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November 05, 1982 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-11-05

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2 Friday, November 5, 1982


Purely Commentary

Confessionals ... :
Misjudging Love Affairs,
Distrusting the Historical

In the lengthened history of the oft-defined miraculous
rebirth of Israel, sentiments clashed, Israelis, Diaspora and
statehood fell under judgment.
Christians affiliated with Jews in glorying in the ful-
fillment of Prophecy. Israel was that symbol.
Differing opinions nevertheless remained the order of
the day. Jews flocked to Israel as tourists, and Christians
often outnumbered Jews as pilgrims to the Holy Land.
The impression attained was that Israel was a rallying
center for Jews who visited the histdric homeland and to
take pride in it. Yet, to this day, surprisingly, perhaps
shockingly, less than 10 percent of American Jews have
visited Reborn Israel.
In that process, in the developing decades, criticisms
were heard. To the credit of Jews everywhere they never
In the opinions expressed, it has often been heard that
Jews do not understand the Israelis. Similarly, there were
the distressed who complained that Israelis were not aware
of the devotion-of American Jews. Many Israelis preferred
not to be called Jews and only wished to be identified as
Israelis. And there were those who, while admitting the
inspiration that spelled kinship, failed to be respectful to
their fellow Jews.
Now comes a responsible journalist who registers a
complaint for worldwide consumption. Amos Kenan, the
noveliSt and political columnist of the responsible Israel
Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot, aired his views in the New
York Times Op-Ed Page (Oct. 26), in an essay entitled
"Smothering Israel."
Who is "smothering?" They are the Jews of America,
who, "like all Jewish mothers, loves her only child, Israel,
very much. What she doesn't know, and doesn't want to
know or hear about, is that she is smothering that child
with her love, drowning him in her tears of joy and pity,
killing him at her maternal breast."
Is it possible that the reality of Israel is so bleakly
existent? Is American Jewry — and the judgment is appli-
cable to all Jews — such a misguided folk that it denigrated
kinship and subdues the human factor in historic con-
Kenan and his saddening opinion that approaches bit-
terness must be confronted on the basis of views in which he

As long as you Americans help us to stand up,
we Israelis have no chance to stand on our own
feet. We have no -chance to have peace as long as
you support us in war. We have no chance to
straighten out out relationships with our
neighbors as long as you help us forget that they,
too, are legitimate children of humanity and that
they, too, have legitimate rights.
How can we hope to learn to survive as long as
you keep us artifically alive?
Please, leave us alone. Abandon us, at least
for a while. Give us a chance.
There is something weird and monstrously
unreal about a hero who is shooting with both
hands while kneeling like a beggar. It's unpleas-
ant to watch a stripteaser showing his wounds,
then making the rounds with his hat. What a
humiliating performance: Israeli generals shak-
ing hands for money and Israeli Knesset members
and ministers and prime ministers boasting while
whining, wagging their tails while baring their
teeth .. .
Welfare, like many other expressions of noble
intentions, has a seed of corruption in it. You
might, at first, accept charity because you really
need it. But if you don't stop accepting it the very
moment you can make a living on your own —
even a modest living — then you lose your soul
and with it the chance to get off the welfare rolls.
Welfare can corrupt in more than one way, in
more than one direction, affecting the benefactor
as well as the recipient. The recipient loses all
control of money received and money distributed,
while the benefactor must shoulder the kind of
power that creates and dominates a docile, pass-
ive people.
Welfare is a gift from one organization to an-
other — and an organization, whatever the origi-
nal idea, tends to take on an organizational life of
its own. In this case, the benefactor organization
became an octopus that had to grow more and
more tentacles, to be able to catch more and more
fish, to feed the recipient — an ever hungrier
At the same time, the Jewish lobby becomes
more and more lobby, less and less Jewish. There
is nothing Jewish — as I understand the word —
about Jewish American leaders who support
Menahem Begin. Of course, these leaders are
self-imposed. But that is only a small part of the

When an Israeli Comes to U.S. to Needle Jewish
Leadership With Innuendos Charging 'Smothering
of Israel,' It's Time - to Test the Critic's Sense

problem. The more important thing is that they
have lost their soul.
In supporting despicable Israeli actions, they
create a new fact for American Jewry — an ex-
ceedingly ugly face. And by their support, they
also help Israel to live with its own ugly new face.

