Israeli terms are used for

consistency, not politics


Sir - Knut Rognes in Correspondence

(Nature 417, 379; 2002) accused the Israel

Journal of Entomology (IJE) of being

political, not scientific, claiming that the

editor (I. Y.) and a member of the editorial

board (A.F.) refused to accept the

geographical terms he used for Israel and

adjacent areas in a manuscript he intended

to submit (see also Nature 418, 273; 2002).

The policy of the IJE has always been to

promote science, not politics. One aspect

of good science is a precise and consistent

terminology. It is particularly difficult to

maintain consistent geographical

terminology in an area such as that covered

by our journal, because of the prevalent

and concurrent use of several languages

(such as Arabic, Hebrew and English) for

the names of the same localities, and the

existence of many spelling variants. To

overcome this difficulty, the IJE established

a standard specified in the Notes for

Authors (latest version July 2001), as

follows: "Names of localities in Israel will

be given as they are transliterated in the

Israel Touring Map" and "Regions in Israel

and nearby areas should follow the Fauna

Palaestina map". These two maps are given

for convenience of scientific purposes only,

without any political connotation.

Not only has Rognes tried to impose on

us his irrelevant political views, but these

views are literally wrong. At present, there

is no Palestinian state. If and when a

Palestinian state is established, with

defined boundaries and scholarly official

maps, we will use their transliterated

spelling for the appropriate localities.

Until then, we will remain with our

current policy, as would any scientific

journal (including the journal Fauna of

Saudi Arabia, which, as correctly

mentioned by Rognes, ignores the

existence of recognized states).

The IJE has never "banned any mention

of Palestinian national territory", as

Rognes claims; as a scientific journal we

simply do not find it necessary to deal with

political concerns of authors. We hope

that, following this clarification, Rognes

will return to us, and we shall welcome his

paper in the IJE, where it indeed belongs.


Amnon Freidberg*, Ilan Yarom†

*Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University, Tel

Aviv 69978, Israel

†Hazeva R&D Center, Ben-Gurion University of

the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel