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American Polls on Israel and the Palestinians

The report by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research on media polls of the American public's stance on the Israel/Palestine situation, Oct. 25, is slanted.An example of the report's bias is shown in the phrasing of questions it cites. One of the questions is prefaced with the explanatory remark that "Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip after its neighbors attacked Israel in 1967." This introductory history lesson is quite irrelevant to the question. It only serves to encourage an uninformed respondent to adopt an attitude of hostility toward the presumed aggressors: the Arab countries surrounding Israel. Further, the allegation is basically untrue. It has been established that, in light of a perceived mounting of Arab hostility during 1967, Israel found it advisable to launch an attack, which it considered a "preemptive defense." William Rogers, San Antonio, Texas

In defense of rugby In response to the article "Violence Darkens Rugby's Future," Oct. 25, I would like to point out that rugby is not a violent sport. There is more violence (in the sense of deliberate intention to harm) in American football or professional ice-hockey. Rugby is a tough physical-contact sport, but when played in the right spirit, under the discipline of a good referee, it remains a great team sport. Alistair Budd, London, England

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Elephants in captivity The article "The Thinning Ranks of the Thick Skinned," Oct. 25, presents only part of the story of this vanishing treasure. Omitted is the great injustice meted out to wild animals in captivity. Many people view animals as ours to use and destroy. Captive animals suffer severely - especially when chained by the feet as shown in the photo. Suzanne J. Bradley, New York

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