Dear Sen. Obama, First, I would like to welcome you to Israel! It is certain that either you or Sen. John McCain will be the next president of the United States. We, the citizens of Israel, look forward to the future US president's cooperation and support in confronting the challenges our two countries will continue to face, as has been the case down the years. The only truly important issue for the State of Israel has been and will continue to be our ability to continue living and surviving here as a people. Just a little more than six decades have passed since the Jewish people were sentenced to complete destruction by the Nazis. Since then a home has been established for the Jewish people in this country, a home that has experienced great success and growth. Unfortunately, even today we face new and different threats. We are subject to terrorism on a regular basis - not in the abstract, but as a vivid reality. Missiles and rockets rain down on our citizens daily. Innocent men, women and children lose their lives in suicide attacks, while just a few days ago we buried the last two of the many soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War. The events of last week prove beyond all doubt that our struggle to keep living here, on this piece of land, has not yet come to an end, and that Israel faces a cruel, bitter, and despicable enemy that will stop at nothing to get what it wants. The consistent language of the Iranian president and the arrogant words of Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah prove that today, as before, there are those who wish for the total annihilation of the Jewish people, and work day and night to achieve that goal. To us this is very clear, and we hope the rest of the world sees it with the same clarity. As someone who was born and spent his childhood in Iran, I know the Iranian people very well. I can tell you that they are a people who support peace. Their problem is their leadership, which misuses Islam and turns it into an extreme message of hate and violence, assisting every worthless, negative player in the region. Having dedicated the past 40 years of my life to Israel's security and defense, and as someone who is very well acquainted with the regional system, I can tell you that the only language that can be used in this case is the language of strength. We bless you on your visit to Israel and welcome you to our democratic, free and hopeful nation. We want you to know how much we value your friendship and how, together, we must protect those values that make our country and yours extraordinary. We wish you well. We wish you peace, and we hope that if you are elected president of the United States, you will remember the long journey Israel and the United States have taken together. Together we must continue walking this path for many years to come. Sincerely, Shaul Mofaz. The writer is the minister of transportation and the former chief of the IDF General Staff.