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August 12, 1977 - Image 54

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-08-12

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54 Friday, August 12, 1977THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Oppressed Youth Built Maccabi Movement


(Copyright 1977, JTA, Inc.)

'1'EL AVIV—Now that the
10th Maccabia has been con-
cluded and innumerable re-
cords in a variety of sports
have been established, it
might be timely to review
what the Maccabia Games
are and how they came
about. Aside from the athlet-
ic festivity and the pomp
and ceremony of the
games. there is a more
serious note to the running
of the quadrennial festival,
and that is the desire to
keep Jews from all over the
world together and make
them aware of each other.
The Maccabi spirit origi-
nated basically from the de-
sire of molested Jews to hit
back at their oppressors.
The movement started to-
wards the end of the 19th
Century when most of the
Jews residing in Eastern
Europe lived in squalid con-
ditions. They constantly
were beaten up on the
slightest pretext. and in the
business world were re-
fused admission to all but a
very few professions.
This condition. coupled
with the Dreyfus case,
which came up at the con-
clusion of the past century,
did little to help the morale
of the people. Jews all over
reasoned that if a Dreyfus
situation could develop in
France where the people
supposedly fought for liber-
ty. equality and fraternity.

it could very readily hap-
pen in Russia. Poland or
As a result of the gloom
the young Jews in the shte-
tel and in the larger cities
began to ask themselves
questions. Foremost in
their minds was what
would happen if instead of
running away from the po-
lice who attacked them,
they hit back? Con-
sequently the Jewish com-
munal leaders in the big-
gest Central European
cities called for an organiz-
ed program in the form of
athletics and gymnastics.

It wasn't merely for the
sake of competition, of
being able to run faster
than the next guy. but for
the sake of developing
quick reactions in man-to-
man combat. essential for
protecting themselves and
their property.
In the beginning, reli-
gious leaders were against
the idea. mainly because
they felt that this physical
fitness and educational pro-
gram would antagonize
their non-Jewish neighbors.
However. the elders were
overruled by the younger
generation and were forced
to accept the development
of an organized program
which subsequently came
under the banner of the
name of Maccabi.
History is a little hazy as
to when the first Maccabi

group was formed, but it
seems reasonable to as-
sume it was established in
Istanbul about 74 years ago.
Shortly thereafter the first
German Maccabi unit was
started in Berlin and their
programs included cultural
as well as sports activities.
In due time sporting con-
tests were arranged be-
tween Jews and Gentiles
and as a result it developed
a higher level of under-
standing and acceptance of
the Jewish people as individ-
Eventually clubs like the
Hakoach of Vienna. with
5.000 members, came to the
forefront. To this very day
many soccer afficianados
contend that the Hakoach
football team was the best
one to ever play. and when
they appeared in the United
States for the first time in
the early 1920s they drew
crowds of approximately
50,000 to their games in the
old Polo Grounds. Their
water polo team, together
with the Hagibor nine from
Prague, Czechoslovakia.
were rated among the top
in Europe.

All the while the Maccabi
program was developing in
Europe. a counterpart start-
ing approximately at the
turn of the century. was
formed in Jaffa. and in a
matter of three years there
were several clubs located
in five sections of Pales-

tine. The Maccabi move-
ment spread throughout Eu-
rope and in the 1930s. clubs
sprang up in South Africa
and Australia. It is esti-
mated that by 1932. when
Hitler was reaching the zen-
ith of his power, there were
100.000 active athletes
among the men and women
in 22 countries.
During the great conflict
which involved the United
States and Russia and Eng-
land against the Nazis. the
Maccabi contingent played
strong roles. When anti-
Semitic threats were made
or riots started against the
Jewish population and their
properties. police in the
area called on the local Jew-
ish clubs to send out de-
fense squads to protect the
synagogues and businesses.
It is a matter of history
that Maccabis went into the
underground movements in
their respective countries
and fought against the Nazi
During Israel's War of In-
dependence of 1948 and sub-
sequently against the Arabs
in 1956 and 1967, Maccabi
members made their pres-
ence felt. Today the Mac-
cabi numbers more than
200,000 active members all
over the world. and these
are the sportsmen who
make it possible to run the
games every fourth year
after the Olympic year in
the state of Israel.

