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We should welcome Jews, not persecute them

I was deeply touched by the recent letter from an Israeli in Belfast who had to remain anonymous out of fear (Write Back, August 6).

This Israeli also stated that "because of the atmosphere I face here in Belfast, I can't sign this article with my name", which I feel is truly a shame for Northern Ireland.

It was due to this anti-Israel wrath in the media when I returned from Tel-Aviv in 2002 that I felt I had to write in defence of Israel.

I found the Israeli people to be warm, welcoming and engaging. I also met and worked with many Arab Palestinians and Israeli Arabs during my decade in the country.

Many of these individuals and families had good rapport with Jewish Israelis, whether it be in work, or communicating in the shops or having a barbecue on the long stretch of beach that connects Jaffa with Tel-Aviv.

To this concerned Israeli in Belfast, who is feeling such resentment here in our own 'city of peace', I would like to say "Baruch Ha ba" (welcome) and "Shalom aleichem", (peace be unto you).

We owe a huge debt to the Jewish people for our Western values based on their Hebrew Scriptures and we should be showing our gratitude - not further persecution.

COLIN NEVIN

Bangor, Co Down

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