It’s Not So Different Here
Regarding Israel’s policy of dismantling the homes of terrorists, a State Department official was quoted in your Feb. 24 edition saying, “the home of an entire family shouldn’t be demolished for the action of one individual” (“Why Does Israel Demolish Houses After Terrorist Attacks?”)
Israel’s left-leaning Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled in favor of the government’s right to dismantle a home if it was used to harbor a terrorist or store his weapons.
The State Department appears to be unaware that there is a similar concept in American law. It’s called “civil asset forfeiture.” If somebody drives drunk, the authorities can seize his automobile — even if that’s the car that he uses to drive his kids to school. In many states, the police can impound the family’s car even if it was used in driving infractions that are much less serious than drunk driving, such as driving without insurance or promoting an illegal drag race.
If a drug dealer runs his operation from one room in his family’s house, the authorities can seize the entire house, even if the other family members had nothing to do with the drug dealing, and even if they didn’t know about it.
The property that was seized is put up for auction, and the money is kept by the local government.
In the landmark case of Bennis v. Michigan, a woman sued in 1988 after the family’s car was seized because her husband was caught engaging in “indecent” activity in it. She fought all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cast the deciding vote in favor of the state’s right to seize and keep the car.
For Israelis, the urgent need to deter murderous terrorist attacks requires having a variety of counter-terrorism tactics at their disposal. Americans, having been the victims of some of the worst terrorist attacks in modern history, should be able to understand that.
Stephen M. Flatow
Long Branch, N.J.
An Ounce of Exercise
Very exciting to read of the study from Tel Aviv University showing the benefit of regular exercise to reduce metastatic cancer (“Israeli Researchers: Aerobic Activity Can Reduce Risk of Metastatic Cancer by 72%,” Feb. 24). Of note, it has been shown in multiple studies that regular exercise for 120 to 150 minutes per week can reduce the incidence of certain cancers. In the study from Tel Aviv University, a reduction in the incidence of metastatic cancer was seen only if the study participants had taken part in high intensity aerobic activity on a regular basis and had been in the exercise program before they had a cancer diagnosis. The results confirm the old adage that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Beryl Rosenstein, M.D.
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