End of DMC-Likud Coalition Talks in Israel
Causes Public Split in Political Leadership

lic split appeared in the
leadership of Prof. Yigael
Yadin's Democratic Move-
. ment for Change (DMC)
only days after its Central
Committee voted 61-8 not to
join the Likud-led coalition
Yadin, who held a press
conference last Thursday to
explain the decision, had no
sooner finished blaming tie
breakdown of siegotiations
on Likud and its religious
coalition partners when e
was challenged by DMC
Meir Zorea.
Zorea alleged that the
DMC leaders who con-
ducted the coalition talks —
Meir Amit and Amnon Ru-

binstein — were opposed to
joining and deliberately ma-
neuvered the negotiations
into a deadlock. He charged
that to blame the failure on
Likud was "hypocrisy".
Zorea, a general in the re-
serves, was promptly ad-
monished by Yadin who re-
minded him that such accu-
sations should be brought
before the appropriate
party bodies, not the press.
Yadin said he disagreed to-
tally with Zorea's charges
and was convinced that the
party will remain united
around its program and ob-
The DMC Secretariate on
Friday condemned Zorea
for his behavior and called

upon him to consider giving
up his membership on the
Secretariate. Earlier Yadin
and others objected to the
demands of some that
Zorea be ousted from the
Secretariate and that he
give up his Knesset seat.
Zorea, while saying he
will consider resigning
from the Secretariate, was
furious that the DMC body
did not take up the sub-
stance of his charges.
The coalition talks with
the DIVIC, which have been
going on almost from the
day the Begin government
took office, broke down part-
ly because the two parties
could not agree on Cabinet
portfolios and partly . be-

cause the religious part-
ners, notably the tiny
Aguda, feared that the
DMC's demands for elec-
toral reforms would elimi-
nate it from the political
The religious parties also
demanded that the DMC
vote along with the coali-
tion on religious issues. The
DMC insisted on freedom to
vote as it chooses on these
Begin now has the task of
filling the government por-
tfolios that had been left
open for the DMC. These
are the Welfare Ministry,
the Ministry of Transporta-
tion and Communications
and the Ministry of Justice.

Former SS Man Acquitted Despite Admitting
He Ordered More Than 400 Civilians Slain

BONN (JTA)—A former
SS officer, who admitted he
ordered the murder of
more than 400 men, women
and children in Brest-
Litovsk in 1942, has been ac-
quitted by a Kiel court on
grounds he had acted "in a
war situation" out of a
"sense of duty" and
that "cruelty" or ,a "crimi-
nal lack of compassion"
had not been proven.
The acquittal verdict for
Erner Poehls came in
spite of documents showing
he had written to his com-
manding officer, com-
plaining that Russian villa-
gers whose lives had been

spared during mass shoot-
ings included some parti-
sans, and asking permission
to shoot them. Evidence in-
dicated that permission was
granted and that Poehls lat-
er reported "success fig-
ures" showing that his unit
had shot 417 villagers, in-
cluding 60 children and 40

A German Jewish paper
charged that "only one log-
ical conclusion" could be -
drawn from the verdit —
that the court did not wish
to condemn Poehls, who
joined _the SS as early as
1933 and "was decorated"

by SS chief Heinrich Him-

The weekly added that
Poehls was -now a free
man, able to exercise all

civic rights." The weekly
said the acquittal "extend-
ed in a horrifying manner
the chain of misjudgments
in favor of Nazi regime exe-

Bnai Brith Parley to Host Speakers

sel, Lucy Dawidowicz, It-
zhak Itzhaki and Leon Jick
will be featured speakers at
the Princeton II Conference
of Bnai Brith inter-
national's adult Jewish edu-
cation program Oct. 22-24,
at the Henry Chauncey Con-
ference Center in Prince-
ton, N.J.

The conference is organiz-
ed this year around the
theme of - What The Mod-
em Jew Needs to Know."
For information on the
conference write Mort Fei-
genbaum, B'nai Brith Adult
Jewish Education and Pro-
gram Depts. 1640 Rhode Is-
land' Ave., NW, Washington,
D.C. 20036.

