Your Letters and Our Responses!

We love receiving e-mail from our visitors! Below are some of your letters, along with our responses. (Unless the writer of the letter indicates otherwise, we do not include any personal information about the person who wrote each letter.) If there's anything you'd like more information on, or you just want to schmooze with the staff of, you can e-mail us at If you would like to view our full archive of your letters and our responses, please click here.


Hi, I just want to send well wishes and let the great State of Israel and it's citizens know they are in my thoughts during these troubling times. The best to you all and I support all that you do. Thank you, Ray Rossman


Prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, how well known was the song "Hatikvah"? Who was singing it? Was it well-known among the Jews? Which Jews? How was it chosen to be the national anthem?

There is a fascinating discussion of our National Anthem on the website of Hillel's Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning.


Shalom! I am new on your site and I just want you to know that I pray for the peace of Jerusalem daily. I do not believe that Israel should give up any land that they have acquired. The Lord gave Israel that land and cannot be taken away from them. I admire your courage in defending yourselves and pray that You Israel will be able to extract all terrorists from your country so that you may live in peace. I also do not believe you should divide Jerusalem - ever! My prayers are always with you. God Bless You, Israel!


My best wishes for peace in Israel and the health of Mr. Sharon. Your nation is in my prayers.

-Art Cavazos
San Antonio, Texas, USA


I send my prayers and my thoughts to the Lion of Judea. I hope that the days ahead will treat you kindly. I didn''t always agree with your public stances, but I've always admired your guts. God bless you, Child of God.

Thank you very much for your kind e-mail and for keeping the Prime Minister in your thoughts and prayers.


My name is Josef Derzavich. I'm a Jew living in Mexico City. Last year, my 17-year-old child developed a brain hemorrage in the venous side, thank Gd not an artery, due to a cavernous meningioma. The place of the location of this meningioma was in the middle of her head. We consulted a large number of doctors, because her situation was not life-threatening, and we wanted to have the best options available. Among those options the number one was Dr. Robert Spetzler, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, working for the Barrow Neurological Institute, in the Saint Joseph Hospital.

He operated on my daughter's brain, and she had a 100% recovery, This type of recovery was not forecasted by many of the people we consulted, but Dr. Spetzler and his team were able to get the perfect result. I don't doubt the Israeli doctors and the capacities and abilities of the teams they direct, but none of the names that I heard attending Mr. Sharon was among the names I consulted as the best neurosurgeons in the world, so perhaps a call and a medical conference consultation among the Israeli team and Dr. Spetzler could help bring back Mr. Sharon's health, who is, by the way, one of the men I most admire.

Hope to his refuah shlemah, and that this piece of advice can be helpful to him and his family, and to Kol Israel.

With respect
Josef Derzavich

Thank you so much for your kind e-mail and well wishes for Prime Minister Sharon. We recommend that you directly e-mail the Prime Minister's Office with your idea.

All the best,


Please help me with more information on the word sheini. What does it mean and where did it come from? Will be much appreciated.

Thank you
From Pastor Sheny Judah

The word "sheini" is the Hebrew word for "second." The number "two" in Hebrew is "sh'taim" in the feminine and "sh'naim" in the masculine. The word "second" is "sheini" in the masculine and "sh'niah" in the feminine. (A more archaic way to say "second" in the feminine is "sheinit.") It is interesting to note that the number two, unlike other numbers in Hebrew, actually changes form when combined with a noun. For example, when modifying a masculine noun such as "tapuchim" ("apples") the word "sh'naim" becomes "sh'nei." Thus, "two apples" is "sh'nei tapuchim." Simliarly, when modifying a feminine noun, the word "sh'taim" becomes "sh'tei." Thus, "two cars" in Hebrew is "sh'tei m'chonyot." ("M'chonyot" is the Hebrew word for "cars.")


Greetings from Northern Ireland.

I work for a Political Party, namely the Ulster Unionist Party, and I am currently researching national flags. I have been attracted to your State because (like the United Kingdom) you do not have a written Constitution. I have found your State legislation covering your flag but cannot find if the legislation stipulates which days of the year the national flag is flown on; have these days been listed? Also, am I right in saying that Regional and Local Councils in Israel fly a different flag?

The Israeli national flag is flown all the time, not just on specific holidays. It is flown throughout the country, not just in the national capital. As for local government, Israel is divided into six districts, for administrative purposes only. These districts do not have any government of their own.

The districts are, in turn, divided into municipalities (i.e., cities and towns); there are approximately 250 municipalities in Israel.

