February 19: Shouts to come

If we keep up this trend of defeatism, then, as the saying goes, it is all over bar the shouting!

Shouts to come
Sir, – The IDF recently allowed a group of Jews to enter Nablus to pray at Joseph’s Tomb without an Israeli military convoy and under the sole supervision of PA security forces (“PA rejects Israeli request to bar Joseph’s Tomb police from carrying AK-47s,” February 16).
Oh boy, is that not great news – with the goodwill of the enemy we can enter our own holy site! However, it gets better, because we are so grateful to them that even though the terrorist- in-a-suit Mahmoud Abbas refuses to talk to our prime minister (who as we all know by now is ready to make “painful concessions”), Israel is allowing the PA to expand its security control to additional parts of the West Bank.
But we are not done yet. On the same page (“Abbas, Mashaal expected to meet again in Cairo”) we are told that the new agreement to be signed by PA President Abbas and Hamas head Khaled Mashaal will, according to Palestinian sources quoted by an Arab newspaper, “pave the way for the resumption of negotiations with Israel” because “Israel has agreed to release 40 Palestinians who had been arrested before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and an additional 1,000 prisoners as part of a series of concessions to encourage the PA to return to the negotiating table.”
If we keep up this trend of defeatism, then, as the saying goes, it is all over bar the shouting!
Holy hockey
Sir, – What a splendid combination, ice and art (“Icy front coming to Jerusalem,” February 16). It seems to me that it would be advantageous to the Jerusalem municipality and the Ariel Company to take it a step up: Add ice hockey to the venture.
The players who trek up to Metulla for its hockey rink made aliya from Canada and the United States and live in Jerusalem, Ra’anana and Efrat. These young men travel there after a full-day’s work to practice and play, only to return hours later.
Hours spent on the road can be spent on the ice in Jerusalem.
It would also develop a younger generation of skaters.
H. MESSINGER Jerusalem
Reason to rail
Sir, – Further to the comments on the new Jerusalem Light Rail system (“Not all are railing,” Letters, February 16), we had a most unpleasant experience with it during a visit earlier this month.
We had been recommended to take a trip as part of our “tourist experience” but found that the ticket machine at the Davidka station was not working. As the train had just arrived we boarded, intending to pay the inspector, as is normal in England, or buy tickets at our destination and then tear them up.
After a couple of stops the inspectors got on and we tried to explain the position, even showing our passports, but they were not interested and insisted on imposing a fine on the spot. In all fairness, they did give us a contact number, but when we tried to phone we could not speak to anyone able to speak English –despite using the English- language option on the automated telephone response system.
As we were returning to England, we did not have time to follow the matter up. With the threat of prosecution hanging over us, we may well decide never to visit the country again and warn our friends accordingly.
Oh, them!
Sir, – Michael Freund’s unabashed triumphalism (“The end of Palestine,” Fundamentally Freund, February 16) omits one significant element – what he proposes to do with the 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank.
Sir, – In “Mitt Romney: Man of the (very rich) people” (Washington Watch, February 16), Douglas Bloomfield brings to mind how a political party can self-destruct.
The candidates vying for the presidential nomination of the US Republican party have succeeded in accomplishing only their own political demise by intemperate remarks and behavior. What we have witnessed has been malicious, vicious and vindictive infighting to an extent such that President Obama will have to do very little to discredit his opponent.
This is truly reminiscent of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, where there was nothing left of a prize catch by the time the old man returned to port.
Wrong priorities
Sir, – Regarding “Panel approves giant tourism center in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood” (February 14), this is all well and good. However, with the IDF in a budget crisis and services in education, health and welfare in dire need, do we really have to spend so much money on a new tourist center? Where are our priorities?
Who’s behind it?
Sir, – Regarding “Doctors to run campaign against heart disease” (February 14), the kind of therapy that can decrease the risk of stroke in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation is called anticoagulant therapy, popularly known as blood thinners.
In the past few years alternative and much more expensive anticoagulant therapy has come on the market in addition to the old standby, Coumadin.
The new drugs have the advantage that frequent monitoring by blood testing of the magnitude of the anti-coagulation is not necessary, as it is for Coumadin. According to the data that are now available, these drugs are non-inferior to Coumadin and may indeed be superior.
While one can certainly argue that raising awareness about atrial fibrillation is an idealistic endeavor, it is highly likely that this consciousness-raising effort is being initiated by commercial forces, namely the companies making these new drugs. As the awareness of atrial fibrillation and its implications grows, so will the market.
I think it is valuable to shine a light on how such campaigns come into existence and how stealth is employed by commercial interests to help shape markets and the public’s consciousness.
JOHN EIGNER Ma’aleh Adumim The writer is a family physician Shylock revisited
Sir, – With regard to “Shylock – to ban or not to ban” (Comment & Features, February 14), I lecture on the subject (“A Shake-up of Shakespeare’s Shylock – anti-Semitic or anti-Christian”) and have given this play careful study.
If people were to read the text carefully, they would find it one of the most anti-Christian plays ever written.
Shakespeare attacked the mores of his time using the type of play that pulled in the customers. It wore the garb of anti-Semitism but concealed within its satire the most damning indictment of the Christians of his time. Carefully woven into the fabric was his admiration of the Jews. He did it so carefully that his audiences had no idea they were laughing at themselves.
As for the Al Pacino film – which your critic detested, describing Pacino’s Shylock as one of the most demonic, anti- Semitic caricatures ever created – it made an attempt to look upon Shylock, shall we say, in a less negative way, but the screenplay removed most of the anti-Christian references.
People tend to forget that Shakespeare was one of the greatest minds that ever lived.
He knew exactly what he was about. Until and unless the play is recognized for what it is, this debate will continue.
EDMUND JONAH Rishon Lezion The writer lectures on this and other subjects for various organizations