A changed situation in the Soviet Union has changed the terms of Soviet Jewish immigration to Israel. There is no longer communist tyranny in the Soviet Union; there is budding democracy and great hope for political and economic progress, and religion can be practiced freely. We are told that many of the immigrants to Israel are engineers, doctors, artists, and other professionals. Such people surely would have an opportunity to help build the new Russia.On grounds of both humanitarian need and US security interests, loan guarantees to the Soviet Union may well be more important than those to Israel. It seems clear that the vitality and survival of Israel will be best served by obtaining peace with its neighbors, thus freeing it to pursue economic growth and independence, and not by a spoiled and stultifying dependence on the United States. America should not allow itself to be deterred from this clear vision. Robert DeLong, Chapel Hill, N.C.
On a recent visit to Russia, my husband and I met a wonderful couple in St. Petersburg who invited us home, fed us, and talked freely for hours about the situation there. I asked Marinna if she was afraid of going hungry this winter. She said no, her real fear was that her 12-year-old son Dima would be beaten to death. One little Jewish boy in St. Petersburg is in the hospital right now with a concussion from a beating. Everyone predicts more violence this winter as food and fuel run out. Russian Jews are scared. President Bush is dead wrong to use refugees as pawns in negotiations with the Arabs. Karin McQuillan, Cambridge, Mass.
Divisiveness at the top The opinion-page column "On Alienation, Racism, and Hate," Sept. 11, is right on. But President Bush is doing more to divide and alienate this country than any of the groups mentioned in the column. The values that have bound this society together, or should bind it together, are being trashed by a politician insecure about what he stands for, if anything, and bent on reelection at any price. Public funds for parochial schools are an example. No citizen or taxpayer should be obligated to support the teaching of religions not of their choice. A more divisive issue is hard to find. This proposal for "choice" is what the "parochial aid" people have been after for decades. President Bush and the Reagan/Bush Supreme Court are squandering much of the equity this society has built up in the system for 200 years. The Bush policies on wetlands, civil rights, abortion, and population control all are creating what the column refers to as "dangerous public chemistry." This president is not bringing us together. He is dividing us. Walter C. Bates, Norwalk, Conn.
Tinged with philosophy I am compelled to respond to the opinion-page column "The 'Illiberal' Yeltsin," Sept. 4. The sub-headline reads "Russian leader's patriotism is tinged with chauvinism." This understatement deserves notice. Boris Yeltsin's patriotism is no more "tinged" with chauvinism than George Wallace's philosophy is "tinged" with racism or Benjamin Hooks's "advancement for colored people" is "tinged" with liberalism. It is the linchpin of his philosophy, and ought to be recognized as such. C. Garton-Zavesky, Fayetteville, N.C.