Legally, each municipality has its own coat of arms. However, there is no law regarding a municipality's flag. As a result, the head of the municipality, the mayor - or other members of the city (or other local) council - is free to do pretty much anything he wishes with regards to the (unofficial) municipality flag. Consequently, the municipality flags throughout Israel have several different colors and designs.

The most popular type of municipality flag consists of the municipality coat of arms against a particular background, often utilizing a blue and white color scheme (inasmuch as the national colors are blue and white). The following are examples of flags flown in some Israeli municipalities:



 Flag of Ariel

 Flag of Eilat

 Flag of Haifa

 Flag of Herzlia

 Flag of Jerusalem



I am looking for information about how the name Israel was chosen for the new Jewish state, and not the name "Yehudah" for example (after the stronger Jewish kingdom that lasted). I would appreciate if you could help me found the answer to that. Thanks a lot.

You ask a good question. First, a little background. It is true that, in about 926 BCE (after the reign of the great King Solomon), the Kingdom of Israel broke up into two separate kingdoms: Israel in the north and Yehudah (Judah) in the south. Judah kept Jerusalem as its capital, while Israel chose Schechem (which is today sometimes referred to as Nablus) and later Samaria as its capital. Eventually, Assyria conquered Israel, and with that the Israelites ceased to exist.

Thus, the people of Judah, the "Yehudim" or "Jews" remained. In 70 CE, the Romans conquered Jerusalem. Only a few free Jews remained, encamped on a mountain in the Negev Desert called Masada. Just a few years later, the Romans conquered Masada, as well, but the Jews on the top of the mountain had comitted suicide (which, in this case, was called "Kiddush HaShem" or "Sanctification of the Holy Name") as a statement that it was better to die free than live as slaves under the Romans. With that, the Jewish Exile began, which was to last for almost two thousand years.

When the Zionist (in particular, the political Zionist) movement succeeded in obtaining a country in 1948, the country was supposed to be more than just a return of the Jews to Judah: it was to be a return to the land as it had existed before the initial breakup of Judah and Israel. Consequently, the country was named Israel.


The road to what, more killing? Exterminate the Palestinian bastard drek! NO PEACE will ever come to the region if Israel doesn't dump this bullsh-t peace plan and get rid of every single Arab from Israel and send them into the sea. That's peace. Get rid of them and now. What I see on TV here in the States makes me want to come to Israel and hunt down every one of them like rabid dogs. That's what they are. Peace? My tuchas! They want nothing more than to destroy Israel. You know it they know it and the world knows it, now go get them. We have the scum here owning convenience stores so they can send money back there for arms and bombs! When I find one that is owned by a Palestinian and of course they have Al Jazeera on the TV, I lose my balance and knock over shelves and show them my Mogen Dovid and tell them kish mere en tuchas! Where is the JDL when they are needed? Now I can understand my dead relatives from 40 years ago hating the Arabs. How can you like them? I wish I could go back in time and cut off Abe's schmeckel before he had sex with Hagar. That would have stopped this whole thing! Shalom! Moshe Mordechai Ben Hillel!

Thank you for your e-mail letter. By the way, for the sake of Biblical accuracy, if you were to "cut off Abe's schmeckel before he had sex with Hagar," there would be no Jews, since the ancestor of the Jews, Isaac, was conceived a long time after Abraham and Hagar slept together!

My humble apologies and also for some of the language but I have had it with the garbage in Israel and here. So instead I would get him a condom for Hagar and then let him do the rest! Sound kosher to you my friend, Shalom Aleichem!


I would like to thank you for all you do because you do a fantastic job. I would first of all like to state my disgust at the tone and content of one of the first letters written by the Afghanistani because it is really quite awful. In these hard times where people in the world (or maybe it's just Britain, I'm not sure) have no idea about Israel and are very ignorant as to what it stands for and means.

Secondly it is important that this is is explained to everyone - Jewish and Gentile: GO TO ISRAEL. It couldn't be more simple. The economy is crumbling and the people are isolated. Because of no tourism, 1 of 3 Israelis is unemployed, SO GO!!

Todah Raba

Thank you for your letter. The people of Israel are always extremely grateful for everyone who comes to visit the country and experience first-hand the Land of the Bible.


I am an American, a Christian who loves the Jewish People very much. The Jews are God's Chosen and He will always be there. I am glad that Prime Minister Sharon has not just sat back and let Arafat get his way.

But I also believe that Bibi is who Israel needs now. Arafat needs to be "put out to sea." The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People and no one else, and God said "Forever" when He gave you that land. Jerusalem should never be divided and if the Palestinians want their own country they need to go to one of the Arab countries for themselves.

God will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. I pray everyday for the Peace of Jerusalem and will continue to do so.

