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November 16, 1984 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-11-16

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7 y


4 Friday, November 16, 1984



Serving Detroit's Metropolitan Jewish Community
with distinction for four decades.

Editorial and Sales offices at 17515 West Nine Mile Road,
Suite 865, Southfield, Michigan 48075-4491
TELEPHONE 424-8833

PUBLISHER: Charles A. Buerger
EDITOR EMERITUS: Philip Slomovitz
EDITOR: Gary Rosenblatt
BUSINESS MANAGER: Carmi M. Slomovitz
ART DIRECTOR: Kim Muller-Thym
NEWS EDITOR: Alan Hitsky

Marlene Miller
Dharlene Norris
Phyllis Tyner
Pauline Weiss
Ellen Wolfe

Donald Cheshure
Lauri Biafore
Cathy Ciccone
Rick Nessel
Curtis Deloye
Danny Raskin
Ralph Orme
Seymour Schwartz
0 1984 by The Detroit Jewish News (US PS 275-520)

Second Class postage paid at Southfield, Michigan and additional rnalling offices. Subscription $18 a year.



Love's labor lost

Having wooed the Jewish vote at no small expense, and having
discovered that all that courting was superfluous, will the Republican Party
and President Reagan now throw us away like an old shoe? Will they respect
us in the morning? We'll find out soon enough.
It was all so wonderful, the bouquets in Dallas, the bonbons in Los
Angeles, the vows in Washington. But in the cold light of dawn, will the
Administration abandon Israel and favor the Arabs with its attention?
In the pragmatic world of politics, what counts is what works, and if the
White House feels that it can get along without its Jewish constituency, there
will be no more kisses on the stair. On the other hand, 1988's election might
be a closer contest than 1984's. It's something to keep in mind.

Hopes for peace

A Newsweek Periscope item delving into the multi-national concerns
that have muddied the Middle East situation suggested some hope for
encouragement from Syria. It may have been unwise speculating about the
Syrian multiple plotting to reduce Israel's role in that part of the world and
even to plan the nation's destruction. The Newsweek judgment about an
Assad move toward a peace arrangement with Israel suggests:
"After months of stalling, Syrian President Hafez Assad has given a
reluctant blessing to talks that could lead to an Israeli withdrawal from
Lebanon. Previously, Assad had been in no hurry to see the occupation end,
given the casualties and the heavy political and economic costs the Israelis
were incurring.
"During a recent visit to Moscow, however, he asked for but was denied
support for his campaign to break up the newly formed and much-feared
alliance of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. Assad then lifted his objections to
Lebanese-Israeli withdrawal negotiations; with Lebanon free of Israeli
soldiers, Assad believes he would be able to transfer some of his 60,000 troops
and 1,000 tanks in Lebanon to positions closer to his country's border with
It may be too trusting too assume that Syria, still smarting from the
Golan Heights defeat by Israel, would be ready to submit to an accord with the
traditional enemy. But there is the USSR aspect. While Syria depends upon
Russian arms, there are new indications that Assad does not trust the
Russians in all aspects of Middle East involvements.
Then there is the matter of the PLO, the fact that Assad ousted Arafat
from his domains and made it known that he is not only unwelcome in Syria
but unacceptable in Middle East political involvments.
The negotiations over Lebanon may bring to light Assad's true
intentions. It may well be that Syria's rulers have even keener vision about
the future than had Egypt's Anwar Sadat. Perhaps peace is truly in the offing,
despite the animosities that point to Arab extremists' uninterrupted
planning for Israel's annihilation.


Abba Eban's 'Heritage' series
left much room for criticism

Special to The Jewish News

Abba Eban's ambitious television
series Heritage: Civilization and the
Jews, which ended this week on the
more than 270 stations of the Public
Broadcasting Service, deserved much
praise. The photography was lush
(sweeping shots of the Mediterranean
coast), the music was sonorous and
stimulating (especially the blowing of
the shofar) and Eban, as the series'
narrator, was as mellifluous and ele-
gant of speech as he always is.
The problem with the Heritage
series, however, was multi-faceted.
Some of its weakness derived from its
very conception. Trying to reduce the
experience of Jewish civilization to
nine one-hour segments was an au-
dacious exercise and one bound to fail-
Unless one watched the programs
with the special study guide, a kind of
overload effect occured. It was simply
impossible for the average person to
cope adequately with the massive
documentation which Eban tried to
provide the television audience.
The richness of the Jewish histor-
ical saga was such that the attempt to
encapsulate it required oversimplifi-
cation and the omission of vast and
intricate episodes in the Jewish past.
The problem was compounded by
the fact that Jewish history, from its
beginning, occurs in different geo-
graphical spheres and within the con-
text of other peoples' historical de-
velopment. The viewer had the sensa-
tion of watching something on fast
forward as he tried to digest the trans-
national experiences of the Jewish
people. In terms of content, there also
were serious defects in the presenta-
The script which Eban read as the
narrative element in the Heritage
series reflected a view of Jewish his-
tory which combines a secular ap-
proach tinged with the 19th Century
Protestant Christian higher Biblical

bretat . "-<,

criticism orientation — at least in the
early episodes of the series.
Whether or not Eban personally
subscribes to this vision was prob-
lematic; he did utter the commentary
for the program (with his usual ele-
gant diction) and the inference that he
agreed with those words was a legiti-
mate one.
It was lamentable that Eban re-
tailed a theological version of ancient
Jewish history which can only offend
the more traditional elements in mod-
ern Judaism. This was all the more
surprising since Eban reported in a
New York Times interview that con-

It was simply impossible
for the average person to
cope adequately with the
massive documentation.

sultation occurred with the Jewish
Theological Seminary of America in
New York City.
In fact, five Orthodox Jewish
organizations issued a joint statement
objecting to the series. Leaders of the
Reform and Conservative movements,
on the whole, approved of the early
In the first segment, Eban glossed
over the patriarchial sagas of Ab-
raham, Isaac and Jacob and intro-
duced Jewish history with the Egyp-
tian experience, explaining that the
first non-Jewish reference to Jews was
from an Egyptian monument record-
ing the destruction of Israel and the
nullification of its "seed."
Eban's predilection for secular
and critical theories about Jewish ori-
gins insinuated itself in numerous
other sections of the early segments.
He was insistent, for example, that the

Continued on Page 9

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