Israel Virtual Tour

Leonard Ivanhoe, an Israeli citizen, wrote the following letter to the president of Rutgers University. (Full disclosure: this came over the Internet. We print it because the story is true - in the sense that it expresses important truths.) This is Mr. Ivanhoe's response to a Rutgers student leader's comments on the "Israeli/Palestinian" situation:

Dear Ms. Kates,
I think you are a remarkable woman. You are neither an Arab nor a Jew,
you do not study the Middle East, or any associated subject and, correct
me if I am wrong, you have never visited this region. Therefore I am
somewhat astounded at your expertise and your comments on Israel being
an "Apartheid" state.

I have lived in Israel for many years and I would be delighted to take
you on a little virtual tour of our country. Let me first give you a
couple of minor points. Israel occupies 0.1% of the landmass of the
Middle East and it is the only Jewish state, not only in this region,
surrounded as we are by 22 Arab states, but in the world.

Let us begin your virtual tour!
You have already been through immigration at Tel Aviv Airport with your
boyfriend, whom we shall call Ken. You will have filled out a visitors
form. This form will not ask you, as it will in many of the countries that
surround us, what is your religion, and it will certainly not ask you,
as they do in Saudi Arabia, for a "certificate of religion."

The day is Sunday! You will want to attend a church service. No problem
in the Apartheid State of Israel. We tolerate and freely allow worship
for all religions. This is more than can be said for nearly all of the
surrounding 22 Arab nations. In fact many of them would not even have a
single church, let alone a synagogue.

After a lovely service you and Ken would head for a leisurely lunch,
maybe at one of the lovely beachfront restaurants in Tel Aviv. You would
most likely have returned to your hotel and put on a very casual outfit,
as fitting the very hot Israeli summers. This could be a pair of shorts
and a tight-fitting skimpy t-shirt. No problem in the Apartheid state of
Israel. In Israel we allow freedom of dress, especially for women, who are not
made to wear bulky long robes and a veil to cover their face. Wouldn't
it be a pity if you had to cover that lovely coiffed hairdo, as you
would probably have to in most of the surrounding 22 Arab states?

During lunch Ken could gaze lovingly into your heavily painted eyes,
complete with a good application of black mascara. He would be free to
lean across and kiss your lips, finely painted with lip liner, two shades
of burgundy lipstick and gloss. People would probably think you were in
love, especially as Ken has proudly displayed a good wine on the table.
Public displays of affection and consuming alcohol in the Apartheid
state of Israel is nothing unusual and it's not even illegal.

That's more than can be said for most of the surrounding 22 Arab states,
where your glossy lips would be considered whorish and alcohol is

But Ken, being a little flirtatious, pinched one of the young waitresses
while you went to reapply your lipstick. It was harmless and, luckily
for the young girl in the Apartheid State of Israel, her father and 6
brothers will not take her to the family pool in the evening and drown
her, as they would in some of the surrounding 22 Arab states.

After lunch you and Ken drive around. You, a female, are even allowed to drive. It
is not forbidden in Israel.

You stumble across a kindergarten. The children are running around and
enjoying themselves. They are not made to sit for hours reciting by rote
pages from religious books. Their games are in the sand pit or on the
swings. They are not infested with hate or told that the only honor to their
lives will be in death.

In the Apartheid state of Israel we rejoice in life and living. We do
not promote murder and violence by brainwashing our children with
hatred, as they do in many of the surrounding 22 Arab states.

By the end of the day you and Ken come across a political rally. Many
thousands have turned up. In the Apartheid State of Israel all the
citizens, men, women, Jew, Arab and Christian are free to vote. We are
allowed to openly criticize the government and our media, including the
TV and newspapers offer, without prejudice, a choice of opinions.
Every person has the right to openly agree with or condemn the
government. This can certainly not be said for most of the surrounding
22 Arab states, ruled as they are by oppressive dictators, where any
dissent is met with dire consequences.

Of course, most of the 22 surrounding Arab countries can't offer you a
good old-fashioned homicide bombing as a tourist attraction. This can
only happen in the Apartheid State of Israel, surrounded as we are, by
so many hostile countries determined, as you are, to wipe us off the
face of the earth.

Where else can you get on a crowded bus, often packed with children and
come face to face with some poor, plighted Palestinian ghoul who thinks
life isn't very jolly, having been fed and brainwashed by evil
organizations like Hamas, to believe that the only way forward is to
murder innocent people? This dehumanized creature will have been fed on
a 24/7 diet of lies and hate incitement, he will have been coaxed with
the reward of 72 vestal virgins waiting for him in Paradise. His demonic
mother will be dancing in the street waving her $10,000 check.
While Israelis are scraping their dead children off the sidewalks, the
Palestinians will be lighting fireworks and dancing in the street, to
honor this mass murderer as a hero, often to their children who are
being systematically nurtured to be the next generation of mass

The Apartheid State of Israel? Forgive me Ms. Kates but you seem
somewhat confused as to the meaning of the word. It usually refers to
segregation. It's funny isn't it that a large section of the Jews who
live in this apartheid state had to flee for their lives from nearly all
of the surrounding 22 Arab states. These countries not only have no
tolerance for Jews, they refer to anyone who is not a Moslem as an
infidel and an enemy.

I find it somewhat curious that you find nothing "apartheid" about these
countries. Maybe you should do a project on how many churches there are
in Saudi Arabia. Let me help you - there are none. It would not be

I am proud to live in this Apartheid State. In 55 years we have become
one of the most technologically advanced nations on this planet, with
many innovations that have made Israel a true leader in many fields. It
is tragic that we have to live in a region that feels threatened by our

Israel is not an apartheid state and it is appalling that a so-called
intelligent and thinking person like you can go around finding feeble
excuses for mass murder.

Ms. Kates, there is no justification, in any society, for getting on a
crowded bus, often packed with children, detonating an explosive belt,
often packed with nails and shrapnel, and destroying innocent lives.

This is not a freedom fighter, or a person seeking justice, but a
chronically and irreversibly evil human being.

I can only assume that one day in the near future, Ms. Kates, you will
chip off that heavy layer of make-up and discover your conscience.

By Leonard Ivanhoe (via Internet)

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