What we went through here on 9/11 is something you experience almost every day in your country.

Shalom Aleichem,
Paula Tilley
Scottsville, KY 42164


The Holocaust was a tremendous tragedy and should never have happened and should never happen again. I feel sorrow and grief for all those innocent lives that were lost. However, I do feel comfort that my hands as a Muslim are cleaner. I have not contributed to any holocaust.

And I am surprised when you consistently refer to the Holocaust when you discuss your issue with the Palestinians. First of all, please don't use a tragedy like the Holocaust for political purposes. The Jewish People refer to this tragedy simply to silence those who would criticize your government's policies of uprooting an entire population of Palestinians who have lived there, like you, for thousands of years. And, are only distinguishable from you by the religion they follow. Otherwise they are your cousins and would have been thrown in the same Auschwitz camp with you by the Evil Hitler, if he could.

Forget about a greater Israel and let the Palestinians live in peace. Remove your settlements on their land and let them enjoy the God-given land to the people of Israel to be enjoyed by people who don't share your religious convictions.

How could God be so cruel and insensitive to continue to love you after the land that he has given to you is the cause for so much misery inflicted by you people on a few million homeless, gunless, stateless people?

The time of revelation has expired; otherwise God may have taken that land back from you. Or, He may have already taken it from you without you knowing.

The same people who nearly exterminated you are now pushing and encouraging you to kill stone-throwing children and imprison hundred of thousands of people whose only crime was to be born in God-Given Land. Remember, the Palestinians have not come from China. They were born there and the only one you could blame is the same God who has given you the land, for having them born there.

When a Palestinian kill himself and a few others, it is because he has nowhere else to go. Leave them alone and you want have anyone killed in cafeterias. Any innocent Israeli dead is your fault and your fault only.

You have to bear the consequences if you try to be dominant and control, humiliate and colonize people in their own homeland.

I won't change your mind, since people who like whichever religion they belong to are what we call "bigots." I can ask you not to use a tragedy like the Holocaust to gain sympathy for your dirty political gains. Don't ruin the martyrdom of the Holocaust victims. They died through no fault of their own at the hand of someone who wanted to conquer. And if you die in a cafeteria, it is a different story because you are a conqueror. Ironically you have something in common with the perpetrators of the Holocaust.

Karim Quraishi from Afghanistan



Would you know where I could find a copy of the 1917 Balfour Declaration as well as the re-affirmation by mandate of the League of Nations and the 1947 UN resolution for the establishment of the independent Jewish state in Palestine? I was able to obtain a copy of the Declaration of Independence from your web site but would like copies of the other official documents that led up to the Declaration.

Your letter has inspired us to add to our website the documents of which you spoke. In addition to the Declaration of Independence, you can now find the following documents on :

Balfour Declaration

Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations (which, along with
the Balfour Declaration, led to the establishment of the British Mandate
in Palestine)

Palestine Mandate of the League of Nations (i.e., the establishment of
the British Mandate over Palestine)

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (which terminated the
British Mandate in Palestine and established the independent State of
Israel one year later)


I am a seventh grade social studies teacher in North Carolina. Part of my curriculum is to teach the Arab-Israeli Conflict. I have been teaching this for a few years so I have a grasp on the situation. I came across this site trying to find web sites for my students to use for a project. Your breakdown of the conflict is the simplest, down- to-the-basics translation I have read thus far, and believe me when I say I have read a lot. Thank you for putting something out there for everyone to be able to read and understand.

We are glad you find our site both informative and user-friendly; that was precisely our goal when we set up the site!


What is the capital of the State of Israel? I have read that it is Jerusalem, and that the State declared it to be so in December of 1950. I am also aware that most countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv, and most of the people I've spoken with about this question believe the capital city is Tel Aviv. Would you please clarify this question for me?

As you correctly point out, Israel long ago declared West Jerusalem to be its capital. At the time, East Jerusalem was part of Jordan. However, in 1967, Israel was drawn into the Six-Day War against Jordan, among other countries. Israel emerged the victor and gained East Jerusalem from Jordan. Israel then made East Jerusalem part of one united city of Jerusalem. (This is somewhat similar to how East Berlin and West Berlin became one united city of Berlin after the collapse of East Germany caused to two cities to become one.)

Hence, while the capital of Israel used to be West Jerusalem, since 1967, the capital has simply been Jerusalem. Some wish to have the eastern part of Jerusalem, if not the entire city, as the capital of a Palestinian state. This, of course, is not very likely to happen if Jerusalem is already the capital of another country (namely, Israel).

