June 1: English languid

Fifty-three years ago I tried to get a job teaching English in a secondary school in Israel.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
English languid Sir, - I read Solomon Israel's "Close the language gap" (May 29) with a great deal of empathy. Fifty-three years ago I tried to get a job teaching English in a secondary school in Israel. I had a B.A. from Brooklyn College, with a minor in secondary education, and was a native speaker. I was told that I needed a teudat hora'am (teaching certificate) and could get one only by acquiring an M.A. in English, with a second major in secondary education. I went through the mill like a good girl and did what was required, but still could not get a job. At that time, anyone who could stumble through an English sentence was teaching English. But instead of simply applying to various schools, I had gone to the Board of Education and the School of Education at Hebrew University. I finally did get a job - as assistant editor of an English-language publication. I never taught English in Israel. There was then, and probably still is, a negative attitude here toward native speakers of English. How else to explain the ridiculous translations one sees on signs, menus and movie subtitles? IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ Ganei Omer 'Pure Jewish paranoia'? Sir, - Larry Derfner's rude attack on Richard Landes and Philippe Karsenty cannot go unchallenged ("Al-Dura & the conspiracy freaks," May 29). Karsenty is the founder and president of Media-Ratings, a group of intellectuals, teachers and journalists that created a strict method of analysis: the PHILTRE, which stands for Precision, Homogeneity, Independence, Liberty, Transparency, Responsibility and Exhaustivity. They deal with subjects ranging from French to international politics, as well as economics. Prof. Landes teaches history at Boston University and is director and co-founder of the Center for Millennial Studies. He spent several years researching in Paris, where he is engaged in a collaborative effort to edit the collected works of 11th-century historian Ademar of Chabannes. He uses the term "Pallywood" to describe staged material disguised as news. Visit his Web sites: The Second Draft (www.seconddraft.org/home.php) and Augean Stables (www.theaugeanstables.com/). Post readers deserve better than emotive accusations of "pure Jewish paranoia" and conspiracy theorists without any attempt at substantiation. Derfner's crudeness in calling the dedicated work of these highly professional researchers "a bunch of crap" is a poor substitute for informed opinion. MAURICE OSTROFF Herzliya Sir, - In addition to the findings of the French court there is a huge mass of incontrovertible evidence to prove that the Palestinians have repeatedly released staged films and fake pictures, purporting to be fact, of victims of so-called Israeli atrocities. Common sense and legal doctrine lead one to doubt evidence presented by serial liars. Derfner admits that there has been ample evidence proving beyond doubt that the IDF did not kill al-Dura, yet he continues to ridicule those who believe that reporter Charles Enderlin, and, by extension, France 2 TV were aware that the film was a hoax. There are only two possible explanations of France 2's behavior: Either it was guilty of lying, or it was unbelievably incompetent. I lean to the former viewpoint. Derfner suggests that Jews counter Palestinian fanaticism with Jewish sanity. That seems to be a good idea. Exposing lies, especially those that lead to many deaths, is a very sane thing to do. STEPHEN S. COHEN Ma'aleh Adumim Sir, - The damage done to Israel and the IDF because of a reporter's irresponsibility should be examined to determine if it was simply a case of bad judgment or a deliberate attempt to bring dishonor on Israel. The Al-Dura incident helps explain why the phrase "Don't believe anything you read and only half of what you see" came into being. P. YONAH Shoham Jerusalem solutions Sir, - Colette Avital offers three statist solutions for Jerusalem's demographic and economic plight: shoehorning thousands of additional housing units into the city's built-up areas; vocational training/retraining programs (does anyone know of any state-sponsored employment scheme that ever turned around the economy of a city the size of Jerusalem?); and massive transportation infrastructure projects that will take years, and miles of red tape, to progress from the drawing board to completion. What is telling are the more effective potential solutions she does not mention: unfreezing and encouraging construction in the northern, eastern and southern areas of the city liberated in the 1967 war; implementing the long-planned construction project in the E-1 territory between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim; and consolidating and expanding Jewish settlement of the adjacent Gush Etzion region. This would secure and grow Jerusalem, in turn restoring its economic viability. Ms. Avital would be unlikely, however, to go for these solutions since they would prevent the ideological heart's desire of the leftist elite she represents in the Knesset: a Palestinian state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mandlebaum Gate in the heart of Jerusalem. If this comes to pass, the outflow of Jews from Jerusalem will accelerate, and whatever of her suggestions are implemented will benefit mainly the Palestinian population that will fill the once-Jewish neighborhoods ("Make Jerusalem a livable city," UpFront, May 23). ZEEV GOLIN Rehovot Wonderful read on a special day Sir, - After lunch on Yom Ha'atzma'ut, I settled down, as usual, in my easy chair to read The Jerusalem Post, and then realized there wasn't a paper printed that day. So I picked up your Fancy Flight Independence Day 2008 magazine, delivered the day before, had a look - and found it to be the most interesting of any I can remember reading. I was unable to put it down for over an hour - still only half-read - to be continued later. Congratulations to all concerned! IAN (PETER) GODLOVE Nahariya