Is there anyone, anywhere, who would not be stunned
by this protocol? Is it conceivable that in time of crisis,
when there is need for amity and self-respect, that an Is-
raeli would emerge to stab his kinfolk and his nation so
Who smothers Israel? Is it the enemy who envisioned
the Mediterranean for drowning the Halutzim and his suc-
cessors and those who would make sure a disaster possible?
Or is it those who are boats of rescue and fortresses of
protection, the endangered protectors of Israel?
Reborn Israel, like the People Israel, has never been
without crises. They existed, exist, continue. In that com-
plex, there are differing attitudes. There are the loyal who
glory in Redemption, in the Fulfillment of Prophecy; there
are the patient who await the Messiah and portray hatred
in the miniscule numbers of Neturei Karta; there are the
peaceniks and the creators of arsenals. There is also the
In the legacy is embodied the aspiration to end
Jewish homelessness. These are the hopeful who see in
Israel an assurance of the morality that has not become a
challenge to devotion and loyalty to traditions.
The latter is more important than the differing view. It
is the selfless, the idealism, the hope for a better society, for
a better world, and while the faithful proclaim "Out of Zion
shall come forth the Law," there is the overwhelming
"Tziyon b'Mishpot Tipode" — "Zion shall be redeemed with
The moment these inspirations and ideals are aban- -
doned, the structures begin to collapse. But Jewish history
doesn't permit it.
Why, therefore, build on smothering when the em-
brace is so real, so vital!?!
What the Yediot Ahronot political expert wrote does
not contribute to unity, to cooperation, to mutual respect. It
is divisive at all times, but especially in time of crisis. It is

Direct and Plain Talk:
Treating Realism Sensibly

By Philip

Against whom would the wrath be turned?
Against whom the demands and demonstrations?
Upon whom would the United Nations place re-
sponsibility for receiving and absorbing the refu-
gees? Whom would the European Community
Yes, we Israelis would be the guilty ones, and
we would be expected to correct this "injustice."
We would be required to prove our dedication to
true peace in the Middle East by opening our
gates to the refugees who have nowhere to go.
We would be exposed to pressures, censure
and sanctions if we claimed that we have already
paid the price, already made all the possible sac-
There is a wide range of political outlooks in
Israel but only one physical reality — and it re-
mains unchangeable. Some people believe, as do
I, that the land of Israel is indivisible, and that it
belongs to the Jewish people.
Some support Menahem Begin's plan for au-
tonomy in Judea and Samaria and Gaza; others
advocate Palestinian self-government under
Jordanian patronage; yet others look to a Pales-
tinian state side by side with a state of Israel - with-
in its pre-1967 borders.
But whatever their views, all Israelis recog-
nize the fact that Judea, Samaria and Gaza cannot
possibly absorb the dispersed Palestinians who
may wish to realize their right to return.
There is only one place in the Middle East
where a problem of this scale can be solved— and
this is true whether or not Judea and Samaria are
eventually attacked to Jordan. Only in- the
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with its 35,000
square miles and a population of three million, is
it possible to absorb, with suitable investment
and planning, additional hundreds of thousands
or even millions of people.
Only in Jordan is there now a majority of
Palestinians, linked by family ties to the Palesti-
nians dispersed in the neighboring countries.

