October 7: Apologies and insults

The rabbis’ humble attitude to our enemies was received with what I would call a gross insult by accepting the gift in the name of terrorists who have murdered Israelis.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Apologies and insults
Sir, – “Six of Gush Etzion’s most prominent rabbis visited the torched mosque in Beit Fajar on Tuesday to apologize for the destruction allegedly caused by Jewish vandals and to deliver new Korans to the local Imam in place of those burned” (“Rabbis deliver apologies, new Korans to vandalized Beit Fajar mosque,” October 6).
“Taking the books, a local religious leader said he was accepting them in the name of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”
So there you have it, the rabbis’ humble attitude to our enemies was received with what I would call a gross insult by accepting the gift in the name of terrorists who have murdered Israelis.
Evolution of a firing
Sir, – It is heartening to read that “the termination of the Education Ministry’s chief scientist [Dr. Gaby Avital] was not related to his personal beliefs and recent statements doubting evolution and global warming” (“Education Ministry denies Avital let go due to Darwinism remarks,” October 6).
Unfortunately, anyone doubting Darwin’s theory of evolution tends to be labeled as a bigoted fundamentalist and blackballed in academic circles.
Yet there are some serious scientific problems with this theory, and such action smacks more of medieval dogmatism than of open-minded research.
Salford, England
Sir, – Does academic freedom exist only when a professor calls for a boycott of Israel? If scientists question global warming and evolution, then they are automatically fired? (“Education Ministry’s controversial chief scientist dismissed,” October 5). Is this the proper approach to use with the chief scientist of Israel? Instead of firing Dr. Gaby Avital, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar should have upheld the principle of academic freedom and invited both Dr. Avital and Hebrew University President Prof. Ben-Sasson to a meeting, so that each could clarify and justify their position.
And instead of calling for a five-minute break in teaching – which certainly does not advance learning – Prof. Ben- Sasson could have called for a debate on both issues by his students. He might be surprised to find that there are many strong reasons to doubt both global warming and evolution of species.
It seems to me that contempt for the methodology of science is demonstrated when the attempt is made to stifle a dissenting position, especially when there are so many books written by professional scientists seriously questioning scientific orthodoxy in these areas.
Sir, – Dr. Avital is lucky. Had he lived in Galileo’s time, he would have been burnt at the stake for daring to have ideas in contravention to the accepted wisdom.
It is acceptable for academics to call on foreign universities to boycott their academies.
After all, this is academic freedom.
But students must be warned that questioning the accepted wisdom of their betters will not be tolerated. After all, academic freedom has its limits.
Petah Tikva

Healing knowledge
Sir, – I am gratified and amazed that Ms. Montagu (“In my own write,” October 6) wrote about her friend with a little-understood chronic disorder such as fibromyalgia. I had suffered from it for years and was told it was all in my head! Fortunately, I found two doctors who diagnosed me correctly, but it’s only in the last year that medication was formulated to alleviate most if not all of the symptoms. It’s relatively new here but well known in America; it is called “Lyrica.”
I found physical therapy and sometimes a course of hydrotherapy extremely helpful.
And yes, stress reduction is very helpful as well.
Thank you, July Montagu, for making public a problem seldom discussed or understood.
Laughter pains
Sir, – Your half-page tribute to the great Norman Wisdom (“Comic legend Sir Norman Wisdom dies aged 95,” October 6) tells its own story.
This comic genius had my entire family in pain from excessive laughter on numerous occasions. (There is no better medicine). There is only one other to match him – Jerry Lewis.
He rose from poverty to reach the heights with good old-fashioned, clean fun.
God bless you, Mr. Wisdom.
Hod Hasharon
Driving in cloud cuckoo-land
Sir, – Why cannot the powers that be come down from their ivory towers and save lives? Ron Friedman reports that “researchers at the Israel Police Traffic Division together with a group of psychology students from Rupin College are conducting a study on the psychology of drivers in an effort to create a tool that will help traffic officers identify dangerous motorists” (“Artificial intelligence could be new weapon to counter road deaths,” January 22).
I must be living in cloud cuckoo-land.
Let the movers and shakers of the traffic division travel from Netanya to Caesarea at 8 a.m. and return at 1 p.m.
and see the thousands of buses, tankers, trucks and cars traveling this route and on to Haifa, all adept at dangerous driving! Why is there never, ever a vehicle pulled up for speeding? It is a disgrace to say that if you do find one vehicle keeping to the speed limit, that driver feels like a freak. Road signs instructing “Slow down to 70” are ignored.
A fortune in money would be raised if only the speedsters were punished! How about impounding the vehicles for a week? Solve the problem with a simple solution before going all scientific and sophisticated. It is not rocket-science, after all, to stop speeding and keep death off the roads.
Not prepared for peace
Sir, – Khaled Abu Toameh reports that “Abbas seeks Arab support to stop talks unless Israel renews moratorium” (October 5).
However, the most important item of concern in his article – hidden toward the end – is that a recent poll shows that more than half of the Arabs both in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria said that they supported Hamas’s recent terror attack near Hebron which resulted in the murder of four Israelis.
The fact that more than 50 percent of the general population of our so-called “peace partners” condone terrorism proves that it is irrelevant whether talks continue or not.
In reality, the majority of Arabs are not prepared for peace, but still prefer a Middle East free of Jews.