Thus, after Israel passed a law in 1980 officially declaring Jerusalem to be its capital, many nations, concerned about their present relations with Arab countries - as well as their future relations with an eventual Palestinian state - moved their embassies to Israel's largest city, Tel Aviv (and to surrounding cities). In so doing, these countries were not declaring Tel Aviv to be Israel's capital. What they were doing, however, was refraining from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Even so, many of these countries maintain consulates in Jerusalem. Some countries, such as the United States, maintain one consultate in the western part of Jerusalem and another consulate in East Jerusalem. (The consulates do not, however, serve the same functions: the U.S. Consulate in the eastern part of Jerusalem is the one where visas, passports for U.S. citizens, and other consular matters are handled; the U.S. Consulate in the western part of the city deals with commercial matters.)

It should be noted that El Salvador and Costa Rica are currently the only countries that recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and maintain EMBASSIES, rather than consulates, there.

The United States Congress overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, requiring the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem, but then-President Clinton - as well as current President Bush - invoked security waivers, for six months at a time, to extend the time period to implement the 1995 Act. To date, the United States
Embassy remains in Tel Aviv.


Dear Israeli people,

I am from Germany and since I was 11 years old I have been very touched about what happened during WW II. At the age of 14 I visited the concentration camp Auschwitz. I was able to build up a friendship with a Jewish lady who lived in Berlin and who survived this horrible place. I also had the opportunity to be in Israel twice. Now I am 20 years old and my love for the Jewish people and the land of Israel keeps growing and I see it as one of the highest tasks of a Christian, a follower of the Jew Jesus, to love, to support and to serve the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

What is happening in Israel these days hurts me deeply and with this email I want to express my deep Sympathy to you. There seems to be no 'human' solution, and I can only imagine what an unbelievable tension and pressure it must be to live in Israel in this time.

And even though the world is against you, I want to assure you that there are Christians all over the world who stand by your side, Israel. Who pray for you and who cry with you...

"L'maan Zion lo echeshe. [Lo, lo echeshe.] L'maan Yerushalayim lo eshkot. [Lo, lo echeshe.]
Ad yetse kanoga tsiidka. [Lo, lo echeshe.] Viyeshuata kelapid yivarr. [Lo, lo echeshe.]" (Based on Isaiah 62:1.)

["For Zion's sake, I will not withhold my peace. (I will not, will not, withhold my peace.) For Jerusalem's sake, I will not rest. (I will not, will not, withhold my peace.) Until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness. (I will not, will not, withhold my peace.) And the salvation thereof as a lamp that burns. (I will not, will not, withhold my peace.)"]

Yours sincerely,
Inka Lang

P.S. My mom is going to visit Israel this November - I wish I could come along...


The people of Israel need to rise up and defend themselves. Forget about being civilized. This does not apply when dealing with those who have no respect for civilian human life or negotiations for peace. Are there men out there who can respond in the same way as those fanatics are doing?
I am a non-Jew, but I believe in peace for ALL!!!!!!!!




Since you seem to be a website promoting the State of Israel, I find it difficult to understand your prominent inclusion of the two Palestinian websites.

Have you read them at all?

Whatever you state in the rest of your website is totally negated and distorted. The very State of Israel is charged with being unlawful and criminal.

I am a strong believer in democracy and the rights for anyone to air his opinions and feelings, however I am not required to voluntarily provide a soapbox to a clearly acting organizational enemy.


Thank you for your letter.

Our website exists for one purpose alone: to provide the TRUTH about Israel.

The best way for people to understand the "truth" is for them to see what people on all sides of the issues are saying. Indeed, one of Western society's greatest gifts to the world is the concept of neutral media that simply report the facts, untainted by the views of the writer. The ideal news report should be in the format of "X said ____, while Y said ____," without revealing with whom the writer of the report sides.

It is true that there is an unfortunate tendency in the MODERN media to present only ONE side of the issues; indeed, media bias is, unfortunately, running rampant. This is particularly so when it comes to reporting about our little corner of the world.

On our site, we want to provide visitors with points of view from all over the spectrum -- whether or not these views are in accord with the personal views of the staff members here at . By doing this, we hope to help, in our own small way, to correct the bias that is corrupting the modern media.

For example, someone once wrote in and asked how he could support the State of Israel. We recommended, among other things, contacting Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), if he wishes to support a Left-wing cause, or the Yesha Council (the Council of Judea, Sumeria, and Gaza), if he wishes to support a Right-wing cause. We did not, however, suggest which side is more worthy of support.

In this way, our visitors will be able to make up their own minds and, hopefully, arrive at the truth.

