This so far unpublished letter was sent to the editor of Haaretz.

How to Improve the Israeli Image Abroad

Following the discussions in your paper over the ways of improving the Israeli image abroad, may I venture a few suggestions.

Israel is making a bad impression abroad because of its policy and military activities. The only way, therefore, to improve the image is to change the activities and the policy.

  1. The Israeli army should stop the bombing of Arab towns and villages and evacuate all areas occupied since June 1967.
  2. The government should open the borders for the return of all refugees since 1948 and resettle them on the same conditions that Jewish immigrants are settled.
  3. Cabinet Minister Menahem Begin, who openly confessed in his book that he ordered the Dir-Yassin massacre, should be put on trial as a war criminal. All other crimes of this nature should be similarly investigated and dealt with.
  4. To replace the Zionist establishment of an exclusively racial Jewish state by a democratic constitution giving equal rights to all citizens without religious, racial or national discrimination.

Accepting these suggestions will almost certainly improve the Israeli image abroad, as well as putting an end to the current hostilities [which are] making an improved image necessary.

Yours faithfully,

Shimon Tzabar,

London

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Haolam Haze, 31.12.69.

The state of Israel is a Jewish state. Its spiritual and moral foundations are the Jewish religion. These are the principles that must guide us in all our ways.

How can you protest so criminally at Moshe Dayan’s system of collective punishment which is our religion’s command? Has not the blessed God showed our way – the deluge, the annihilation of the Egyptians and Amalek – which are evidence that collective punishment is efficient and approved by God.

We must accept a moral licence from heaven and not listen to the heresies of those who have the boldness to pit their own moral principles against the moral law from above.

Biniamin Oren,

Jerusalem

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Haaretz, 7.12.69.

Dayan’s Rhetorical Question

In the TV programme Moked (Focus) on Thursday, November 27, 1969, Dayan was questioned about the fatalistic attitude which is growing among the public in face of the deterioration of Israel’s security. Mr. Dayan replied by asking the interviewers whether they have any other alternative to the present policy. Here are his exact words from an election speech in Tel Aviv, published in the magazine Dvar Hashavua No. 40:

One of the possible alternatives to our present policy is to accept the resolution of the Security Council and return to the former frontiers. I have no doubt that if we declared our readiness to retreat, we could have made certain modifications in the June 5 armistice lines by means of negotiations, to which even the Russians would agree. In Jerusalem we would not have been pressed to retreat from the Wailing Wall and we could possibly have achieved even more…

I will not enumerate all the possibilities. I simply state that there is an alternative, which is: Israel retreats to the previous frontiers, armed Arabs will not occupy every place evacuated by the Israeli Army. There would be some changes in the status of Jerusalem and also some territorial changes here and there. What can such an alternative bring about? Temporary relaxation of tension, but certainly the loss of every acievement of the Six Days War (sic!)…

 Let me say what victory means: victory means that formerly Eilath was our Southern border and now Sharm-Al-Sheikh; formerly East Jerusalem was Arabic, now it is Israeli; and this change will gradually become a permanent arrangement. On the other hand, if we go back to the previous lines, it will mean that we have defeated the Arab armies but we have not won. We have not won because we have not achieved permanent changes on the map. The main objective of our present policy, as distinguished from other possible alternatives which I will not advocate, is the creation of a new map, new frontiers and a new Israel.

Similar things were stated in other speeches by Dayan. It appears that Mr. Dayan, in reply to his interviewers, ignored what he said about other possible alternatives. Or, was he merely trying to test whether his interviewers knew about the existence of other alternatives?

Ilan Tamir, Eli Katz,

Haifa