And thus only there can the local Arabs be ex-
pected not to harry and give a cold shoulder to
their brothers who have come to join them.
As•long as this basic fact is not recognized in
Washington, the Reagan plan will remain one
more exercise in wishful thinking.
Will such appeals to reason fall on deaf ears and be
rejected blindly? Hopefully, the new Reagan calls for direct
talks and the available solutions will be accepted. Perhaps
the road is truly being paved with genuine peace aims.
* * *

So much confusion is related to the Middle East events
that they have been treated with hopelessness. Instead of
realism there is tragedy. Rather than confront facts prag-
matically, Israel's role is bathed in hatreds.
When Arafat was still playing the role of a monarch in
Lebanon during the demands that he leave the country
whose horrors are attributable to the terror he brought to it
more than a decade ago, he and his cohorts kept saying, Yitzhak Rabin's Mission
"We'll leave, we'll go back home, to Palestine." There must
Visits to this community by Israelis are not novelties.
have been many who were hoodwinked by such bravado.
Many come here with messages intended to strengthen the
How many stopped to measure it by its proper status?
Diaspora-Israel partnership. The approaching visit here of
It doesn't matter that there are very few, in proportion
former Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has added
to what is now the numbers the refugees have exploded into
importance. As former Chief of Staff who directed the ac-
while being denied havens by their own coreligionists.
tivities curing the Six-Day War and afterward as Israel
What the PLO bravado meant was that they were planning
Prime Minister, he is steeped in knowledge about Israel's
to go into Israel, to take over and to dominate, to restore the many roles. Therefore, he is expected to have viewpoints on
name Palestine and end the revived Israel.
the current situation based on earlier experiences.
The intention; of course, and it continues as PLO pol-
In view of the antagonisms that have developed in
icy, is the end of the Jewish state. Is it sensible?
recent years, most of them based on the antagonism to
Even the stupidest would not - continue to say, "We are Menahem Begin, it is necessary to note that Rabin has been
going into Israel, We'll drive all Jews into Tel Aviv and
and seems to remain moderate in his treatment of the Israel
reduce the Jewish state into that Jewish city."
party in power. He is in the opposition and is a leading
If the Arab nations had cooperated and shared in pro- contender for the Israeli prime ministership, emerging
viding homes for their kin, by means of direct negotiations, much more popular in the public polls than Shimon Peres.
the problems might have been averted. If King Hussein of Therefore, his visit here is without the negatives involved
Jordan cooperates now, the solution may be at hand.
in both public relations and politics.
Sidney Zion properly assessed the matter by indicating
The occasion for Rabin's appearance here is to advan -ce
that "Jordan IS Palestine" (see The Jewish News, Oct. 15).
the cause of the Technion, Israel's and the Middle East's
Shmuel Schnitzer, editor of the Israel Hebrew daily leading scientific center. That's the basic significance of
Maariv, also took the aggravating issues into account. He
such a visit by an eminent Israeli leader. The cause he
treated the problems with respect, listing the Arab griev-
comes to aid is vital and therefore of major importance in
ances, and in a NYTimes OP-Ed Page essay ("Jordan as a the anticipated Nov. 11 event.
Palestinian State") confronted the "Palestine home"
threat. Commentary and fact, offered by Schnitzer, will,
hopefully be widely shared and will be treated with the
respect it deserves. He declares:

Rebbe's Birthday Is Noted

We fear that the Palestinian problem would
not disappear with the signing of an agreement on
the lines of the Reagan plan. Rather, it would
change its form, and would almost certainly be-
come more acute.
The Arab host countries could be expected to
invite the refugees to pack their bags and "go
home." This of course would be mockery, for no
such "home" exists.
But such a mockery could soon become ex-
tremely dangerous, accompanied as it would be
by strident proclamations that "someone" was
responsible for the fact that there was no place for
the Palestinians in their homeland — the someone
who had driven them out of the places where they
and their forefathers had lived.

President Ronald Reagan met with a Lubavitch
delegation on Oct. 22 in recognition of the 80th birth-
day of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the "National Day
of Reflection" declared by Congress in honor of the
Rebbe's birthday.

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