Letters to the Editor: Dodgy terminology

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Dodgy terminology
I would like to nitpick about the wording of Jeremy Sharon’s “Haredi IDF deserters feted as heroes by radical group” (April13), including the headline.
While I do not condone the actions taken by extremist haredim who purportedly follow Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach (in fact, most haredi rabbis have actually condemned such behavior), I must point out that the individuals mentioned should not be called “deserters,” but, perhaps more appropriately, “draft-dodgers.”
I think everyone would agree that desertion is a much more serious offense than draft-dodging because a deserter is somebody who already serves in the army yet deserts his post. Such behavior is far worse and dangerous than that of a mere draft-dodger because it can destabilize and demoralize the existing military structure.
While the government might grant the legal status of “deserter” to people who fail to register for the draft, that is simply their legal status. In reality, they remain simply “draft-dodgers.”
Beitar Illit
Kind of a drag
I am sorry to have to inform Mark Feldman, who wrote of the unfortunate dragging off a flight of a bona fide paying customer (“The not-so-friendly skies,” Analysis, April 13) that the flight in question was not overbooked, and that every seat holder on the plane was there by right and not by happenstance.
The actual facts of the matter to which he refers obliquely but without giving reasons is that the airline decided at the last minute to convey four of its own flight staff on the plane even though none had previously obtained tickets, and it aimed to achieve this end by attempting to coerce passengers who were already in seats for which they had both booked and paid to relinquish them.
No attempt was said to have been made by the airline to acquire seats on other airlines for the four members of staff – something for which it would have had to pay. These were the circumstances in which an elderly doctor was physically dragged from his seat and along the floor, and thence off the plane.
What possible agenda Mr. Feldman has for diminishing or otherwise minimizing this event is beyond me.
Mark Feldman responds: I’m not attempting to defend United Airlines. I pointed out that while UA “claims” it asked for volunteers, first offering $400 then doubling it to $800, none of the actual passengers heard such a request. If such a request had been communicated, I am quite certain that there would have been volunteers willing to accept $800 to fly later.
Hands off that sea
Billed worldwide as the lowest place on earth and hailed as one of the world’s great natural wonders, the Dead Sea is one of Israel’s best-known features and one of its greatest tourist attractions. So what are we doing to preserve this unique asset? We all know that the sea itself is in danger of shrinking due to the excessive industrial exploitation of its minerals. Now, 13 kilometers of Dead Sea beaches are about to be “developed” in a multi-million-dollar project designed by the renowned architect Moshe Safdie, creating 30 hotels, new restaurants and commercial sites (“The Dead Sea gets new life,” April 4). The project was launched recently by Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who announced that the government had already invested NIS 200 million in advance planning.
Now I ask you: Have they gone mad? Would the US install a commercial development in the heart of the Grand Canyon, or the Japanese on top of Mt.
Fuji? Will tourists continue to flock to see the turquoise gem of a sea when it is blemished by yet another commercial development? In Israel, where unspoiled nature is a rarity, we can’t afford to succumb once again to the greed of real estate moguls and the desire of unenlightened ministers to “leave their mark” on our rapidly diminishing natural landscape.
In “Brexit? Jexit was the first lesson in national self-determination” (As I See It, March 31), Melanie Phillips misdirects herself and her readers if she believes that “the Jews marched out of Egypt.” They didn’t. The Children of Israel marched out of Egypt. And by all accounts, they took a mixed multitude of others with them.
The Book of Judges (3:5-6) and the Book of Ezra (9:1-2) suggest that they spent the next 800 years consorting with the mixed multitude as well as all the other peoples of Canaan.
Who was Israelite and who was Canaanite would be difficult to tell. It is surely right, therefore, to speak of Canaanite-Israelites or, as I prefer, Isra-Canaanites.
Some Isra-Canaanites were taken off to Babylon in 586 BCE. Other Isra-Canaanites remained on the land; they are, with a few name and identity changes, today’s “West Bank Palestinian Arabs.”
The Babylonians called their conquered province of Judea “Yehud Medinata.” They called the exiled Isra-Canaanites “Jews.” The name has stuck ever since. So there were no “Jews” until the Babylonian exile! Ezra, in 458 BCE, brought Judaism to the Land of Israel.
Most unfortunately, he was not able to reach those Isra-Canaanites who never went to Babylon.
They were left to go their own way. Today’s conflict is the result.
But let there be no mistake: Until 586 BCE, today’s protagonists, Jew and Arab, were one and the same. They are (still) two strands of the same people.
Geils and the tribe
As The Jerusalem Post likes to cite artists who are Jewish, “J. Geils, founder of the J. Geils Band, dies at 71” (Arts & Entertainment, April 13) omits the fact that four of the six band members were Jewish.