Having said this, while we want to provide a forum for various points of view, we draw the line at untruthful statements that serve no purpose other than to incite. We cannot, however, be responsible if such a statement appears in any of the news media to which we provide links.


I thought about answering your e-mail, and decided that you did not understand my criticism.

I strongly support the view that people should see all the sides of an issue.

It would make your site very interesting if your links would be to sources of the right - Arutz Sheva, as well as sources on the left - Shalom Achshav, and more. These are Israeli institutions that indicate democratic variances in opinion on issues that affect their lives as Israelis - tax paying, army serving, pro/anti Zionist, etc. These diverse elements of Israeli society use the power of the vote, of legal protest, of licensed assembly to voice their opinion.

As Abraham Lincoln - an anti-slavery candidate for President of the United States, said of Senator Douglas, who was strongly pro-slavery, " I disagree with my entire soul the ideas and position of Mr. Douglas. I will, however, defend to the death his right to promote them."

This is called democracy.

However, linking to a site that openly states that they are not part of Israel, and are against Israel society, and promotes physical injury to Israeli citizens - in short, at the very least, a foreign, anti-Israel regime - is difficult to understand. In order for " people to understand the "truth" is for them to see what people on all sides of the issues are saying ( YOUR WORDS)" why not put in a link to the official Lebanon, Syria and maybe Iraqi sites - to better understand all the sides of the issues?

I humbly feel that your current decision has actually diminished your site's impartiality, since it is not a "State Of Israel" neutral site. In today's world full of contorted issues and difficulties, the place that truly places everything on the intelligent browser's palate, is the one that they will bookmark.


[Note: We received the following e-mail on May 5, 2002, as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began a trip to Washington, D.C. The prime minister brought with him a 100-page document containing Israeli intelligence on Yasser Arafat. Sharon's goal was to use the document to persuade President George W. Bush to adopt the former's point of view about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Eds.]

I fully support Israel in its struggle against terrorism and its campaing in the nest of suicide bombers and terrorist, the Palestinian territories. If the terrorist Arafat flies out to meet his terrorist buddies, he must not be allowed to return to Palestine. As Mr. Sharon said, it is a one-way ticket. It is time for Israel to root out terrorism and strike hard at its source. Israel must be vigilant because the terrorists will never rest and will look for any way or means to harm innocent civilian citizens. I hope that Washington will carefully analyze the report that Mr, Sharon is bringing with him about Arafat financing and supporting the suicide bombers and other acts of terrorism against Israel and its citizens. God Bless Israel and its struggle against terrorism.

Eddie Lorenzo ( Puerto Rican)


I am an Israeli Jew living in America and would like information on joining the Israeli army and what steps I should take to join the army.

From your letter, it appears that you are an Israeli citizen. If this is the case, you can go to any ALIYAH office and arrange for your status as a TOSHAV CHOZER ["Returning Resident"]. This will give you certain tax advantages, similar to what a person receives when he first becomes an Israeli citizen, as an OLEH CHADASH.

In addition, you should go to the nearest Israeli consulate to obtain a valid Israeli passport, if you don't have one already. (If you are also an American citizen, you should have a valid U.S. passport, as well, since you will need the U.S. passport to go in and out of the U.S.) You may be able to obtain a temporary exemption from the military, so that you will have time to look for an apartment or somewhere else to live when you get back to Israel. Ask at the consulate.

Once you are back in Israel and have established where you are living, go to the nearest LISHKAT GIUS ["Draft Board"] and make sure they know where you are living. You will soon be called up for your first interview, what's known as the TZAV RISHON. You will be asked certain questions about your language and other skills, and you will take an IQ test. (Three of the key languages they are looking for are Hebrew, Arabic, and English. If you have spent a significant amount of time in the United States and speak English well, or, better yet, fluently, be sure they know this. Also, be sure to let them know if you speak Spanish, French, or any other languages.)

If your immediate family is not in Israel, be sure to let the interviewer know this, and request that you be given the status of CHAYAL BODED ["Lone Soldier"]. This will give you the right to fly out of Israel for a few weeks every year to visit your family. (You have to pay for the ticket, however.) This is important because other soldiers are not permitted to leave Israel during their regular military service.

On a different day, you will return to the LISHKAT GIUS for your second interview, what's known as the TZAV SHEINI. You will be asked about your medical condition and may have to provide a urine sample for drug testing. (If you have any medical problems, be sure to have a note from your doctor in the United States.) If you are not proficient in Hebrew, you may be required to spend some time in a Hebrew language course called ULPAN before you can continue any further.

