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July 06, 1979 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-07-06

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

3

20

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,

Friday, July 6, 1919

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

'Israel Must Open Doors to Viets' Action for Jerusalem Urged

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By ALON BEN-MEIR
The Israeli government's
recent decision to accept an
additional 200 Vietnamese
"boat people" (over the 160
who were admitted earlier
this year) was undoubtedly
made on humanitarian
grounds. After all, who
would or should understand
better the plight of the per-
secuted and expelled than
Israeli Jews themselves?

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While Israel's action
came to symbolize what
other nations could and
should do (the thinly popu-
lated, rich Arab countries
such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia,
Algeria and Libya), Israel's
decision ought to be more
than a symbolic gesture.
Israel, as a state created
to offer a refuge for the op-
pressed and persecuted
Jews, must be able and will-
ing to offer a refuge for
many thousands of Viet-
namese whose only "reli-
gion" is sheer survival. If,
for argument's sake, Israel
accepted several thousand
Vietnamese and estab-
lished new settlements in
the northern Galilee (which
is very thinly populated
with Jews), would these
Vietnamese who have been
saved from death ever
change their loyalty? The
basis and the foundation of
Judaism is humanism. Now
that Israel is offered the
opportunity to implement
Judaism in its true sense,
indeed, it must go beyond
symbolism. It must open its
hearts and arms to those
who have seen nothing but
misery, pain and hardship.
I believe that Israel today
has an historic opportunity.
It must seize the opportu-
nity and capitalize on both
its short and long-range im-
plications.
In the short run, Israel
will demonstrate to the
whole world that it is pre-
pared not merely to pay lip
service but to take extraor-
dinary measures for the
sake of humanity. In the
long run, Israel will be able
to help build a community of
Vietnamese who will have
come to the "promised land"
under the auspices and pro-
tection of the Israeli gov-
ernment.
This community will
grow and thrive, learning
Hebrew, developing the
same habits and sharing the
same fortunes and misfor-
tunes as other Israelis. In
short, the Vietnamese will
become an integral part of
Israeli society. Whether
they will maintain their
current religious affilia-
tions or elect to become
Jews will hardly be relev-
ant. There are a number of
minorities in Israel with
different religious affilia-
tions, such as the Druze,
who are staunch supporters
of the state and among its
most loyal citizens.
I maintain that 20,000-
30,000 Vietnamese could
settle in the Northern
Galilee or in the Negev.
These are people with an
agricultural background

who are willing to work, and
work hard. They will be an
asset to Israel, particularly
since that country suffers
from a severe man-power
shortage and is willing to
import workers to perform
various jobs in agriculture
and other farming indus-
tries.
The American experience
is a good measure of this
argument. Almost all of the
more than 250,000 Viet-
namese who have come to
the U.S. during the last sev-
eral years have become 7-
productive, self-sustaining
members of American
society. The very few who
are on welfare (less than 10
percent of the total) con-
sider that to be denfeaning
and are seeking ways to find
employment.

To finance the Viet-
namese in Israel would not
be as complicated as it
might seem at first glance.
Other than direct support
from the U.S., world Jewry
can and will mobilize the
necessary funds. It must be
remembered that if, by Di-
vine decree, 20,000=30,000
Jews were to land in Israel
overnight, the Israelis
would find an adequate
means to cope with such a
"blessing in disguise."
The difference, then, to-
day, is that the boat people
are Vietnamese and not
Jews. Should that by itself
stop the Israeli government
or people from opening their
gates to newcomers when
Israel itself is suffering se-
verely from a population
drought?
The intrinsic truth of
Jewish religion and its
commitment to human
rights and dignity may very
well work as a compelling
force and a reason for many
of these Vietnamese to con-
vert to Judaism. Judaism
has the inherent dynamics
to offer these people exactly
what they are seeking — a
faith in man. There is no
time to be lost if Israel —
and world Jewry — are not
to lose this unique opportu-
nity.
* * *

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TEL AVIV — Bir Zeit

University authorities on
the West Bank say that Is-
raeli military government
officials told them that the
order closing the university
since May will be rescinded
in a matter of days.

Officials said the univer-
sity will_re-open in Sep-
tember, rather than the
usual start of the school

one's hands and nails when
reciting the blessing over
the candle on Saturday
evening (i.e., at the Havdala
service).
Generally speaking it is
assumed that the blessing
over the candles is one of
those blessings which one
pronounces before making
use or enjoying anything in
this world. Thus, one has to
show that he used the light
of the candle for some pur-
pose after pronouncing the
benediction over its light.
One reason for holding up
one's hands to the light is to
be able_ to discern, by means
of the light, the difference
between the fingernails and
the flesh (i.e., something
that could not be discerned
without light).
Another reason is that
one concentrates on one's

year in October, to make up
for the time lost.

Israeli, officials charged
the school with being an in-
stigator of pro-Palestinian
rioting on the West Bank.
School officials said the
graduating class of 93
seniors at the university
completed their course work
in Jerusalem and Ramallah
while the school was closed.

obvious in their growth and
growth is a sign of blessing
(i.e., hoping the new week
will bring the blessing of
growth).

,

If you eat the fruit of the
labor of your hands, you will
be happy and prosperous.

Group, Plans
Workshops

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. —
The inroads that Hindu
cults have made among
Jewish youth has prompted
the Jews For Jews Organ-
ization to schedule a n-a--
tional series of workshops
titled "Jewish Meditation
— The Answer to TM."
Rabbi Rubin R. Dobin,
national head of Jews for
Jews announced that Dr.
Chaim Rosen, noted an-
thropologist and expert on
Hindu Cultism will lead the
workshops.
For information on spon-
soring a local workshop,
contact Rabbi Dobin, PO
Box 6194, Miami Beach,
Fla. 33154.

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Viets Compared
to Nazi Refugees

NEW YORK — Philip
Klutznick, president of the
World Jewish Congress,
last week compared the Vie-
tnamese "boat people" to
the boat loads of Jewish ref-
ugees who fled the Nazis.
Klutznick said the plight
of the boat people should be
the urgent concern of the in-
ternational community.

RABBI BERKOWITZ

so as to show to all that the
Jewish people have a real,
actual stake in Jerusalem.
What a tremendous victory
it would be for us to see the
planting there of a
minimum of one million
trees, meaning one million
American Jewish links with
the universal Jewish capi-
tal."

Havdala Blessing Ritual Explained
It is customary to look at flingernails because they are



Bir Zeit U. Will Re-Open

Your White House Deserves Olympic

NEW YORK — Rabbi
William Berkowitz,
president of the Jewish Na-
tional Fund, recently issued
a statement calling on Jews
everywhere to "stand up for
Jerusalem."
Concerned that re-united
Jerusalem will be the next
battle in the Israeli-
Egyptian peace negotia-
tions, Rabbi Berkowitz said:
"I believe it is the sacred
duty of American Jewry to
become the vanguard for
Jerusalem and stand up and
declare the truth about her.
Moreover, if we truly love
Jerusalem, then we must
begin now and not wait
until the last minute.
"My suggestion is for a
three-pronged program
of information, involve-
ment and identifica-
tion ...
"Let each and every
American Jewish family
plant a tree in the Holy City

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THE OPENING OF THEIR SECOND LOCATION

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