Morocco Mourns Benzaquen,
Minister and King's Advisor

PARIS (JTA)—Seven Mo-
fairs, believing that the
roccan ministers as well as
Jews can and should play
a personal representative of and important role in Mo-
the king attended the funer- rocco's political, economic
al service and burial Mon-
and social life.
day in Casablanca of Mo-
The government went out
rocco's first Jewish Cabinet of its way to honor the late
Minister, Dr. Leon Ben- Jewish doctor. A Moroccan
spokesman told the Jewish
The Jewish doctor served Telegraphic Agency that
as Cabinet Minister in two the official funeral was or-
Moroccan governments ganized "to honor the man
and. until his death Sunday but also to show that Jews
at 76, was the Jewish com- and Arabs can -live lil
munity's ''elder states- brothers united by a col,_
mon purpose. -
Benzaquen, a lung dis-
The Moroccan 'govern=
ease specialist, was asked
by the Moroccan Istiklal ment last week said it was
Party to become a member ready to help organize talks
of its delegation to the talks between Israel and the Pa-
with France held in Aix les lestinians on its soil. The
Bains in 1955. which paved Morocco press said these
the way to Morocco's inde- talks could be held in Casab-
lanca "where Jews and
After the country's inde- Arabs have lived together
pendence and the return of in peace and understanding
King Mohammed V from for over a thousand years. -
The press also recalled
exile in December. 1955,
Benzaquen was appointed the king's "invitation - to
Postmaster General. He Morocco's Jews who have _
was reappointed to a min- emigrated to - return to
isterial post the following - their former homes." King
year and left the govern- Hassan issued this in-
ment three years later to vitation to "return - last
devote himself to his medi- year and reiterated it again
this spring.
cal practice.
Several Israelis of Moroc-
even after he left the gov- can origin, including for-
ernment, a close advisor to mer Jerusalem Deputy
King Mohammed V and to Mayor Andre Chouraqui,
his son, Hassan II. He was visited Morocco this year at
also active in communal af- the king's invitation.

Israel Proud of its Girls, Army


(Copyright 1977, JTA, Inc.)

"Why don't you come to
Israel? There are lots of
nice girls there," Mrs.
Begin told an American re-
porter who interviewed her.
Then she added, "I always
like to see people married
off. I guess I can't stand
seeing people happy."
Mrs. Begin has a sense of
humor. I think perhaps the
trouble is the Arabs have
little sense of humor. They
have plenty of territory—
many countries of their
own—they have a monopoly
of the oil—they have many
virtues but little sense of
humor. Pharoah of old had
no sense of humor. Think of
the great *pyramids of the
Egyptians a M. Wonderful
buildings that are still the
object of admiration today,
but what were they built
for? Tombs. Could a people
with a sense of humor
spend so much of its effort
doing that?
Mrs. Begin shows that Is-
rael at least has some
sense of humor and she is
right too about Israel hav-
ing nice girls. Last year an
Israeli girl was named Miss
Universe. And Israel is a
wonderful place for love-
making. There is the great
Mediterranean moon.
Love has always been a
great thing in Israel. Is
there a greater love poem
than Solomon's Song of
Songs? He compares his be-
loved to "an army with ban-
ners." What a phrase to
conjure up the excitement
of love.
Mrs. Begin is very proud
of the Israeli army. The
great tragedy of Nazi days,
she told the newsman, was
that the Jews were unable

to fight back. "We don't
hate the Arabs." she told
the reporter. "As long as
you can fight back you can
learn to respect an oppo-
nent. The Nazis just slaugh-
tered us. There was never
an opportunity to fight
The other day President
Carter named Milton Wolf
ambassador to Austria.
When Grover Cleveland
was President, Austria re-
fused to accept the man he
named for ambassador be-
cause this man had a Jew-
ish wife. Austria was also
the native country of Hitler.
There has been a change in
the attitude to the Jew, and
this change I believe is due
to Israel.
In time, -Maybe, the
Arabs will also change
their attitude. The other
day the New York Times
carried a letter from Harry
Goldsmith of Montclair,
N.J. suggesting that Saudi
Arabia invest some of its
surplus billions. which it
seems to have some dic -
culty in spending. in Isi
Mr. Goldsmith may be
exercising his Jewish sense
of humor, but who knows,
some day the Arabs may
take the advice. The great
leader, Feisal, who led the
Arab countries to independ-
ence in World War I, offi-
cially and publicly endorsed

I have always loved the
idea of those pious Jews
who envisaged "the world
to come" as an immense li-
brary, where all the truly
good books written by man
would be available to the
righteous dead.
— Leo Rosten

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