Apologies and insults
Sir, – “Six of Gush Etzion’s most prominent rabbis visited
the torched mosque in Beit Fajar on Tuesday to apologize for the destruction
allegedly caused by Jewish vandals and to deliver new Korans to the local Imam
in place of those burned” (“Rabbis deliver apologies, new Korans to vandalized
Beit Fajar mosque,” October 6).
“Taking the books, a local religious
leader said he was accepting them in the name of Palestinian prisoners in
So there you have it, the rabbis’ humble attitude to our
enemies was received with what I would call a gross insult by accepting the gift
in the name of terrorists who have murdered Israelis.EDITH OGNALL
Netanya Evolution of a firing
Sir, – It is heartening to read that “the
termination of the Education Ministry’s chief scientist [Dr. Gaby Avital] was
not related to his personal beliefs and recent statements doubting evolution and
global warming” (“Education Ministry denies Avital let go due to Darwinism
remarks,” October 6).
Unfortunately, anyone doubting Darwin’s theory of
evolution tends to be labeled as a bigoted fundamentalist and blackballed in
Yet there are some serious scientific problems with
this theory, and such action smacks more of medieval dogmatism than of
open-minded research.MARTIN D. STERN
Sir, – Does
academic freedom exist only when a professor calls for a boycott of Israel? If
scientists question global warming and evolution, then they are automatically
fired? (“Education Ministry’s controversial chief scientist dismissed,” October
5). Is this the proper approach to use with the chief scientist of Israel?
Instead of firing Dr. Gaby Avital, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar should have
upheld the principle of academic freedom and invited both Dr. Avital and Hebrew
University President Prof. Ben-Sasson to a meeting, so that each could clarify
and justify their position.
And instead of calling for a five-minute
break in teaching – which certainly does not advance learning – Prof. Ben-
Sasson could have called for a debate on both issues by his students. He might
be surprised to find that there are many strong reasons to doubt both global
warming and evolution of species.
It seems to me that contempt for the
methodology of science is demonstrated when the attempt is made to stifle a
dissenting position, especially when there are so many books written by
professional scientists seriously questioning scientific orthodoxy in these
Sir, – Dr. Avital is lucky. Had he lived
in Galileo’s time, he would have been burnt at the stake for daring to have
ideas in contravention to the accepted wisdom.
It is acceptable for
academics to call on foreign universities to boycott their
After all, this is academic freedom.
But students must
be warned that questioning the accepted wisdom of their betters will not be
tolerated. After all, academic freedom has its limits.DAVID STEINHART
Sir, – I am gratified and amazed that Ms. Montagu
(“In my own write,” October 6) wrote about her friend with a little-understood
chronic disorder such as fibromyalgia. I had suffered from it for years and was
told it was all in my head! Fortunately, I found two doctors who diagnosed me
correctly, but it’s only in the last year that medication was formulated to
alleviate most if not all of the symptoms. It’s relatively new here but well
known in America; it is called “Lyrica.”
I found physical therapy and
sometimes a course of hydrotherapy extremely helpful.
And yes, stress
reduction is very helpful as well.
Thank you, July Montagu, for making
public a problem seldom discussed or understood.A. WEINBERG
Sir, – Your half-page tribute to the great Norman Wisdom (“Comic
legend Sir Norman Wisdom dies aged 95,” October 6) tells its own
This comic genius had my entire family in pain from excessive
laughter on numerous occasions. (There is no better medicine). There is only one
other to match him – Jerry Lewis.
He rose from poverty to reach the
heights with good old-fashioned, clean fun.
God bless you, Mr.
Hod Hasharon Driving in cloud cuckoo-land
Sir, – Why
cannot the powers that be come down from their ivory towers and save lives? Ron
Friedman reports that “researchers at the Israel Police Traffic Division
together with a group of psychology students from Rupin College are conducting a
study on the psychology of drivers in an effort to create a tool that will help
traffic officers identify dangerous motorists” (“Artificial intelligence could
be new weapon to counter road deaths,” January 22).
I must be living in
Let the movers and shakers of the traffic division
travel from Netanya to Caesarea at 8 a.m. and return at 1 p.m.
the thousands of buses, tankers, trucks and cars traveling this route and on to
Haifa, all adept at dangerous driving! Why is there never, ever a vehicle pulled
up for speeding? It is a disgrace to say that if you do find one vehicle keeping
to the speed limit, that driver feels like a freak. Road signs instructing “Slow
down to 70” are ignored.
A fortune in money would be raised if only the
speedsters were punished! How about impounding the vehicles for a week? Solve
the problem with a simple solution before going all scientific and
sophisticated. It is not rocket-science, after all, to stop speeding and keep
death off the roads.ALAN ZULMAN
Netanya Not prepared for peace
Khaled Abu Toameh reports that “Abbas seeks Arab support to stop talks unless
Israel renews moratorium” (October 5).
However, the most important item
of concern in his article – hidden toward the end – is that a recent poll shows
that more than half of the Arabs both in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria said that
they supported Hamas’s recent terror attack near Hebron which resulted in the
murder of four Israelis.
The fact that more than 50 percent of the
general population of our so-called “peace partners” condone terrorism proves
that it is irrelevant whether talks continue or not.
In reality, the
majority of Arabs are not prepared for peace, but still prefer a Middle East
free of Jews.JOSH HASTEN