GLASGOW, Scotland -- Leah Rabin, widow of Israeli prime minister
Yitzhak Rabin, told ASTA delegates that it is unlikely that it will
be possible, even with the best efforts of Palestinians, to wipe
out Middle Eastern terrorism entirely. Nevertheless, she said,
Israel must live with and struggle against the terrorists "because
the alternative is war and war is a 100 times more painful and it
is a threat to our existence."
In a sometimes moving session at the ASTA World Travel Congress,
she said Palestinians must have faith in the future before
terrorism can be eliminated. To foster that kind of hope, she said,
Israel must be generous and must respect its adversaries.
"We should be a Goliath with the values of a David. We have to
respect the Palestinians. They deserve a better life, [and] we need
to believe in our neighbors' peaceful intentions." She said,
"Regrettably, much of the trust and hope that had been built up has
been destroyed," making the peace process much more difficult.
Mrs. Rabin made her most pointed observations on the state of
the Israeli peace process during a question-and-answer session with
ASTA delegates. In her prepared remarks, she turned from
recollections of her husband's efforts to bring peace to the Middle
East to remind delegates that he also "recognized the importance of
tourism" and that in the climate he created, "investors and
tourists came [to Israel], ignoring [terrorist] attacks."
She called tourism "something wonderful" and said delegates are
in a unique trade because "you deal with the whole world, which is
full of wonders." In addition, she said, tourism "can be a way of
neutralizing enmity" between peoples, "a bridge spanning the deep
gulfs" on the road to peace.