January 8: Precision in language

Shogeg is an act committed intentionally, the consequence of which is unintended.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Handling disasters
Sir, – Your January 6 editorial “Preparing for snow” does not go far enough. Israel needs a person with authority to review all disaster recovery and business continuity plans for emergency services and their dependencies.
Every self-respecting company, municipality or agency has a disaster recovery plan. Unfortunately, many are limited to their own domain. Example: A plan to operate from a remote facility will depend on telephones, but the phone company is not necessarily notified of this dependence.
I suggest that a person with the same authority as a judge or the state comptroller be appointed to review, question and map out (cross reference) all plans that affect state-licensed entities. This person would need a small team to track interdependencies.
The team must be imaginative and ask hard questions.
It is a never-ending task.
The person required for actually managing an emergency should have experience as a CEO or high-ranking military officer, being able to make quick decisions and keep priorities straight, but also letting each entity work freely in its own sphere.
Kfar Saba
The writer is a retired systems administrator for Motorola Israel, where he specialized in backup and recovery.
Lehava’s status
Sir, – While I condemn unreservedly the setting of an integrated Jerusalem school on fire and spray-painting anti-Arab graffiti there, it is ridiculous that Israel’s defense minister is moving to designate the anti-assimilationist group Lehava a terrorist organization on the strength of its alleged but unproven involvement (“Ya’alon asks legal experts if he can outlaw Lehava,” January 6).
These offenses hardly deserve such action compared to the obvious terrorist attacks by Arabs who throw rocks and firebombs at motorists with the clear intention of causing death or, at least, serious injury, as in the case of 11-year old Ayala Shapira, who suffered third-degree burns over 50 percent of her body on the evening of December 25.
The authorities seem less concerned when the perpetrators are Arabs, as is clear when the treatment of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane and his followers is compared to that of MKs Ahmed Tibi and Haneen Zoabi. Only when these MKs are prosecuted for their activities will action against Lehava merit consideration – and then only for any illegal activities rather than mere opposition to assimilation per se, however politically incorrect that might be.
Salford, UK
Weary mantra
Sir, – Alfred H. Moses (“A time for change,” Comment & Features, January 6) insists on peddling the same weary mantra: “It is time for Israel... to advance the peace process” with “bold negotiated measures....”
Why should it be necessary to point out that “bold negotiated measures” require a party on the other side of the table? Could it be that Moses fails to note the recent admission by former Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni that Israel had been prepared for major concessions during the talks of 2013-14 and that the Palestinians walked away? It is past time for Moses, and for all those who think as he does, to acknowledge that the Palestinian Authority – which has forged an agreement with Hamas! – does not want a state, but rather to destroy Israel piece by piece.
As to the Palestinian Arabs’ “legitimate national aspirations,” I beg to strongly differ. Neither history nor international law can be drawn upon to demonstrate the legitimacy of the PA’s claims.
The world is terribly myopic on this matter and has swallowed an Arab political invention. It is the Jews who have – both legally and historically – the legitimate claim to Judea and Samaria.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas continues to harp on the necessity for Israel to return to the “pre-1967 border,” but that “border” was only a temporary armistice line. What is more, the armistice agreement was with Jordan, not with Palestinian Arabs. UN Security Council Resolution 242 mentions neither “Palestinians” nor a “Palestinian state.”
The writer is co-chair of the Legal Grounds Campaign, which promotes awareness of the legal rights of Israel to be present in Judea and Samaria.
Sir, – Alfred H. Moses is not the Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt. On the contrary, he seems to agree with the spies who, returning from the Promised Land, spread fear and defeat, declaring that there were strong, fenced-in cities and giants.
This latter-day Moses declares: “With the exception of security, none of the issues is existential for Israel – not borders (within generally accepted confines), not the prospect of a limited number of Arab refugees returning to pre-partition Mandatory Palestine, nor the presence of a Palestinian capital in the greater Jerusalem area.”
He is saying that it’s okay for Israel to return to the pre-1967 lines, divide its capital city and let the Arab “refugees” flood Israel proper. He seems to espouse a calculated risk for the fate of Israeli citizens.
Maoz Zion
Sir, – If nothing else, Alfred H. Moses is attempting to influence the Israeli elections.
I am always wary of someone who feels the need to prove his Zionist credentials. A true Zionist is one who either fulfills the dream of living in Israel or has faith in the opinion of those who actually live and fight for the country.
Moses and his “followers” feel they have a monopoly on peace, yet all Jews, whatever their political persuasion, yearn for real peace. He ignores the fact that Israel, through the efforts of prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, has attempted to find a solution to the impasse and that despite the withdrawal from Gaza, the release of prisoners and other concessions, the Palestinians still refuse to accept the Jewish state.
Moses is right in stating that it is a time for change – yet I suggest that this statement be directed toward the Palestinians, not toward Israel!
Precision in language
Sir, – I am a strong believer in the importance of using precise language in order to communicate our meanings as accurately as possible. This is because, even under the best of circumstances, it is mighty difficult to achieve that goal. As such I found David E. Y. Sarna’s “Yeshivish (Frimlish) – the Jewish Ebonics” (Comment & Features, January 6) an excellent exposition on understanding a relatively new language phenomenon.
In the course of the article the author refers to, and then defines and explains, the legal concept of shogeg, “an incident caused unintentionally, but as the result of partial negligence.
There are three ways of violating Shabbat b’shogeg: being unaware it’s Shabbat; being unaware of a particular prohibition; being unaware of the consequences of the act.”
To my mind there is a (slight) contradiction between the definition and the explanation. Each of the three ways of violating Shabbat b’shogeg reflects not unintentionality on the “incident,” but on the violation. The incident is intentional, the violation is not.
Because I believe the explanation to be correct, I would suggest a slightly different definition.
Shogeg is an act committed intentionally, the consequence of which is unintended.
As an example, rotze’ah b’shogeg (committing unintended manslaughter): An ax slips and kills someone. It is considered b’shogeg not because the ax is wielded unintentionally, but because the intentional wielding of the ax results in unintended manslaughter.