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July 18, 1986 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-07-18

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



OP-ED



your advertising dollars do better in

Deglamorizing' Israel

THE JEWISH NEWS

Continued from Page 4

Jewish Agency, currently domi-
nated by American fundraising
moguls and efficiency experts, is
increasingly critical of WZO's
mode of operation and would, if
allowed, move to take control of
spme, if not all of WZO's proj-
ects and activities.
While the WZO may, indeed,
require wide-ranging structural
changes to cope with changing
realities, Zionists are under-
standably apprehensive lest the
efficiency-minded, fund raising
oriented personnel of the Jewish
Agency proceed to dilute or dis-
card substantive Zionist-rooted
programs with which they have
only a nodding familiarity.
Has there been a change in
American Jewish attitudes
towards Israel? It does not seem
so, since financial Jewish sup-
port for Israel remains undi-
minished. On a governmental
level, U.S.-Israel relations have
reached a high plateau of cor-
diality and inter-service cooper-
ation.
Does it mean that "chronic"
Jewish critics of Israel are out of
tune with the American Jewish
consensus? Apparently, yes.
However, if this clamorous, carp-
ing is symptomatic of an inci-
pient, but growing, "dis-
enchantment" with Israel,
genuine friends of Israel have
reason to be concerned.
Is Israel a "perfect" society,
immune from criticism, merited
or otherwise? Of course, not., But
it is high time for Zionists and
friends of Israel to scrutinize the
scrutinizers and to examine the
validity of their strictures.
Certain critics find fault with
Israel's policies vis a vis the
Arabs. Yet, Israel's Unity Gov-
ernment is seeking ways and
means to resume the peace-
process. Israeli leaders are not
unmindful of the demographic
dangers inherent in the status
quo and are eager to offer the
Palestinian Arabs full local au-
tonomy consistent with its secu-
rity interests.
Meron Benevenisti, a former
deputy mayor of Jerusalem, con-
tinues to grind out ominous
statistical data designed to shdw
that it is only a matter of time
before the Arab population exp-
losion will overwhelm the
Jewish State from within. Rabbi
Kahane's simplistic solution is
"let's drive the Arabs out." It is
axiomatic, that Israel will de-
velop other, more civilized op-
tions to safeguard its "Jewish-
ness" without resorting to
methods repugnant to Judaism
and contrary to the spirit of Is-
rael's Declaration of Indepen-
dence.
Some critics bemoan the fact
that Israel is no longer an
"elitist" society, that it does not
conform to the prophetic vision
of "nation of priests, a holy
people." Yet those who yearn for
the halcyon days of the late
1940s, when the Israelis dis-
played a unique blend of valor
and idealism, misconceive the
Zionist vision reflected in the
"Ingathering of the Exiles." An
elitist society is incompatible
with the concept of the In-
gathering. The "pressure-

cooking" process designed to
fuse disparate Jewish exiles
from myriad backgrounds and
cultures into a cohesive nation
has only begun. Great strides
have been made to reconcile the
lingering frictions between the
Sephardim and the Ashkenazim,
which some pundits predicted
were irreconcilable. Israel's
Unity Government, contrary to
some dire predictions, has not
become unglued and is charting
a steady course in dealing with
its pressing economic and politi-
cal problems.
The "cold" peace with Egypt is
still in place, the economy is
being slowly but steadily im-
proved and Israel's posture vis a
vis the Arabs has gained belated
understanding and approval in
Washington and other Western
capitals. Israel's overtures to
Third World countries in Africa
and Asia are being slowly but
perceptibly reciprocated; and the
PLO's fortunes are on the wane.
Within a life-span of 38 years,
Israel's record of achievements
is unassailable. To be sure, the
old heroes, the prototypes of the
Palmach, the Haganah and the
Irgun are fading' away, giving
rise to new heroes — the high-
tech scientist, the industrial in-
novator and entrepreneur. But
perhaps the litmus test of Is-
rael's undiminished inner
greatness is its zealous search
for ancient roots, its reverence
for the fallen dead and the mar-
tyrs of the Holocaust and the
superb care and compassionate
treatment it lavishes upon the
wounded and the maimed, vic-
timized in Israel's wars.
Equally remarkable, in spite
of its obsession with things
material and its boisterous, even
strident political fractiousness,
is its uncanny ability to unite in
reaching out to the Ethiopian
exiles of "Operation Moses" and
in demonstrating its boundless
joy and appreciation over the re-
lease of Shcharansky from
Soviet bondage, hailing him as
the paradigm of Zionist fulfill-
ment and redemption.
Israeli philosopher David
Hartman, in describing a phi-
losophy shared by mainline
groups in Israel, summed it up
succinctly: The energy of the
Zionist Revolution should , not
just be channeled into resettling
the land, but also into rebuild-
ing the moral and social fabric
of the Jewish nation. Holiness
exists not only in stones, but in
a way of life."

Princeton Plans
Jewish Center

Princeton (JTA) — Princeton
University plans to establish a
Center for Jewish Life at a cost
of $1.3 million. The Center will
include such things as a
university-run kosher kitchen
and dining hall, chapel, Judaica
library and office space for the
Princeton Hillel Foundation.

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