Middle East: Symbolic Act

The animosities of Arabs and Israelis are exacerbated by a continuing war on each other's religious, historic and sentimental symbols. Arabs destroyed or damaged 80 places of Jewish worship when they controlled Jerusalem, turning two synagogues into public lavatories. Last week the Israelis in turn gave their enemies cause for offense, though on a lesser and more personal level. They demolished the childhood home of Yasser Arafat (TIME cover, Dec. 13), leader of Al-Fatah, the largest group of Arab fedayeen commandos.

The five-story stone-and-plaster house stood in Jerusalem's Abu Saud quarter, named for Arafat's maternal ancestors, who bore the title Maqib...

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