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SPECIAL REPORT / ISRAEL at 50

Voices

April 12, 1998

'We need a new approach to Zionism. Basically, there are no more oppressed Jewish communities under oppressive regimes. The only way to continue immigration is to be attractive, welcoming, to be the greatest place in the world for Jews to live.'

YULI EDELSTEIN, minister of immigration. Born in Moscow, he immigrated to Israel in 1987 after spending 10 years in the Russian gulag.

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'The Law of Return says that any Jew, all over the world, who decides to settle in Israel doesn't come as an immigrant but returns to his heritage. This is the clearest sign that it is a Jewish state and not a state of Jews.'

ZERACH WAHRHAFTIG, one of two surviving signatories of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.

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'The issue of Palestinian identity "is our biggest problem. . .We don't know who we are or where we're going. People wear shirts with the map of Palestine on them; it's like they have to remind themselves of who they are.'

AZZA EL HASSAN, documentary filmmaker, daughter of founding PLO member Hani Hassan

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'A child in Israel is no different from a child in other places. They have computers, the Internet. It has become a small world.'

MICHAL YANAI, 26, star on cable television channel for children.

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'We want to emphasize the idea that Israel is the state of its citizens, not a state of the Jews. . . . Israeli Arabs are demanding their rights, not asking for them as a favor.'

AZMI BISHARA, one of 10 Israeli Arab members of parliament, former philosophy and political science professor at Birzeit University.'

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'The issue is not how to avoid dying, it's how to live. That's one of the achievements of the Israeli state.'

MAJ. GEN. UZI DAYAN, commander of Israeli troops in occupied parts of the West Bank.

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