Once you have completed your TZAV RISHON, your TZAV SHEINI, and (if necessary) ULPAN, you will be given your TA'ARICH GIUS, the actual date your military service is to begin. You will be told to meet your group somewhere not far from your apartment, where you will board a bus for the BAKUM ("BAsis Klitah U' Miun") [Absorption and Placement Base].

At the BAKUM, you will be issued your uniform, given all the necessary shots, and subjected to the typical "first day hell" that all new soldiers have to endure. You will then board a bus to the base where you will do TIRONUT ["Basic Training"]. Alternatively, you may be told to spend the night at the BAKUM, or you may be allowed to go home and return the next day; eventually, you will be off for TIRONUT.

The location of your TIRONUT base, as well as the amount of time you spend in TIRONUT, is determined by your "profile," which, in turn, is determined by your physical condition. If your profile is 97, you are likely to be put into a combat unit and, as a result, you will have a long, grueling TIRONUT. By contrast, if your profile is, say, 46, you are likely to be a "JOBNIK," meaning that you will probably have a desk job. If this is the case, your TIRONUT will be long and grueling, but not as much as what people bound for combat units have to undergo.

After TIRONUT, you will return to the BAKUM, where you will be assigned to your permanent base, where you will probably spend the rest of your regular army service.

If you are also a U.S. citizen, you should aware of the potential threats to your U.S. citizenship posed by serving in the Israeli, or any foreign, army. (This is only GENERAL legal information, not binding legal advice. For specifics, we highly recommend consulting a U.S. immigration lawyer.)

According to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253 (1967), which is still the law today, the U.S. government cannot deprive a U.S. citizen of his American citizenship unless he commits some voluntary act with the intent of relinquishing his U.S. citizenship. Such acts include certain service in foreign militaries, as well as service in foreign governments (for example, running for prime minister of Israel).

However, simply being drafted into a foreign military by virtue of citizenship in that country isn't enough to deprive an American of his citizenship. Thus, Israeli-Americans who go back to Israel to serve in the Israel Defense Forces don't lose their U.S. citizenship, so long as they are legally "drafted" in Israel. However, accepting a position as an OFFICER in the Israel Defense Forces is considered a VOLUNTARY act, as opposed to an act connected with the Israeli draft. Consequently, becoming an officer in the I.D.F. MAY threaten U.S. citizenship.

If you are a LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT of the United States, rather than a citizen, you should be aware that returning to Israel to serve in the I.D.F. may threaten your status in the United States. According to the United States Code (8 USC § 1101(a)(13)(C)(ii)) an absence from the United States for "a continuous period in excess of 180 days" may cause a person's lawful permanent residence in the United States to be taken away.

If this is your situation, then before taking ANY action to arrange your service in the Israel Defense Forces, you should obtain U.S. citizenship, since, as mentioned above, U.S. citizenship is much harder to lose than mere lawful permanent residence. In order to apply for U.S. citizenship, you need to have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years and you need to pass the citizenship exam. After obtaining U.S. citizenship, apply for a U.S. passport. ONLY after you have obtained U.S. citizenship would we recommend taking any action to arrange your service in the Israel Defense Forces. (Obtaining U.S. citizenship does not threaten your Israeli citizenship, since Israel does not automatically take away the Israeli citizenship of people who naturalize in foreign countries.)


I live in Spain. I'm sending this e-mail to ask you a question. I've read in a Jewish Spanish bulletin called Hineni, that there are some programmes to contact Israeli soldiers using mail or e-mail.

I want to know if it's true. I want to be able to contact soldiers to send them my support and the support of my family and friends.

Todah Rabah.


Yes, there are ways to contact Israeli soldiers to send your support. Probably the best way to contact Israeli soldiers and help support them is through the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.


I'm deeply shocked by the Israeli atocities in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly the massacres in recent weeks.
As long as Israel prefers to ignore UN resolutions and shows no respect for basic human rights, people in Israel will never be able to live in peace.

It's depressing to see what a mockery an arrogant terrorist like Sharon can make of the president of the so-called "only remaining super-power." I hope the peace-loving people in Israel will soon get a head of state who is worthy of international respect.

For the Palestinians:

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10) I'm confident they too will overcome, like so many oppressed people before them.

Josef Hauer


I am under the impression that Sharon is like Hitler, and Israel's army is like the Nazi army. Violence follows violence. Palestinians have less power than the Israeli army.

Palestinians had lived in their land for 2000 years, but Jews robbed their land.

If Jews want to live in their land, they must feel the Palestinians' pain and must love the Palestine people.


[Note: We received the following e-mail on April 17, 2002. About a week later, the Palestinian Authority put the Palestinian death toll in Jenin at 56, while the Israeli death toll was 33. Consequently, the Palestinian Authority no longer refers to the Israeli actions in Jenin during this month as a "massacre." Eds.]

