail of haredi interests. JJ GROSS New York/Jerusalem Fathers of the desert Sir, - Mark Twain was not the only traveler to describe Palestine's desolation in the 19th century ("'The Economist' rewrites history," Zalman Shoval, August 3). There were dozens of such commentators. The British consul, James Finn, reported: "The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population..." A Christian clergyman, the Rev. Samuel Manning, mourned: "This fertile plain (the Sharon), which might support an immense population, is almost a solitude." Prof. Fred Gottheil described "a desolate country... wretched... almost abandoned now... unoccupied... uninhabited." Col. Claude R. Condor pronounced it "a ruined land." Pierre Loti wrote: "I traveled through sad Galilee in the spring and found it silent... As elsewhere, as everywhere in Palestine, city and palaces have returned to the dust...." David Landes summarized it as a land that "has been given over to sand, marsh, the anopheles mosquito, clan feuds and Beduin marauders." The Arabs have been described as the "sons of the desert," but they are truly its fathers. MEIR ABELSON Beit Shemesh Letter-perfect Sir, - When I was a youngster growing up in London, I could never understand my dear, late mother Anne Curzon's penchant for constantly writing letters to The Times, The Daily Mail, The Jewish Chronicle, you name it - all of which were printed. I never read them. When I grew much older and began receiving The Jerusalem Post on a daily basis after my mother passed away four years ago, I began to understand her so clearly, and realized that I had inherited this trait of hers. To summarize in a rhyming nutshell: "I feel so much better / After writing a letter...." ("Eloquent outrage," Letters, August 4). LINDA STERN Safed Rather dim Sir, - The Israel Airports Authority has issued a request for information on "Airport Lighting Luminaries including Light Emitting Duode - LED" (July 31). I have always understood a luminary to be a person who inspires others (although an archaic definition is of a natural light-giving body such as the sun or moon). But what is a duode? Almost every high school student, and many juniors, could have told the Airports Authority that LED stands for Light Emitting Diode, and that "lighting luminaries" should have read "illumination." Such gaffes join NATBAG (a road sign once directing drivers to Ben-Gurion Airport) and a myriad other examples of bad English seen daily in official notices. Can't people swallow their pride and request a bit of proofreading? HAROLD LEWIN Jerusalem


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