Re "Will Israel's Arabs get a say in its future?," Editorial, Aug. 12

Your editorial regarding whether Israel's Arab minority would be allowed to participate in a vote on a possible peace deal with the Palestinians goes right to the heart of the threat facing Israel.

The Palestinians have long wanted the millions of descendants of refugees from the 1948 war to move back to Israel and to become citizens of the Jewish state. This of course would inevitably result in the Jews becoming a minority and would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

The more the Palestinians insist on this "right of return" as part of a final peace deal, the more it becomes obvious that the Palestinians are intent on demographically destroying Israel rather than accepting Israel's right to exist.

If, however, the Palestinians drop their demand for the right of return, then my guess is Israelis will have no problem allowing their current Arab minority to vote on a final peace referendum.

Michael Asher

Valley Village

When Israel decided in 1967 to launch a preemptive strike against Egypt to ensure its own survival, the decision to strike or not to strike wasn't put to a vote. Similarly, it goes without saying that Israel will not put to a referendum a decision on whether to strike Iran, which is inching closer to nuclear capability.

Decisions that affect Israel's security and the ultimate survival of Israel as a Jewish state, including a peace deal with the Palestinians, should not be put to a referendum.

Such decisions are tough ones that are to be made by the government of Israel, which is formed in a democratic process that includes Israeli Arabs, who are represented in the Israeli parliament.

David Guttman

Sherman Oaks

The Times raises the question of whether Israel can be both a democratic and a Jewish state.

Since 1948, Israel has always been Jewish and democratic and will remain so. Every Israeli Arab has the same rights as anyone else. They vote, have political parties and have members in the Knesset. They go to the same universities and hospitals as all residents do.

Israeli Arabs are the among the most well-off Arabs in the world, having been saved from the less fortunate lives of their brothers across the Middle East. They are included in the literate, scientific and democratic society that is Israel.

Len Bennett

Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Kudos to The Times for its perfect editorial on the Israeli Arab situation. With relatively few words, it summed up perfectly what is required to make "democracy" in Israel a reality.

Martin J. Weisman

Westlake Village

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