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Israel

April 19, 1993

In the article by Knesset member Ze'ev Benyamin Begin (Commentary, April 1), the Hebrew phrase, "Eretz Yisrael" the meaning of which is "the land of Israel," was followed by the term "Greater Israel," in parentheses. This term was undoubtedly added by the editor and not written by Begin. By identifying "Eretz Yisrael" with "Greater Israel," you distort the meaning of the article and mislead your readers.

"Eretz Yisrael" is a geographic concept and not a political one. "Eretz Yisrael" is mentioned innumerable times in the Old Testament as the land of which the fathers of the nation of Israel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, lived, and in which the people of Israel lived for approximately 1,500 years until the exile. The geographic boundaries of "Eretz Yisrael" (the land of Israel) remain undisputed. They are specifically defined in the Old Testament as the strip of land that lies between the sea and the River Jordan.

"Greater Israel" or "Lesser Israel" are modern political concepts. They are used to reflect differing attitudes and approaches regarding the ultimate borders of the State of Israel, to be determined and agreed upon in the peace talks now under way.

Political disagreement in Israel centers on the question whether and how much of the territory from within the Land of Israel can be relinquished in order to enable Israel to retain the two elements so essential to it: peace and security.

URI OREN

General Consul of Israel

Los Angeles

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