We should also offer our condolenses for all the Palestinians who have been massacred in Jenin. Israel has invaded another country and has NO right to be in Jenin. It is not in your country. I feel badly that there are people willing to blow themselves up and kill other people, whether they be Israelis or Palestinians, but you being in Jenin is like the USA invading Canada and going to Toronto because there were suicide bombers in Canada. You have no right to be there, and if Israeli soldiers die, you only have yourself to blame.

Hello you dear people. I am Susan Hendricks, in Oceana, WV, in the USA, and I am just visiting your web page. I so love the State of Israel.

I am a Christian and have so much respect for your faith. I love the Lord God with all my heart. I just want to say that there will come a day when God will restore all the land to His people Israel, and peace will come at that time. I also wish to tell you all how sad I am about all the lost lives in Israel and the awful terrorism you have indured with the suicide bombers. I know God is not pleased. He grieves, also. I believe He weeps with the loss of his chosen people. Our family has a tree growing in Israel that my father planted to show support for the nation of Israel. It has my family name on it. I pray every day for Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as the Psalmist tell us to do.

May God richly bless you and keep you may his mercy around you and give you peace.

Love in God's Name.

Susan L. Hendricks


I remain confident in Mr Sharon's sincere desire of security and peace for Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinian National Authority, which has always denounced terror, whose pacifist engagement is sincere, is not the enemy of Israel. Yasser Arafat, who has always denounced terror, whose pacifist engagement is sincere, is not the enemy of Israel. Dialogue-a necessity- is the only way to defeat concretely and definitively terrorist organisations. Shalom.


Mawloud Ould Daddah, a friend of Israel, Dakar, Senegal


[Note: We received the following e-mail on April 12, 2002. Eds.]

I only know one family in Israel (Nahayra), and I was shocked to hear that one of their two daughters was recently killed in one of the terrorist attacks.

It is unbelievably sad how innocent people are killed every day. I pray every day, hoping that the conflict will be solved soon.



Just wanted you to know. Contrary to what you may hear on the news, there are many non-Jews here in America who support the right of Israel to defend itself. It is pretty clear what is going on.


This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays kings, ruins towns;
And beats high mountain down.



I am an Indian Muslim and am very much interested in the affairs of Israel. I started to learn about Israel due to the "old rule" of enmity, i.e., "know more about your ENEMY." Now it has gotten quite serious. Now I had a balanced view of the region due to the invaluable and correct information that I got from you, as well as from Haaretz. I think there should be an State of Israel, as well as State of Palestine, side by side, just like good friends. But is this possible....??? Earlier I used to think that Israel should be wiped out, and then I had NO-PROBLEM, but I started to change my views on Israel and soon came to the realization that I had ALL the problems.

The killings in Israel, as well as in Palestine, and worsening conditions are just going on. In fact, my HOPES of Israel+Palestine are dying and, I am forced to rethink (frustrated) that there could be NO PEACE in that region unless Israel is wiped out. I am NOT blaming Israel, but who is responsible for all this bloodshed? I just don't know.

May ALLAH strenghthen my hope of Israel+Palestine
and bless mercy upon us ALL.


[Note: We received the following e-mail on April 8, 2002. Eds.]

President Bush does not speak for all Americans. I hope he doesn't speak on this issue for most. I find it hypocritical for him to demand that Israel withdraw from Palestinian territory while we are engaged in an invasion of Afghanistan.


Clarence Brown
Medford , OR


[Note: We received the following e-mail on April 7, 2002. Eds.]

I am an American, a Roman Catholic, and a Republican. I am a supporter of President Bush, and I love my country as I love my family and my God.

I am so very proud of Prime Minister Sharon as he carries the torch of freedom not only for Israel, but for America and the rest of Western Civilization. Today, not only is Israel fighting to defend itself, but Israel is fighting to defend the rest of the Free World from tyrannical Islamic fundamentalism. Israel must not fail. Failure to win this war against terrorism will result in the destruction of Israel and lay the ground for the destruction of the Free World.

It is time for the entire world to realize that the same groups that are sponsoring this reign of terror against Israel are the same tyrants that financed the attack against America on 09/11/01. They will not be satisfied until America, Israel, and the rest of the Free World that values Judeo-Christian values is destroyed.

God bless Israel, Premier Sharon, and the Israel Defense Forces as they carry the banner of freedom to victory for all of us.


[Note: We received the following e-mail on April 6, 2002. Eds.]

