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October 18, 1985 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-10-18

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, October 18, 1985 19.

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Avraham Burg: Not his father's son when it comes to political
views.

prehensive approach is needed
to examine "what does it mean
today to be a Jew as an indi-
vidual and what does it mean to
be part of the Jewishpeople. The
real question is not who is a
Jew, but rather what is a Jew"
(Burg's' emphasis).
In keeping with his pluralistic
approach to dealing with the is-
sues, Burg is ready to talk to
anyone and everyone who is
'ready to talk to him — "even
those who disagree with me."
He meets with visitors from all
the Diaspora organizations in-
cluding UJA, Federations,
World Jewish Congress, and he
also holds regular sessions with
organizational representatives
in Israel.
Among those who come : to see
him, says Burg, '-`there are those
who love me and there are those
who, because of my political
stands, think I'm a traitor and
cannot understand what I am
doing in the government."
Others "come to see whether I
have moved toward the estab-
lishment or the establishment
has moved toward me," he says,
noting "maybe it is anillusion,
but I think it's the second one."
"Diaspora Jewry is not yet
used to the idea that something
has changed in Israel," asserts
Burg." It is not the same' min-
, try it was for the last'. seven
years."
"Some people who :disagree
with me are nice because of my
title. But they have to under-
stand that for me, what I repre-
sent and what I am is the
same." Even in the establish-
ment organizationsi . -BFg sees

"cracks in the homogenous
facade — new voices, new initia-
tives. It is between those cracks
I want to go in," he says. "I'm
sure that some day they will be
persuaded that my opinions are
the right ones."
In Israel, 50 percent of the
population is already persuaded,
says Burg. "When we started
rallying about the social effects
of the war in Lebanon, we were
only 20 people. Now everyone is
speaking my language. We suc-
ceeded in persuading 'half the
Israeli population in three
years.' In another three years,
we'll persuade the second half —
no problem," he asserts confi-
dently.
Meanwhile, Burg considers
himself fortunate that the issues
with which he is now directly
concerned have a national con-
sensus. .:Everyone agrees 'some-
thing needs to be done about
Soviet Jewry and assimilation.
The only differences might be
how to go about it."
"One thing I have to re-
member is that- I'm not the
Prime Minister. The title of ad-
viser invites images of secret
connections, 'a man of- power.
But in this position, I can only
be part of the process of
decision-making."
-As for the future, that may be
a different story. Burg enjoys
being part of the political scene
and • plans to stay. He has al-
ready declared that he intends
to run for a K.nesset seat some
time in the future.

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