November 30: Not so blind

Arab citizens live within Israeli society, speak Hebrew, read and view Hebrew-speaking media outlets and know the culture of their Jewish peers much better than the other way around.

Letters 150 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 150
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Sir, – In “Coexistence of the blind” (Terra Incognita, November 28), Seth J. Frantzman writes against what he calls “the false perception that coexistence is a one-way street.”
He mentions, among other programs, the Abraham Fund’s Language as a Cultural Bridge initiative, in which Jewish elementary school children learn the Arabic language and culture, but complains that “there is rarely an attempt to have them go to an Arab school or have Arabs learn about Jews.”
Unfortunately, Frantzman is wrong. The “Ya Salam” program includes an encounter program in which students from 29 pairs of Jewish and Arab schools meet throughout the year. A supplemental program designed to increase Arab students’ knowledge of contemporary Israeli-Jewish society runs in 70 Arab schools.
Arab citizens live within Israeli society, speak Hebrew, read and view Hebrew-speaking media outlets and know the culture of their Jewish peers much better than the other way around.
AYA BEN AMOS Jerusalem The writer is director of policy advocacy at the Abraham Fund Initiatives
Digging up what?
Sir, – With regard to “Arafat’s exhumation” (Editorial, November 27), I am sure that the Palestinian Authority will be able to have anything it wants to be found on Yasser Arafat’s remains. What the pathologists will not be able to verify is whether the polonium or other radioactive substances, if found, were placed there before his death or inserted later, to be discovered at a politically expedient time.
If the PA seriously wanted the public to be aware of the cause of Arafat’s death, the obvious first step would be to release all his medical records from the French military hospital where he presumably was comprehensively examined and treated.
Sir, – What are the chances of any polonium surviving in Arafat’s body in the eight years after his death? A quick check of polonium’s half-life shows it to be a maximum of 138 days; this means that the amount left after each cycle is one half of the previous remainder. After eight years the initial small amount would have passed through 21 halflives; simple arithmetic reveals the remainder as being one half of a millionth of the original quantity.
Are we supposed to believe that any detectable amount could be found after this amount of time?
M. VEEDER Netanya
Check your atlas
Sir, – With regard to “It’s about Tehran, not Gaza” (Comment & Features, November 22) by Mike Evans, I wish to provide some information.
It is mentioned that the vessel Cargo Star (ex-Valie Asr), alleged to be carrying missiles and owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), is flagged under the state of Tuvalu. On September 21, the Tuvalu Ship Registry issued a press release to formally declare that the deregistration process of tankers and any possible Iranian-linked vessels had been completed and there would not be a single Iranian-linked vessel registered under the Tuvalu flag as of that date.
This was done in the spirit of international cooperation, as requested by the government of the United States and the United against Nuclear Iran (UANI) movement.
The Tuvalu Ship Registry hereby declares that the vessel named above was never registered under the Tuvalu flag and, as such, the article was inaccurate.
We have informed port and coastal authorities to exercise vigilance and caution, and to reject any Tuvalu registry certificates that may be presented for the above-named vessel or any Iranian-linked vessel.
The writer is registrar of ships for the Tuvalu Ship Registry