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June 06, 1986 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-06-06

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

19

THE
JEWISH
NATIONAL
FUND
of Detroit

16NISH
110J1CillAL

are worked out. He dismissed the "illusion"
held by Tavin that American Jewish
educators are opposed to teaching about
Israel and Zionism. "The vast majority are
personally committed to Israel and
Zionism and to giving it an important
place in the curriculum."

nother outcome of the
Caesarea Process has been
an undertaking by the phil-
anthropists and federation
leaders involved in the Jew-
ish Agency to actively pro-
mote and support aliya
from western countries, primarily from
North America. The Aliya Commission of
the Caesarea Process set up to implement
this commitment is co-chaired by Irwin
Field of Los Angeles, chairman of the
United Israel Appeal, the channel through
which UJA funds are conveyed to the
Agency.
What does it mean for "non-Zionists" to
support aliya from Diaspora communities
that are not faced with imminent threats
to Jewish life? Does it mean that they have
come to share some of the classical Zionist
pessimism concerning the viability of con-
tinued Jewish existence in the Diaspora?
Not necessarily. It has now become fash-
ionable for federation leaders to promote
aliya, because support for aliya from the
West is coming to be perceived as part of
a federation's general obligation to
strengthen Israel, and to help members of
their community who choose to live in
Israel. Such a move is not regarded as an
act of betrayal or rejection of one's Ameri-
can Jewish roots, but as an act of positive
Jewish fulfillment that deserves communi-
ty support. These federation leaders are
not motivated by the classical Zionist im-
perative to restore the vast majority of the
Jewish people to its homeland, nor by a
sense that American Jewry is doomed.
And this is perfectly understandable given
the amorphous, - non-ideological "pro-
Israel" sentiments common to the great
mass of American Jewry.
As a result of the Caesarea Process, there
are now five North American communities
— Milwaukee, Atlanta, Ibrontc;, Los Angeles
and Miami — which have launched dein
onstration projects to develop models of
community support for aliya. These pro-
jects are intended to go beyond support for
aliya provided since the late 1970s in a
number of North American communities
by Aliya Councils. For the last two years,
however, the project has not progressed
much, mainly because the WZO Aliya De-
partment has not given it priority, nor has
it appointed any senior department official
to be responsible for pushing it.
Los Angeles, however, has not been con-
tent to wait for Jerusalem to point the way,
and has in fact helped point the Aliya De-
partment in a new direction. This new de-

parture, which was recently approved by
the LA federation and the WZO, seeks to
transform the aliya shlichut there along
the lines of the partnership model pioneered
by the community shlichut. The plan seeks
- to integrate the work of the aliya shaliach
based there with community organiza-
tions, primarily the federation. This would
help overcome the aliya shaliach's biggest
problems, which are gaining access to
mainstream community forums and gain-
ing legitimacy for aliya as an option for
Jewish fulfillment.

here are diverse attitudes
within the WZO to greater
"non-Zionist" involvement
in what used to be regarded
as a strictly "Zionist" pre-
serve. Some of the WZO
leaders in Israel are gen-
uinely pleased by this shift in attitudes
and priorities among their Diaspora part-
ners in the Agency, but are not so eager to
undermine their own independent power
base in the WZO. Other WZO leaders in
Israel are ideologically opposed to the en-
tire notion of partnership, whether in the
Agency or the WZO. They believe that the
Diaspora should have an essentially pas-
sive role in these arenas, and should defer
to what they see as the inherent superiori-
ty of the Zionist leadership on issues con-
cerning Zionism and Israel. Such attitudes
are most strongly entrenched among the
leaders of Herut.
All this points to a dilemma for the
WZO. It originally took in the Diaspora
philanthropists as "partners" in the Jewish
Agency, hoping that this would increase

Since the mid 1970s,
the slogan "We are
all Zionists" has in
many ways become a
reality.

contributions, which it did. But it also
made Zionists out of these Diaspora lead-
ers, and made them acutely aware of the
shortcomings of the WZO in carrying out,
its work abroad. Now that the federation
leaders are saying "we can do it better,"
how can the WZO legitimately deny them
the right to try? Having invited the
Diaspora philanthropists to be partners in
the work that the Agency carries out in
Israel, can the WZO spurn the Diaspora
desire to be partners in the work of the
WZO abroad? lb do so might protect the
WZO's short-run political interests, but at
the expense of long-run gains for Israel.

June 20: The attempts of the Reform and
Conservative movements to increase their in-
volvement in Israel and Zionism through the
Agency and WZO.

Part Three

(KEREN KAYEMETH
LEISRAEL) INC.

Invites you to attend the

TESTIMONIAL DINNER

honoring

RABBI M. ROBERT and SONIA SYME

In Recognition of their Spiritual Leadership and many serv-
ices and contributions to the community, to the Jewish
people and to the State of Israel.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 1986

Congregation Shaarey Zedek

27375 Bell Road, Southfield

Cocktails
Dinner

6 p.m.
7 p.m.

General Chairman
ROBERT SOSNICK

Couvert
$125

Dinner Chairman
DAVID B. HERMELIN

Dinner Co-Chairpersons
BARTON M. BERMAN SUE ELLEN EISENBERG
PAUL BORMAN
MILTON J. MILLER
SIDNEY RUBIN

FRANKLIN J. ELL1AS
President
JNF Council of
Greater Detroit

EDWARD ROSENTHAL
Executive Director
JNF Council of
Greater Detroit

For further information and
reservations, please call

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

557-6644

mit

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