JULY 29, 2002 - EXCLUSIVE FROM ISRAEL
Dear Rabbi Ben-Chaim:
Ambassador Keyes sends his greetings from Jerusalem to you
and all of your readers.
We had a very full first day in Israel. The morning started
with a breakfast and press conference for the Israeli and foreign
media in Jerusalem. The media had many questions about how Americans
perceive Israel's war on terror in comparison to America's war
on terror. As you have all heard the Ambassador do many times,
he walked the media through the logic of the moral principle
which undergirds the global war on terror. America and Israel
are united in the struggle to defeat those who have crossed the
line that sustains the hope of peace between the peoples of the
world. By denying the common humanity and dignity that all men
share, such men are the common enemies of humanity. That was
the message. And that message resonated throughout the day in
every meeting and interview.
Next, the Ambassador had a private meeting with Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon at his residence. They met for half an hour. Afterwards,
the Ambassador conducted a half-hour interview with the Prime
Minister on camera. It was an in-depth look at the reasoning
and logic that went into the decision to strike down a Hamas
leader Salah Shehadeh in his home. They discussed the differences
between conventional warfare and fighting terrorism. Cadre is
the most valuable asset the terrorists have. You can take out
buildings and material assets, but until you have destroyed the
most important thing that the terrorists possess, the leadership
that crosses the line and serves evil, they will continue to
spread that evil.
And when those leaders surround themselves with innocents
to shield themselves, the responsibility for the death of those
innocents lies with those cowards who placed them in harm's way.
Up next on the agenda was a meeting with Member of Knesset
Ahmed Tibi. Tibi is the most controversial of the Arab members
of Knesset, having served as senior adviser to Yasser Arafat.
He appears frequently in anti-Israel rallies and attempts to
disrupt police activity. The Ambassador conducted an interview
of well over an hour with Tibi. What an interview! It was a clash
that I believe is still ringing through the hallways of the offices
In the afternoon, the Ambassador answered questions from the
Israel Broadcasting Authority about the interview with Prime
Minister Sharon, as well as a one-on-one interview with Yaakov
Achimeir, Israel's main newscaster. Dr. Keyes answered questions
regarding the trip and the interview with the Prime Minister.
Next, the Ambassador conducted an in-depth interview for Hadassah
Magazine which will be available later this week.
We finished off the day with the Israeli Government Press
Office's reception and dinner attended by invited media and government
spokesmen. Ambassador Keyes became the first recipient of an
award by the Israeli government in appreciation of his journalistic
endeavors and his integrity in reporting. This was an unprecedented
award and the Ambassador was most grateful and humbled by the
All in all, it was a most memorable day with much more to
Until then, we wish you all health and happiness.