Widow of Yitzhak Rabin Addresses ASTA Delegates

By Nadine Godwin

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.

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