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May 25, 1979 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-05-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

6 Friday, May 25, 1919

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At Least One Jew Is in No Rush to Tour Egypt

By VICTOR BIENSTOCK
To paraphrase the poet,
American Jews rush in
where angels fear to tread.
How else explain what
seems to be the unquencha-
ble desire of American Jews
to rush off to Egypt and the
venality of those American
Jewish organizations which
set up tours for profit in
encouraging our Jews to
rush to the banks of the Nile
to savor "intriguing local
dishes graciously served by
waiters dressed in colorful
turbans and `galibiyas'?"

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It is true, President
Sadat's Egypt has shattered
the pattern of decades and
has formally recognized the
right of Jews to live in
Palestine and the right of
the state of Israel to exist.
He is — as he has properly .
been — applauded for fi-
nally coming to recognize
those rights and for acting
on that recognition.
So we have today a legal
state of peace between
Egypt and Israel for the first
time since the State of Israel
was proclaimed. But make
no mistake about it: that
legal declaration of a state
of peace does not auto-
matically mean that gener-
ations of Arab anti-Jewish
feeling, if not hatred, has
been removed with the
stroke of a pen or that we
can bask in the reflected
atmosphere of warm
Egyptian-Israeli friend-
ship.
With care, and delicate
regard for the sen-
sitivities of people, that
friendship may bloom in
time — but that time is not
yet.
It may be . that I am too
long remembering and too
slow in forgiving. Just as I

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have never been able to
forget the Germany of de-
cades ago and the
Holocaust and to forgive the
Germans of my generation
who were responsible for
Hitler and all his evils, so I
cannot forget the savage ef-
forts of the Egyptian Army
to destroy the Jews of Pales-
tine in 1948.
Nor can I forget the
treacherous Yom Kippur
attack of 1973 — an action
that, morally, differed in no
way from the Japanese at-
tack on Pearl Harbor which
President Roosevelt de-
nounced as "a day of in-
famy."
I have no animosity
toward the Egyptian people;
I lived among them for two
years and obtained some in-
sight into their difficult
lives. I remember, too, the
hundreds of Jewish families
I encountered there whose
forebears had dwelled in the
land for generations in
peace and harmony with
their neighbors. But, sadly,
too, I remember meeting
many of them years later,
homeless, rootless, de-
spoiled exiles unable to ad-
just to another world.
I hope for the Egyptian
people that peace with
Israel will mean the be-
ginning of the end df the
state of grinding, degrad-
ing poverty which is the
reality for so many of
them.
I. hope that, in time, a
genuine friendship will de-
velop between the people of
Israel and their Arab
neighbors, a peace in which
we as Jews in America will
share. But that time is not
yet, and certainly not in
Egypt.
There is an Egyptian-
Israeli peace treaty, a
legalistic document over
which the legal experts
toiled, which carefully' and

Yiddish Culture
Support Group
Is Established

NEW YORK — A new
organization to promote
Yiddish culture and support
various Yiddish programs
and clubs in Israel has been
established. It will be called
"The League of Friends of
Labor Israel."
The new group will hold
its national founding con-
ference June 9 and 10 at the
New York Sheraton Hotel.
The League of Friends of
Labor Israel will appeal to
folk organizations,
branches of fraternal or-
ders, survivors' groups and
cultural societies.
The group is being or-
ganized on the initiative of
Labor Zionist leaders It-
zhak Korn, chairman of the
World Council for Yiddish
and Yiddish Culture, and
Dr. Berl Frymer, Israeli
representative of the Labor
Zionist movement.

precisely spells out specific
conditions to which the gov-
ernments of Egypt and Is-
rael must adhere. These are
legal conditons, not the re-
lationships of friends. It is a
peace by the book and the
Egyptians, so far, have in-
sisted on adherence to the
text.
The agreement provides
for the return of the entire
Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. In
a gesture, Israel is turning
over the town of El Arish
ahead of schedule. There
are a few Israeli families
there. The Egyptians insist
they cannot remain, even
temporarily, once Egypt
takes over the town.
There is even question
whether the Arabs of El
Arish who have jobs with
the Israelis, will be per-
mitted to cross over the
new line to continue
working at those jobs.
The first Arab state to
voice condemnation of Is-
raeli measures against
Yasir Arafat's terrorists is
Egypt. The call for discus-
sion of Jerusalem's future
by the Arab summit confer-
ence was issued by the
Egyptian government —
which will not be permitted
to attend.
I can understand why
Egypt, despite the peace
treaty, must take a public
anti-Israeli stance and show
the world that it is more
patriotically Arab than
other Arabs. Signing of the
treaty has made Egypt a
pariah among most of its
neighbors and Egypt must
prove itself. I can under-
stand, but I cannot find in it
an indication of a will for
peace.
On my desk is a circular
from a national Jewish
organization which screams
out: "We waited 30 years.
Now, don't wait another
minute." It tells me that

"the historic moment is
now!" and that I must not
delay a moment in making
my reservations for an
Israeli-Egyptian tour which
is now "without a doubt the
newest, hottest, the most
exciting 'in' trip."

It offers me sightseeing
which includes "an an-
cient miracle-a-minute
(the inscrutable Sphinx,
the majestic pyrami
the towering temples
Luxor and Karnak, th
eternal Nile, the Moorish
architecture of Cairo and
the medieval markets
and bazaars (BAR-
GAINS!)." What makes
them believe that bar-
gains are the balm my
Jewish soul needs or that
my haggling for bargains
in the Souk will advance
the cause of Arab-Jewish
amity?
Peace will come some day
between Arab and Jew. It
will develop gradually and
it will come about through
face-to-face meetings of Is-
raeli and Egyptian men and
women who, despite all,
have so much in common,
particularly the suffering
and hardships of the last
three decades. It will not be
advanced by camera-
carrying American Jews
descending in droves on the
Souk, looking for bargains.
American Jews have a
role to perform: it is to be as
supportive as possible of Is-
rael and the Israelis at this
special, crucial moment in
history when they have put
their security if not their
very existence on the line.
We do not help them by
abandoning our dignity and
our self-respect by dashing
off to a country which, for 31
years, considered the term
"Jew" anathema and would
not let us in unless we de-
nied ouriewish origin.

Happy Birthday, Israel!

By MERIAM MARGOLIS

I sing a song of ecstasy,
Your thirty-first I cheer
And join with you to celebrate
Your first, peace-crowned year!

Two thousand years like shifting tide,
Like rootless, drifting sand,
Without the right to nationhood,
Without their own land.

Then, out of the Ghetto fold
The People of The Book
Their dream to make reality,
With courage undertook.

I sing of how these people came
From far ends of the earth
And how with their blood and sweat
Gave dying land rebirth.

Mountains bare they dressed with trees,
The deserts they made bloom.
Swamps they drained and cities built,
And banished blighted gloom.

The foe a hundred million strong,
The world indifferent, cold —
Alone, the Jews of Israel
Maintained their firm hold!
MgellOSI
SEIRS
.
4$A.' „

JEWISH NATIONAL Form

27308 Southfield Rd. 557-6644 r
Southfield, Mich. 48076
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