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'THE 'DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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CANDLELIGHTING AT 6:03 P.M.
VOL. LXXXVII, NO. 1
Purim, the most joyous day of the Jewish year, celebrating the rescue of
Persian Jewry centuries ago from certain destruction, is a holiday whose
meaning rings true each year.
We are all familiar with the story related in Megillat Esther, read in
synagogues this coming Wednesday night and thursday: of righteous
Mordechai and his courageous niece, Queen Esther, and of the wicked prime
minister, Haman, who sought to murder the entire Jewish people because of
his irrational hatred of one Jew.
Unfortunately, the history of anti-Semitism and persecution has
remained relevant through the ages, even to today's headlines. And the
reasons for it remain as irrational as ever. In Ethiopia, the government is
demanding the return of thousands of Ethiopian Jews, now safely in Israel; in
Syria, Jews are unable to live in peace, unable to leave; in the USSR, the
persecution of Jews increases and the gates of emigration are closed.
But the miracle of Purim lives on as well. A Jewish state flourishes in
Israel, proof that there is a safe haven for all Jews who can reach its shores.
The message of Purim is eternal: enemies will seek our destruction, but
the Jewish spirit will prevail. Let us rejoice in praising that spirit and giving
thanks for the miracles that have sustained us.
Fair To Oppressed?
Amidst many problems, Israelis are confronted with the place in their
midst of the emigres from Ethiopia. The Sephardic rabbinate finally granted
them equal status as immigrants. The Ashkenazi potentates surprisingly
demand that the black Jews undergo the rites of conversion.
If there had been doubt regarding the loyalties of the Ethiopian Jews
they surely would have been tested long ago. They did undergo screening and
there was finally reached a decision to welcome them to Israel. When Prof.
Jacques Faitlovitch first discovered them more than 60 years ago they were
the observant people, the Torah dedicated.
Is the new problem facing them due to their being so charcoal black in
skin? If so, then the Ashkenazi rabbinic chiefs must be admonished that
justice to fellow Jews is not based on the color of people's skin. There is a
humanism not to be tampered with, and if pressure from the Diaspora upon
Israeli leadership is necessary on this score, it should be exerted.
Silence Is Damaging
A double anniversary of international interest carried with it a message
of importance. Recently, Raoul Wallenberg reached his 72nd year. The
occasion also marked the 40th anniversary of his incarceration by the
Russians after he completed the mission of rescuing tens of thousands of Jews
who had been marked by the Nazis for the death camps.
Silence in any cause can be very destructive. It was in the era of the
Franklin Roosevelt Administration. It had repetitions in many other tragic
events in history. The Raoul Wallenberg lesson is that there can never again
be silence when civilization is threatened and the human spirit is agonized.
Will Similar Problems
Join Arabs And Israel?
BY ISAAC CHARCHAT
Special to The Jewish News
The restoration of U.S.-Iraq rela-
tions offers a new opportunity for pro-
gress toward Middle East peace based
on an old principle: enlightened self-
interest. Washington and Baghdad
renewed diplomatic ties despite their
mutual antipathy. Iraq needs help
from the West in its war against the
Iranians. The United States needs to
build a bloc of Arab states that reject
A little-known episode of Middle
East history, going back almost 60
years, underscores how even tradi-
tional opponents can work together
against a common enemy.
In 1925, I was among a group of
several thousand Jews who left East-
ern Europe bound for Palestine. At
every step of the way, the British op-
posed us, determined that we never
reach the promised land. • Our only al-
lies were the Egyptians.
Like the Jewish settlers in what
was then British Mandatory Palestine
the Egyptians were struggling to rid
themselves of British rule and create
an independent state. Four thousand
years of history had bound the Egyp-
tian people into a nation; the other
countries of the Middle East were
mere European creations, born of
World War I. Their boundaries were
arbitrary, drawn by Western politi-
cians with little knowledge of or re-
gard for the cultural realities of the
London's political strategy repre-
sented an attempt to cultivate British
institutions on desert soil and to create
a loyalty to British interests where
none existed. It was to oppose this ef-
fort that Jews and Egyptians worked
together in 1925. Both had a sense of
identity and common goals of sover-
Isaac Charchat is a Swedish-born
businessman and author.
eighty and independence. So when our
ship carrying illegal Palestine-bound
Jewish immigrants landed its human
cargo in the Egyptian port of Alexan-
dria, the refugees were taken off clan-
destinely with the help of Egyptian
authorities and spirited into Palestine
Just as it was a mutual interest in
shaking off British rule that impelled
Egyptians to cooperate with Jews
The threat of Khomeini's
fundamentalism may be
strong enough to move
Jordan, Iraq and Saudi
Arabia to make their own
peace with Israel.
seeking a homeland in Palestine over
60 years ago, so it was a common con-
cern over the danger of Soviet entry
into the Middle East peace process
that led President Sadat to make his
historic flight to Jerusalem (and Israel
to receive him enthusiastically) in
1977. Today, the threat of Khomeini's
fundamentalism may be strong
enough to move Jordan, Iraq and
Saudi Arabia to make their own peace
An overriding fear of the further
spread of the Iranian revolution in the
Moslem world was a major factor in
the renewal of diplomatic relations not
long ago between Egypt and Jordan.
Considering Jordan's close and
longstanding ties with Iraq (among
other reasons, both of them hate and
fear Syria), Baghdad may well follow
King Hussein in re-establishing ties
with Cairo. Similarly, Saudi Arabia
and the Gulf Emirates, which share
the fear of Khomeini's fanatic regime
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