I wonder why during all this conflict, Israel doesn't remind the world about the legal purchase of land and the entitlement of that or those purchasers to possession of it!!

Seems this part of history is being ignored. Yet, it is the legal answer to the problem.

Out of the mouths of babes.


May our Deity bless us all!

I am not what would be considered a scholar in the traditional sense. I may be considered an olde codger. It is very difficult for me to understand the attitude of the Israeli people. Seems to me that about fifty-three years past, the present State of Israel was in relatively the same dilemma that the Palestinians find themselves. Has it been such a long time that the current statesmen of Israel have forgotten the longing for a place to hang their hat and call home? The first fifty years of Israel's current life has been governed with strong leadership of those that were in the fore of the fighting. I am not here to cast stones. The question goes begging however, "Was there not a time when those that fought for freedom of the Israeli State were also known or referred to as terrorists?"

NO ONE is going to win here as long as each child insists upon retaliating in a greater manner than the previous attack. I make the presumption that these people are of a civilized demeanor and can sit at the same table and in calm tones state the nature of their concerns without slamming shoes at the podium. Anger rides in all our souls. It is time to shift that anger to the back burner and get on with the important matters of life. As things are progressing at this time, "The future generations or if you will, the seed stock of the nations, is being sent to kill and for what?" It is as the man who smashes his hand with a hammer to make the already present pain dissolve.

William J. Coburn
San Francisco, CA


[Note: We received the following e-mail in April 2002. Eds.]

Dear Sir/Madam:

Israel has so far killed nearly 3 times as many Palestinians in the recent conflict as the Palestinians have killed Israelis.On top of that, it is illegally occupying land it has no right to, arrogantly ignoring numerous UNO resolutions with the help of the USA. Sadly, the only democratic and educated country in a sea of admittedly corrupt Arab countries acts more and more like their counterparts, which causes great resentment, for example, here in Europe. The Israelis don't give much about World opinion , as they have managed to portray themselves, often successfully, as being the 'victims' and return criticism with the stereotype "Antisemitism" -reply, but they should not fool themselves: the way you treat other people is the way you will ultimately be treated in the end. Thank God there are enough decent and educated Jewish people out there who do not believe having somebody like Sharon (Lebanon-massacre, or is this already totally forgotten?) as a prime minister will any be good for Israel. They will be the ones on whom one has to rest ones hope. My sympathy is with all the victims of this senseless violence, the families of the ones killed by the suicide terrorists, AND the victims of brutal military force by Israel.

Respectfully yours. Prof. M. Endres, UK


[Note: We received the following e-mail in April 2002. Eds.]

I write this e:mail out of desperation at the continuing slide towards chaos in the Middle East. I am a former Anglican priest and part of my training was the history of the Holy Land; I therefore have some understanding of the tension of the 'Fertile Crescent' for the past 5,000 years. I have concern for all those living in the Holy Land, whether Jew or Arab. I see two peoples set on destroying each other, for there will be no winners and no lasting settlement if action taken continues. It seems to me that the action of Prime Minister Sharon is creating an army of suicide bombers for what else is left to the Palestinian people. This action makes no sense, the situtation continues to deteriorate and the people of the Holy Land will be destroyed leaving only the politcians to face the consequences of their senseless actions - won't somebody challenge the government of Israel to find a new way and save its people.

Trevor Hazelgrove
Somerset UK


I'm interested in an area called Damona Israel, I'm not quite sure about the spelling of this area. Would you please send me the correct spelling and where this is actually located, and who occupies this particular region? This subject came up in class and now I'm curious.

Thank you for taking the time to write us. You are likely referring to DIMONA, which is located near Beer Sheva, the "capital" of the Negev Desert.

Dimona is populated by people from a variety of backgrounds; many of Dimona's residents are new immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union and from Ethiopia.

Another interesting group of people who live in Dimona is the African Israelite Community, also known as the Black Hebrews. Most of the Black Hebrews come from the United States (or are the Israeli-born children of U.S. natives). Their spiritual leader, Ben Ami, is an African-American who belives, along with his followers, that African-Americans are a lost tribe of the Israelite (Jewish) People and should, therefore, live in the Holy Land. He thus led a group of Black Hebrews to Israel some three decades ago. The Black Hebrews believe in purity. They thus make their own clothes by hand and only eat strictly vegan, all-natural food. They have their own "commune" in Dimona.

Because Dimona is a "suburb" of Beer Sheva, its economy and infrastructure are dependent in many ways on Beer Sheva. For instance, people who travel by bus to Dimona from other parts of the country will almost always go first to the central bus station in Beer Sheva and, from there, take a shuttle bus to Dimona.