On behalf of the State Bar of Georgia, I would like to express condolences to the family, colleagues and many friends of retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel M. Feldman of Roswell on his recent passing (obituary, March 4).

During his distinguished legal career spanning more than four decades, Judge Feldman served as a U.S. magistrate judge for 31 years before he retired in 2005. Previously, he had served the public in a number of positions, including assistant Georgia attorney general, assistant legislative counsel, assistant Fulton County district attorney, and legislative assistant and legal counsel for U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn. He was also a director of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association.

Additionally, Judge Feldman served his country for 29 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve, retiring as a captain and military judge, and served his faith community as a president of Temple Sinai.

All Georgia lawyers and judges are grateful for Judge Feldman’s lifetime of service and are inspired by his many contributions toward promoting the cause of justice and upholding the integrity of the legal profession in our state.

— Robert J. Kauffman, president, State Bar of Georgia

Showing NIF’s Work

Thanks for informing your readers about a recent to visit to Atlanta by Reem Younis, an Arab Israeli high-tech entrepreneur who is working hard to advance not only the interests of her own Nazareth-based company, but also those in her community who have the potential to emulate her success if only given the opportunity (“Arab Entrepreneur Helps Engineer Israel’s Future,” March 11). As the AJT article noted, as part of those efforts she spoke in Atlanta on behalf of the New Israel Fund, of which she is a new board member.

During the course of her remarks, Ms. Younis expressed her excitement about the Israeli government’s recent decision to invest more than $2.5 billion in an effort to close the gaps between Israel’s Jewish and Arab populations. As anyone who follows politics anywhere knows, government decisions of this nature are not made overnight; they come about as a result of the advocacy work done by Israeli citizens through Israeli civil society organizations advocating such policies. And while we should all be encouraged by this decision of the Israeli government, proper and effective implementation will depend, in good part, on the ongoing efforts of these organizations to ensure effective follow-through.

The common thread for these organizations, many of which are behind some of Israel’s most important social advancements, such as the establishment of Israel’s first rape centers, is the New Israel Fund.

For over 35 years the New Israel Fund has supported Arab and joint Jewish-Arab civil society organizations that protect and promote both the rights of Arab citizens of Israel and a shared society for which all of its citizens feel an equal sense of collective ownership and responsibility. This is not only good for Arab Israelis; this is good for all Israelis.

— Shai Robkin, chair, New Israel Fund Atlanta Regional Council

Biden’s Two Visits

This month Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel. During his visit Biden was greeted by the news that an American citizen, Taylor Force, was murdered in Jaffa by a Palestinian terrorist. The Palestinian leadership, including Mahmoud Abbas, refused to condemn the attack, and the attack was praised in the Palestinian media. The most that Abbas would do was offer condolences to the family that Force was in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was no outrage from Washington.

Contrast this to a prior visit by Biden to Israel. During that visit in 2010, a minister announced that Israel would build apartments in Ramat Shlomo, a part of Jerusalem northwest of the city center that is not within pre-1967 Israel. In any conceivable two-state solution, Ramat Shlomo, being west of Jerusalem proper, would be on the Israeli side. Despite this, an international crisis erupted, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton screaming at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a solid 45 minutes, a signal honor she has not bestowed on any other head of government.

Is the murder of an American citizen less important than a dispute over the location of apartments? I am trying to put myself in the shoes of our leadership. I personally felt a sense of great loss over the murder of Taylor Force, even though I never had the honor of meeting this graduate of West Point, veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and future entrepreneur. It is people like Force upon whom the greatness of the United States rests. If one looks at the cold calculations from the State Department, they might say an ex-military person in business school is likely a Republican, and his death might distract attention from the massive violation that Iran has committed with its ballistic missile launch. To paraphrase our likely next president, “What difference does it make?”

— Jack L. Arbiser, Toco Hills