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December 19, 1980 - Image 61

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-12-19

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Tiny Settlement Survives Obstacles
With Aid Provided by Jewish Agency


United Jewish Appeal

TAL EL, Israel — Tal El
is a foothold, a pre-
settlement or mitzpe, in an
area of Israel — rich in cen-
turies of Jewish history —
where Arabs outnumber
Jews by eight to one.
Tal El has no school, no
medical facilities, no tele-
phone lines. A crude rocky
road is the only way in or
out. A heavy rain can rear-
- range the barren landscape,
and the wind is ceaseless.
The only housing available
is small temporary shelters,
and, because of severe cuts
in the Jewish Agency
budget this year, there is no
guarantee a permanent set-
tlement will ever be estab-
lished. Life here tends to get
rctduced to its most basic


his tiny, isolated and
vulnerable community is
typical of the new settle-
-ments developing in the
Galilee. The terrain and liv-
ing conditions are forebod-
ing, and the threat of attack
by terrorists is as much a
part of life here as the trip
commuting residents make
to their jobs each day —
some as long as four hours
— and nightly civilian
guard patrols.
Yet this year alone the
Jewish Agency has re-
ceived 1,400 applications
from prospective
pioneers — most of them
city dwellers — who are
willing to give up virtu-

ally everything known in of arable land and of
their lives for the uncer- practical farming experi-
tainty and .physical dan- ence among Jewish
gers of life on 30 new settlers proved too great
mitzpim proposed for de- an obstacle. In two de-
velopment over the next cades alone the Arab
three years.
population trebled.
Some new Galilee settle-
Throughout the 1960s
ments like Tal El have at- and 1970s Israel attempted
tracted recent Soviet a different approach,
emigres; others, young Sab- encouraging the establish-
ras who are leaving the ment of moshavim based on
cities for a different way of light industry rather than
life. Still others are popu- agriculture. But those set-
lated by new pioneers from tlements proved extremely
England, South Africa, costly to maintain, inter-
Canada and the United vening wars further
strained an already over-
The first modern era set- burdened economy, and
tlement was established at progress in the region was
Rosh Pina in 1878, and was slowed.
Today a new decade has
followed by a dramatic in-
crease in population brought a new plan to de-
through the 1920s and velop 30 mitzpim linked to
1930s. German Jews fleeing 14 major permanent set-
Nazism established the first tlements, virtually all with
Jewish settlement in the 'industrial economies, and,
western Galilee in 1934, perhaps most significantly,
populated by a new breed of
and others soon followed.
But after the War of Inde- pioneer who is equipped
pendence, although the with both the skills and the
Galilee was under Israeli experience to make the plan
control, a demographic and a reality.
ecological shift began which
eventually led to Arab pre- Weizmann
dominance in the area. Re- Steps Up Fight
turning Arabs violated an
agreement with the Israeli Against Hunger
government not to use ara-
ble land for building homes, dian project that will permit
and their flocks grazed Israel's Weizmann Institute
fields intended for agricul- of Science to step up its con-
tributions, to the fight
Israel tried to stem this against hunger — The Mel-
tide in the 1950s with a vyn A. Dobrin Center for
new group of settlements Nutrition and Plant Re-
in the area, but shortages search — was inaugurated
last month.
The Dobrin Center will
coordinate all
agriculturally-related re-
search currently under way
man, vice president of the at the Institute and serve as
Washington, D.C. chapter, a clearing-house for the in-
got together and thought it itiation of new investiga-
would be a masterful idea to tions in this area. Activities
make the Hall of Fame an undertaken by the Center
international affair. Con- will include basic research
sequently, a meeting was into the physiology and
called for last October and genetics of plants, as well as
was held in Israel. Out- such applied projects as the
standing Israel sports ad- breeding of more nutritious
ministrators from their wheat, and of higher-
Olympic Committee were in yielding and hardier barley,
attendance with Siegman,
castor beans, cucumbers
Sherman and this writer.
and melons. The biological
effects of extensively-used
We met several times and
pesticides and fungicides
came up with a plan which will also be studied.
calls for the erection of a
Physical Hall in the build-
UJA Establishes
ing now under construction
New Gifts Plan
at the Wingate School of
Physical Education in
Natanya. Sherman was United Jewish Appeal has
announced the establish-
selected as the Founders
Chairman and is busily ment of a national new gifts
engaged in securing funds program to assist com-
munities across the country
for the building.
The top floor of the three in identifying, motivating
story building will hold and successfully soliciting
busts, pictures, and members of non-giving
memorabilia of the selec- Jewish households. Miriam
Cantor of New York will
tees to the Hall of Fame.
Siegman is the first serve as new gifts program
chairman of the Executive director:
Committee. I was voted
chairman of the Selection Yeshiva
Committee which will ulti-
mately be staffed by 11 vot- yeshiva at Maalot Yaakov,
ing members around the under the sponsorship of
Yeshivot Bnei Akiva in Is-
Plans call for any of the 19 rael, was recently named
selectees, available to be Kiryat Merkin in honor of
brought to Israel for an in- Hermann Merkin, chair-
duction ceremony which man of the board of the
will take place during the American Friends of
Maccabia Games next July. Yeshivot Bnei Akiva.

Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
Originated on the West Coast


(Copyright 1980, JTA,

Joseph Siegman, of Hol-
lywood, Calif., credited with
being the originator of the
"trash sport" TV programs,
decided that it was time for
a Jewish Sports Hall of
Fame. As one of the board of
directors of the U.S. Com-
mittee Sports For Israel,
Siegman thought it would
be a good project for the
West Coast chapter to get
involved in a Jewish Hall of
Two years ago Siegman
got started with this pro-
gram and circulated ballots
among the board of the U.S.
Committee Sports For Is-
rael, numbering some 50
men and women, for candi-
dates to the suggested hall.
In due time a dinner was
held on the West Coast in
Iiich the first batch of
Jectees, including some of
the top names of all time
'ike Nat Holman, Benny
iedman, Barney Ross and
others were selected. This
past July a second installa-
tion was held, at which Ike
Berger, Al Rosen, Ron Mix
of football fame, and many
others, including the
daughter of the late Barney
Dreyfus, one of the founders
of the National Baseball
League, were installed.
Shortly after the second
annual dinner, a group of
the U.S. Committee Sports
For Israel people headed by
Siegman and Alan Sher-

Friday, December 19, 1980 61

Egypt Jewry Surviving—Barely


World Zionist Press Service

We are accompanying Is-
rael's President Yitzhak
Navon to the Shaar
Hashamayim Synagogue in
As we travel through
streets lined with white uni-
formed policemen and secu-
rity guards, thousands of
years of Jewish history pass
over us. Egypt where the
Septaugint was produced,
where Maimonides wrote
his famous works, where
Jewish scholarship and
learning thrived, and where
Jews lived and died in their
hundreds of thousands over
the centuries. Now it is hard
to imagine a Jew with a
kipa and talit in the land of
the Pyramids, tomb worship
and Sadat politics; or that
there once flourished a
prosperous Jewish commu-
nity of a million souls here.
Shaar Hashamayim
Synagogue is a magnifi-
cent structure, but it is
under repair. Past the
scaffolding and mortar
we get to a small area
crowded to capacity. The
Jews of Egypt have
turned out in full force,
all 150 of them, including
Israel Embassy person-
nel and visitors.
President Navon greets
his audience in beautiful
Present at the synagogue
reception are leaders of the
Alexandria Jewish commu-
nity and an 18-year-old stu-
dent at Cairo University,
Michael David. His brother,
he said, is engaged to the
only Jewish girl of mar-
riageable age in Cairo. He
too, hopes to marry a Jewish
girl. He may have to seek
her in Israel, he admits.
A 10-year-old girl is sea-
ted with her grandfather.
She is dressed in white chif-
fon, as are the little girls we
had seen serving as brides-
maids at the weddings we
witnessed at our hotel.
Caroline Salleh is probably
the youngest Jewish child
in Egypt. There are only two
other children under the
age of 15 and three more
under 20 we are told.
There is no kosher
butcher here. A Moslem
has been taught to
slaughter the chicken ac-

Crime Increases

Police statistics showed
that crime in Israel in-
creased' by 8.1 percent in
1979. Included was a 20 per-
cent increase in serious
Police handled 230,622
criminal cases in 1979.
Police manpower dropped
900 in 1979 from the 1978
level of 17,251.

Israel's First Lady, Ophira Navon, center, meets
members of the Jewish community in Cairo's Shaar
Hashamayim Synagogue. On her right is her hostess
Mrs. Zakki, wife of Egypt's Minister of 2.ndustry.

cording to ritual,. Victoria
Agam a 64-year-old mid-
wife tells us. Victoria has
just returned from a visit
to her sister in Haifa. No,
she would not like to join
her in Israel. She likes
her home, is used to the
habits of her community
in Egypt.
On Pesach, she, as other
Jews in Egypt, gets matzot
from Israel and the U.S. and
can celebrate the holiday.
They fast on Yom Kippur,
attend services in the
synagogue other times.
At the Great Synagogue
in Alexandria, an impres-
sive structure, erected for
the more than quarter of a
million Jews who had once
resided there, we find a
large group of tourists. They



are Israelis and Jewish vis-
itors interested as I am in
seeing something of Jewish
life here. The courtyard and
magnificent interior are
impressive. The rabbi is 95
years old and frail, the
shammes also past 80.
Later, at Alexandria's
Greco-Roman Museum, a
treasure house of splendid
monuments, statues,
chariots, arts and inscrip-
tions representing the glory
of the period, we caught
sight of a stone with famil-
iar carvings. It was a
tombstone with Hebrew in-
scription, too faded to read.
We could only make out the
word Matzeva. We looked
for others and found other
Hebrew relics in the
museum's courtyard.

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No 'Man of Year'

The Public Opinion Re-
search Institute reported
that no Israeli was selected
"Man of the Year" by the Is-
raelis this year. President
Yitzhak Navon received the
most votes with only 17.1
percent of those polled.
Prime Minister
Menahem Begin finished
second with 10.1 percent.

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