Bravo to Maayan Jaffe on her informative article about One Israel Fund and its efforts to protect and nurture Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (“Can’t The Jews Have One?” June 21). Indeed, Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, as well as Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, played a central role in Jewish history and, accordingly, are a key element of our Jewish character and identity. This should be self-evident, yet many Jews today fail to embrace this basic fact. Sadly, there are too many Jewish organizations that ignore, or even worse disparage, the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and the pioneering families who live in those communities.

Perhaps the fault lies in the misconception that Jewish settlements are an obstacle to peace. On the contrary, peace requires respect for the fundamental rights of all individuals. As suggested by Marc Provisor of One Israel Fund, full acceptance by the Arabs of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria should be the litmus test of their willingness to live together in peace. The Palestinian Arab residents of this region should accept and respect their Jewish neighbors, just as Jews accept and respect the Arab citizens of Israel.

Isn’t it also time for every mainstream Jewish American organization to show due respect for the pioneering communities in Judea and Samaria, which are the living embodiment of our shared Jewish heritage?

Marc Caroff
President, Louis D. Brandeis chapterZionist Organization of America Silver Spring, Md.

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