June 27: Bits and bites

Snakes are venomous, not poisonous. Poison is ingested or inhaled, while venom is directly injected into the blood stream – such as via a snake bite.

June 27, 2013 22:21
3 minute read.

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Bits and bites

Sir, – In “Snakes are not the only ones biting this summer – watch out for spiders,” on June 25, the article incorrectly stated that a man died from “the bite of a poisonous viper snake.” Snakes are venomous, not poisonous. Poison is ingested or inhaled, while venom is directly injected into the blood stream – such as via a snake bite.


Sir, – In the article about the tragic death of a man from a snake bite (“In rare tragedy, fatal snakebite on Kinneret beach,” June 23), the article continued by mentioning what to do in case of scorpion bites.

Scorpions do not bite but sting, the venomous sac is in the tail.


Fresh directions

Sir – Rami Hamadallah’s resignation from being a powerless prime minister in a corrupt Palestinian Authority with a bogus “peace” process is good news (“Abbas accepts Hamadallah’s resignation” June 24).

His return to the presidency of An-Najah University offers him a creative opportunity to become an honest peacemaker. Hamdallah has the power to initiate a real peace process by driving 20 minutes to meet with Dan Meyerstein.

Hamdallah used his creative energies to build a small college into a major university in Nablus while Meyerstein built a major university a mere 12 miles away in Ariel.

Today, 600 Arab students study in Ariel University.

Hamdallah can initiate a genuine peace process by inviting 600 Jewish students to study in An-Najah University.

These two neighboring universities, working together, can forge fresh directions for Arabs and Jews to live in peace with each other between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River.


The writer is professor emeritus at Ariel University

Wishful thinking

Sir, – Ramzy Mardini is mistaken in his portrayal of the civil war in Syria (“Bad idea Mr. President,” Comment and Feature, June 23).

Contrary to what he says, the US does have a stake in the conflict, as the man the rebels are fighting is a close ally of Iran and a long-time enabler of terrorism in the region. I also think that Martini and others are far too optimistic, to the point of wishful thinking, in their hopes for a political solution.


Common origin

Sir, – Uriel Halbreich’s excellent contribution “All are Right! A hassidic lesson for American mediators” (Observations, June 21) is capable of further elaboration.

In this context, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict allows a most interesting question: How is it that two apparently very different peoples are fighting for possession of every single square inch of precisely the same piece of land? There are only three possible answers to this question.

Either one side is right and the other wrong, or both sides are wrong, or – both sides are right. But how could both sides be right? Well, we know our own side. We need no lessons on our connection to the Torah, our history in the Diaspora and the glorious new dawn heralded by the Zionist movement.

But how much do we know about the Palestinians? Knowledge comes from surprising and illustrious sources. This knowledge has “gone to sleep” for many years. Now the time has come to resuscitate it.

David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi collaborated as early as 1918 on a book The Land of Israel – Past and Present and Ben- Zvi further developed his theme in a 1932 work The Populations in our Land. The two great men were completely agreed in their conclusion: the vast majority of the Palestinians were onetime Jews who a) had never left the land and b) were transformed over time through pressure into Muslim peasant agriculturalists.

This provides a basis for final settlement. As the rabbis say: the greatest of all human achievements is to turn an enemy into a friend. This common origin for both peoples gives plenty reason to get started.


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