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December 12, 1986 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-12-12

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

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Two Views Of Youth
In Today's Israel

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ON NORTHWESTERN

VICTOR M. RIENSTOCK

Special to The Jewish News

PLATINUM

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West German official
bemoans the fact that
Israeli youth — the
third generation — seems at
times "tired of its own his-
tory" and that many of them
do not bother to u _ nderstand
what motivates German
youth who visit Israel in in-
creasing numbers to seek the
key to understanding their
own national history and the
Holocaust.
An Arab student of Middle
East affairs finds that with
the decline of the Arab mili-
tary threat, Israel, dead-
locked politically, is engaged
in a profound internal strug-
gle to determine the nation's
identity and its ultimate im-
age. He likens many aspects
of the debate to the conflicts
within the Arab world.
These are but two of the
many diverse impressions life
in the minds of observers by
Israel and particularly by to-
day's Israeli youth that are
being revealed here and
abroad. They arise whenever
Israelis seriously discuss the
reasons why so mamy Israelis
— particularly the younger
ones — leave Israel for homes
elsewhere. According to the
Central Bureau of Statistics,
some 380,000 Israelis will be
living abroad by the end of
this year — better than 10
percent of the Jewish popula-
tion.

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44

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Friday, December 12, 1986 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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A German View
Rita Sussmuth, West Ger-
man minister of youth and
family affairs, is a strong ad-
vocate of German-Israel
youth exchange programs.
About 7,000 young Germans
visit Israel each year with
federal assistance provided in
programs she administers.
About 13,000 more go to Is-
rael on their own, or with
sports clubs, choirs or church
groups. Additionally, a
number of young German
volunteers are doing social
work in Israel as an alterna-
tive to conscription. About
3,000 young Israelis visit
West Germany each year .
Sussmuth believes strongly
that the youth tours to Israel
should be encounters with
history for their participants.
"Memories of this era of fail-
ure (the Holocaust)," she
says, "must be kept alive and
handed on to maintain
awareness of breaks in his-
tory and of the historic lesson
that crimes against the
Jewish people were not in-
evitable but committed by
people and that people could
have prevented them."
But, she told Die Zeit, lead-
ing German daily, it is stead-
ily growing more difficult to
establish the link between
then and now and to main-
tain the special significance
of the German-Israeli youth
exchange as compared with

German youth exchanges
with other countries.
Some of the German youth,
she said, had gone to Israel
with too sparse a knowledge
of history and had been
shocked by what they heard.
Israel's third generation on
the other hand, she noted, "is
at times tired of its own his-
tory. Unlike Jewish emigres,
young Israelis learn only the
worst aspects of Germany
and German history.
"They may not be hostile,"
she added, "but they are de-
tached. It is as though they
wonder: 'Why does it have to
be Germany?' or 'Must I have
a German as a friend?' They
frequently fail to understand
what impels young Germans
to come to Israel in search of
answers.
The German Youth Insti-
tute in Munich and the Hen-
rietta Szold Institute in
Jerusalem have begun to re-
view exchange arrangements
to ensure better contacts be-
tween the German and Is-
raeli youth. A German-
financed youth hostel is being
built on Lake Tiberias as a
center and group leaders are
to be given special training
and instruction in Hebrew.
Plans for next year include
having jobless young Ger-
mans live and work on a kib-
butz.
An Arab View
From the possibly slanted
angle from which one Arab
political scientist sees it, the
political deadlock in Israel
with neither major party or
ideological current command-
ing the backing of a decisive
majority is resulting in polit-
ical immobilism and instabil-
ity which affects the very na-
ture of the state.
Israeli politics, says Farid
el-Khazen, a doctoral candi-
date at the John Hopkins
University School of Ad-
vanced International Studies,
"have always been contenti-
ous, but they have never
generated the level of polari-
zation and the accompanying
passion and radicalism that
are evident today."
Unlike the previous pat;
tern of Israeli politics, he as-
serts, all the major strands of
Jewish thought that have
emerged during the evolution
of Zionism have surfaced on
the current political scene at
a moment when no political
party or ideological current
has been able to earn major-
ity support. Unless one or the
other party can obtain the
political and moral support
required to implement its
program, he argues, "Israel
will remain a country lacking
a predominant political
mainstream that can move
society in a clear direction."
Writing in the current
issue of the Carnegie
Endowment's quarterly,
Foreign Policy, el Khazan
says the Israeli political
deadlock stems from "the un-
resolved and perhaps unre-

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