letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - Rather than Israel attending a conference in Annapolis, it should be convening a conference of all the world's civilized countries on "The Dangers of Islamism Worldwide." Israel is being used to deflect attention from the Islamicists' stated aim of subverting democratic freedoms and replacing them with Shari'a law. Already nearly half of Africa is under Islamic enslavement. The Philippines and Southern Thailand are suffering under Islamic suppression. In Europe and Britain the Muslim birthrate, approximately four times the indigenous population's, guarantees that Britain and Europe will be Islamic within the next 25 years or so. The UN has simply become a Muslim talking shop.
Israel must be a light unto the nations by alerting the civilized world's populations to the terrible dangers it faces. Islam must be contained within the boundaries of the Mideastern Arab states only.
Sir, - It is all very well for Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary of State Rice to go on about how Israel has to make painful concessions for peace. We have been waiting since 1992 to see when the PA will make one concession, painful or otherwise, that the people governed by it will actually adhere to. Until the secretary addresses that, she, like her predecessors, will get nowhere ("US plans talks even without agreement on joint statement," November 14) .
Fill in the blanks
Sir, - With the environmental protection minister wanting to reduce paper wastage ("Ezra demands gov't use recycled paper," November 14), the press could, instead of repeating the same news reports several times, set an example by producing once a year fill-in-the blanks, delete-where-appropriate generic articles.
For example: "Current Israeli leader X believes current Palestinian leader X is a partner for peace/needs to do more/has to curb X terrorist activity if he is to be a partner for peace; and plans to release X terrorists as a goodwill gesture and/or meet with him at location X and discuss concessions X.
Meanwhile, X number of rockets/mortars were fired from Palestinian-controlled area/s X at Israeli city X and/or gunfire/knives/explosives were directed at Israelis, and X world leaders/organizations warned Israel that retaliation would be seen as being disproportionate/ encouraging terrorism/continuing the cycle of violence/collective punishment and urged X concessions/peace talks.
Like it is
Sir, - Kudos to Emmy Zitter for saying it as it is ("Teachers: True or false?" November 13). She really put teachers' woes and issues in a nutshell. Only teachers comprehend and appreciate the effort of other teachers. It's a shame the government and general public don't understand that we are performing the most important task on this earth: educating your children.
Ramat Beit Shemesh
Sir, - How can a government that can't make peace with the teachers make peace with the Palestinians?
Begging to differ
Sir, - Sarah Shapiro is right. Aren't we all just "Beggars at the Kotel"? (November 14.) When we go there with our "shopping lists," we pray that God will say yes to our requests and not turn away.
No, I don't mind some of the beggars (although there should be a creative way to get rid of the aggressive ones). I have never experienced any violence, nor do I know anyone who has. I always go to the Western Wall with 10 one-shekel coins in an outside pocket.
When I give a smile and say yes to an outstretched hand, I am so grateful that it's not me on the receiving end. It is a small price to pay for the warm feeling that follows you around all day.
Yes, we need the beggars more than they need us.
Sir, - Stephen Rosenberg's "In praise of the Apikoros" (November 13) was a skewed interpretation of the criticism of our sages.
The Mishna in Sanhedrin 10:1 considers the Apikoros a danger to Judaism, being one who not only shows contempt for the Torah and the sages but also for the message of Judaism: that God revealed to mankind an ethical and religious way of life. Rosenberg failed to quote Maimonides, who wrote in the Laws of Repentance, Chapter 3, there are three types of people who are called Apikorsim: 1. One who says there is no such thing as prophecy (i.e., denying that God communicated with the biblical prophets); 2. One who denies the prophecy of Moshe Rabbeinu (who received and taught all the commandments, including "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "Be holy"); and 3. One who says that God has no relationship to mankind.
Thus the Apikoros would have no use for prayer, Torah study and good deeds as emanating from God's revelation. Jewish tradition teaches that the human being needs God. The Apikoros denies this need, and thus is condemned.
Sources & witnesses
Sir, - Thank you for sharing Edi Weinstein's story ("Oral tradition," November 8). Anne Wollenberg's description of Mr. Weinstein's odyssey in hell helped the reading audience take a sojourn into the world of The Catastrophe through the recounting of a primary source, in a first-hand witnessing account; that way the reader becomes a secondary source and a witness of sorts.
Such stories are of supreme importance for all children, Jewish and gentile, to hear so that the horrors of the Holocaust may never again be thrust upon the Jewish people and humanity at large.
Sir, - As a veterinary surgeon, it never ceases to amaze me that some scientists still use rats and other animals to study conditions that occur only in people ("Miracles waiting to happen," Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, November 11). Animal experiments often give researchers a false sense of security, which makes clinical trials in humans resemble Russian roulette rather than sound science. This was the case last year in the UK, when six healthy young men nearly died after being given an experimental drug called TGN1412, which had tested safe in monkeys at 500 times the dose given to the participants. A public inquiry into the efficacy of animal research is well overdue.
DR. ANDRE MENACHE
Scientific Consultant to Antidote Europe
Sir, - Just to say thanks for making up for the missing word builder in your November 11 edition by providing two - 415 and 416 - on the following day.
Oh yes! And thanks also for making it possible to solve 415 without the assistance of a dictionary.
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