THE MIDDLE EAST: Eyes on Elath

Just one shooting scrape—in which the Egyptians claimed four Israelis killed, the Israelis acknowledged no casualties at all—broke the edgy calm along the Middle East's tensest frontier last week. Yet this skirmish disturbed many Isaelis more than the bloody battles at Gaza and El Auja. What mattered most to them was the site of battle: Elath, a new town which Premier David Ben-Gurion likes to call Israel's own "up-and-coming Los Angeles."

When Israeli troops drove south across the Negev Desert seven years ago to seize an elevenmile coastline at the head of the...

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