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Israel promotes human freedom and dignity

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I am writing in response to inflammatory letters regarding the commentary by Rabbi Ezra Ende, who had written about Israel's desire for peace ("Israelis Want Peace," June 7 Perspectives). Having lived next door to Ezra for four years, I know him to be a man of peace, generosity and integrity. He is a wonderful husband, father and neighbor -- dedicated both personally and professionally to truth and goodness.

Moreover, his position is supported by Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who, in an address to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Oct. 16, 2009, asserted that, during Operation Cast Lead in 2008, "the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare." He explained that the IDF took "extraordinary measures" to protect innocent life, having done so "while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population." He concluded that "to deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks."

Israel is a tiny country with a passion for children, gardens, music and scientific endeavor. It engages in medical and technological research that has benefited all humanity -- and in humanitarian relief efforts worldwide, most recently and prominently in Haiti. With many human rights organizations that freely challenge the government, Israel is a remarkable democracy, sharing America's precious belief in human freedom and dignity.

ANDREA CHESTER
Squirrel Hill

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