August 26: Why the amazement?

"I wish Abu Sarah luck in trying to change the attitude of his fellow Arabs toward us."

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Why the amazement?
Sir, – Rejoicing in his successful surgery and amazed by the degree of cooperation between Arab and Jewish doctors (“A glimpse of hope for the Israeli- Palestinian conflict,” August 24), Aziz Abu Sarah amazes me.
As a journalist living in Jerusalem, was he not aware of all the Arab patients in our hospitals, students in our universities, professionals working with Jews in our courts, and even Arab judges? He is no doubt also aware of the emergency aid we send to countries in distress, including Islamic nations.
Has this changed the attitude of hatred toward us by our neighbors, or their vicious and malicious indoctrination of their children against us? I see no “glimpse of hope” for peace there.
In 1959, as a student at Edinburgh Dental Hospital, I was given the task of relieving an Egyptian doctor of severe pain by replacing all his faulty fillings. He complained to me of the pain he had suffered in having his teeth cleaned and asked if the student who treated him was Jewish. He explained that before he left Egypt, he had been warned not to fall into the hands of a Jew in any field, for the Jew would take out his hatred for Arabs on him. When I told him the student was not Jewish, but that I was, he literally would not believe me.
Fifty years have passed, and the hatred and distrust persists. I wish Abu Sarah luck in trying to change the attitude of his fellow Arabs toward us.
Sir, – Aziz Abu Sarah’s essay was troubling. He writes about the mixing of Arab and Jewish patients and doctors as if it had been a great surprise. He would have us believe that he had made some new discovery, or that both sides had suddenly come to their senses in this one small exception to otherwise insurmountable societal divisions.
But this is old news. Jews and Arabs interacting freely when being treated (or when shopping, using public transportation or studying at universities) is commonplace – as well it should be.
There is much more to be done to make Israeli society truly equal – especially in the areas of housing, public services, primary education and national service. Still, only those who subscribe to the inaccurate characterization of Israel as an “apartheid” country would see anything new in this piece.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’akov
Beware of Blair
Sir, – As head of the Quartet, who will be present behind the scenes during direct Israeli- Palestinian negotiations, Tony Blair cannot be considered a neutral interlocutor. Nor can his statement at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, that “those in the world who want to delegitimize Israel are also delegitimizing those around the world who share Israel’s values and admire its free spirit,” be considered that of a true friend (“Blair: Delegitimization of Israel is affront to all humanity,” August 25).
He never made similar remarks when he was UK prime minister and had far more influence with international leaders.
Tony Blair Associates works in an advisory capacity to the Kuwaiti government, to Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi sovereign fund, and to the South Korean oil multinational UI Energy Corporation.
Working for these organizations means such interests rule out his neutrality, despite his attempt to bend over backward to show us his friendship. (He does the same for the PA!) Blair should not be allowed to determine our future. The British public is now only too aware of the spin he used, to their detriment, when he was prime minister.
It is time our politicians wake up to this fact before it is too late!
Catch 23
Sir, – Holon’s chief rabbi stated that “people... who hold senior positions in the authorities...
must be ignored and treated as air” (“Holon chief rabbi: Judges, senior officials can’t join minyan,” August 25).
Since the chief rabbi is a senior employee of the secular authorities, anyone who unwaveringly adheres to his rulings is obliged to ignore them.
Seniors still there
Sir, – In response to Ellie Morris’s letter regarding Jewish Venice (“New ghetto tenant,” August 25), I need to point out that the old age home is actually still there, on the second floor of the Giardino del Ghetto hotel (the rooms of the hotel are on the upper floors).
The Jewish community of Venice sees it as its obligation to take care of these seniors (all of them women now). I had the pleasure of meeting their caregivers and seeing them on their daily outings into the ghetto courtyard.
By the way, the hotel is a wonderful place to stay, with excellent kosher food.
Glick disregards facts
Sir, – Caroline Glick’s column “Israel fights the demagogues,” Our world, August 24) is a sickening, demagogic example of disregard for the facts.
She fantasizes a “domination” by the Left that does not exist. It is simply not true that “after a generation of meekly accepting the Left’s domination of the public discourse – in the media, in academia, in the legal system and in popular culture – the public has finally had enough.”
It is simply not true to say “For the first time in a generation, the Left is on the defensive. Rather than dominating the air waves with its allegations of Israeli and Zionist racism and criminality, it is forced to defend its right to block out all dissenting voices from the national debate.”
I am proud of the Left’s uphill fight against injustice in Israel, and it is deplorable that Caroline Glick shoots the messenger because she does not want the message to be heard.
RUTH RIGBI Jerusalem
Sir, I usually read Caroline Glick’s columns. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree.
On August 24 she wrote “Led by Gordon, six of the 11 signed a letter supporting soldiers who refuse to serve in the IDF.” This is very misleading, as she left out “in the territories.”
This omission raises serious concerns as to her credibility and makes one wonder what other “facts” she has twisted to support her agenda.
I. ZUNDER Ramat Hasharon
It looks it
Sir, – Regarding “Police recommend indicting Olmert in Holyland scandal” (August 24), it is now clear that it was bribery and corruption that conceived one of Israel’s ugliest building complexes.
Rabbi and Rickie
Sir, – Singers and scholarship don’t usually go together.
Example: Rickie Lee Jones speaking of “rabbi Jesus” in your August 24 issue (“Rip-offs, royalties & rabbi Jesus”).
Though the Book of Matthew uses the term “rabbi” several times, it was not yet in general use at the time, and the likelihood is that it was interpolated by a later editor.
Even if there were people addressed as “rabbi,” it was probably no more than a polite greeting, like “sir.”
Haven for tautology?
Sir, – I know that in this country “American English” is used, but there are still rules that prevail.
In your analysis piece “Would an IDF withdrawal from the West Bank mean a safe haven for extremists?” (August 24), “safe haven” is tautology. A haven is always safe. Other examples of tautology are “future prospects,” “past history” and “live survivors.”
The latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary has many new words, some of which are horrible modern variations, but correct grammar should always be used.