I am Jewish. I am a Zionist. I have strong connections to Israeli family and friends. I support the idea of a two-state solution to bring peace between Palestinians and Israelis. The West Bank settlements are a barrier to the two-state solution and thus to peace.

The present government has two dangerous attitudes: that security necessitates holding territory and/or that the land on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem somehow “belongs” to Israel. Security lies not in territory but in giving your enemy a land of his own while guarding your land rigorously. And while some may believe that the Bible makes them the owners of West Bank land, they must recognize political realities and not sacrifice an entire country on the altar of their distinctive religious beliefs.

Therefore I applaud the U.S.’s abstention on the recent Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement building in the West Bank. I hope that it will wake up enough Israeli voters to install a government that is truly ready to explore the two-state path to peace.

Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis

• • •

Interesting in all the newspaper articles, opinions, columns, letters to the editor, everywhere, there is one small detail that is routinely omitted regarding Israel. Tiny but critical. And, that is the fact, the absolute fact, that the Arabs, going back to the PLO and Arafat to currently Hamas and Abbas, refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist! Everything else begs the question — how can there be a two-state solution when one of them denies the right of the other to even exist? Fix that first, and then, only then, the rest may more easily come together.

Beth Ryan, Wayzata

• • •

It is nice to know that Secretary of State John Kerry is willing to cite the construction of homes for people on land won in a defensive war as an obstacle to peace, even as he glosses over missile attacks, stabbing attacks, shooting attacks, and arson (“In parting shot, Kerry tears into Israel over settlements,” StarTribune.com, Dec. 28).

Watching this administration selling Israel down the river in its lame-duck days has made me truly regret my vote for Hillary.

Rich Furman, St. Paul

SANCTUARY

Here’s betting the good in religion outweighs the bad

Regarding the recent letters about the sanctuary movement: I submit that there is a substantial difference between a religious obligation to love each other vs. a religious obligation to slaughter the unbeliever. Love and respect strengthen our civil society; fear of the “other” weakens us all.

Tim Bardell, St. Louis Park

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

A breakthrough at the Capitol, and an upcoming day of rallies

Good news is sorely needed this holiday season. So why hasn’t the press reported on a historic breakthrough in the Minnesota House DFL Caucus? A full 50 percent of that caucus is now female. Now that’s newsworthy!

DFL recruitment efforts, offset by several losses in the party, finally achieved gender parity.

Not so much so on the other side of the aisle, where meager GOP women’s recruitment practices in the Minnesota House resulted in an overall net loss of women.

What does it mean to elect more women? Studies show that women are more effective at building consensus, working across the aisle and advancing legislation. Women bring different leadership strengths and perspectives to the table; they are more likely to sponsor legislation concerning children, education, family health, child care, and issues critical to social welfare and the environment.

Historical underrepresentation of women linked with structural racism, sexism and misogyny dominated headlines throughout the 2016 election, motivating a new wave of women to step forward to run for office next cycle. Nationally, it was reported that 4,500 new female candidates have already thrown their hats in the ring.

Now there is a new movement afoot called the Women’s March on Washington (www.womensmarch.com), with 50-plus rallies and marches set to occur all on Jan. 21 in cities across America and around the globe. Their purpose is “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights.”

Buses and planeloads of Minnesotans, women and men, will be traveling to our nation’s capital for this march, and thousands more will gather near our State Capitol for the Minnesota Women’s March (www.womensmarchmn.com). All are invited to participate regardless of gender or party affiliation. Women’s rights are human rights.

All newsworthy? You betcha!

Betty Folliard, St. Paul

The writer is a former member of the Minnesota House.

AIR TRAVEL

So many options that surely it all works out in your favor

I think the airline segmentation thing might be getting out of hand, just a bit (“Air travel can be basic, premium or much more,” Dec. 25).

Next time you fly, your airline cabin choices: basic economy, essential economy, premium economy, upscale economy, downscale economy, rock-bottom economy, kid economy, senior economy, first business, regular business, occasional business, first, premium first, premium select first, airline first, boomer first, ultra-first, international first, domestic first and your first.

OK. Now that you have your airline cabin picked out, time to select everything else that you want on your flight, from the airline’s convenient, pay-as-you-go menu.

Excellent! I just snagged a $76 one-way fare to London on my airline of choice, Nickel & Dime Airlines. Bummer — my “extra value” one-way fees totaled $550.

Welcome to the present and future world of airline travel.

Neil F. Anderson, Richfield

THE HOLIDAYS

Was it holly-jolly for you?

As the holiday season winds down toward its conclusion on New Year’s Day, we are presented with an opportunity to reflect on what we have experienced in what has become an annual ritual.

How do you feel?

Did the plenitude of paper-thin platitudes about peace, love, joy and hope relieve you of anxiety and distress in your life? Or were they ultimately meaningless — devoid of any basis for actual peace, love, joy and hope?

Did the interminable parade of exaggeratedly cheery, hyperbolically upbeat holiday music and other clamorous ditties give you the sustained strength to deal with long-term and very real struggles? Or were they merely thinly veiled tactics used to set a mood of financial indulgence, overextension, and undisciplined holiday madness focused on crass and irreverent materialism, the iconography of the season that promotes it, and the ephemeral, illusory happiness that accompanies it?

Was the long buildup encouraged by those who, by nonexistent authority, declare that “Now, you will be festive!” worth the letdown as those overlords get what they want from their debased and bastardized version of the season while you get stuck with the bill?

Sometimes, the only way to win is not to play. Perhaps a good start toward a less stressful holiday season is to do the hard work of withdrawing from and not participating in this iteration of it.

Matthew Rothchild, Isanti, Minn.

• • •

Thank you so much for reminding us that our country has been through very hard times and survived. Actually we have thrived! So with great gratitude, I thank the Star Tribune Editorial Board for the message of unity in a reprinted editorial from 1932 (“A message of peace for the world-weary,” Dec. 24).

Carolyn Smith, Medina