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The essence of peace

Dear Editor:

In my previous reply to Mr. Jacob Amir, my initial argument was with regard to his claim that Arab citizens of Israel have equal rights with Jewish citizens. Mr. Feldman’s justification of allowing Jews by virtue of their Jewishness to automatically acquire Israeli citizenship by contrast to others merely proves my point that Arab citizens of Israel do not have equal rights with Jews.

I apologize for a typo – I intended to say the Jewish National Fund rather than Jewish Fund. The JNF happens to own a great portion of the land in Israel (at one time it owned 92 percent of the land). Land laws in Israel are severely slanted to the benefit of Jews. I was born and raised in America and recall the days when American Jews were denied the right to live wherever they wished, were subject to a quota system in universities, and, in short, did not have equal rights with white Christian American citizens. Thank goodness those days are past. But as a human being, I do not wish to do unto others what I would not have done unto myself. Hence, I believe that Arab citizens of Israel should have equal rights with Jewish citizens of the country.

As for Gaza, I do not know whether Mr. Feldman has visited Sderot – the city that received most of the missiles. I have been there a number of times, several of them specifically to interview people during the period when missiles were being shot at them. I learned that the great majority of the people whom I interviewed were more understanding of what Gazans are suffering and more knowledgeable about the siege than is Mr. Feldman. They realize that since Israel controls land, sea, and air space, the siege is complete rather than partial as Mr. Feldman claims.

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Many of the Sderotens over 50 recall the days when teachers from Gaza taught them how to drive, when the borders were open and people from Sderot did their shopping in Gaza, and Gazans came to sell their wares in the same market places where I did most of my interviewing. In fact there is a group in Sderot that remains in contact (via e-mail and phone calls) with people in Gaza. This group (“The other voice” http://www.israel21c.org/social-action/finding-the-other-voice-in-gaza-and-sderot) consists of individuals from various political parties from far right to left. They, these Israelis and Arabs, share a belief that they can live together as friends. Missiles are undesirable. But so is the siege.

Mr. Feldman, peace is not merely a “noble and desirable goal.” It is an essential one. There is no place in the world since World War II less safe for Jews than is Israel. Nowhere else in the world have Jews had to deal with 12 wars/military campaigns in less than 61 years, with one of these lasting 18 years, another three years. Nowhere else in the world have so many Jews been killed in violence as in Israel – more than 22,000 security forces since the establishment of the State (many of them young); nowhere else in the world is every 18-year-old Jewish female and male obliged to serve in the military (we have a high incidence of post traumatic stress disorder, and for several years the highest incidence of death in the military was suicide). If Israel is to remain an entity, if it is to provide a future for its young so that they will wish to remain, then its leaders must put life before expansion.

Mr. Feldman, I do want my great-grandchildren and the future generations of all who live here to have a life to look forward to. Enough wars. Small wonder that immigration to Israel is now barely a trickle, and that emigration is growing. Peace, Mr. Feldman, is essential. It is worth giving up a great deal for. So long as Israel’s leaders refuse to look peace in the face, we will continue to have more bereaved families than Jews anywhere else in the world. Hardly a desirable outcome.

Dorothy Naor

Herzliah, Israel


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