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December 04, 1987 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-04

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

CONTENTS

OPINION

Fund Raisers' Bid For Control
A Threat To Israeli Democracy

RABBI ARTHUR HERTZBERG

I

n a century marked by the bloody
failures of great revolutions, the
Zionist enterprise stands out as the
model of a successful social and political ex-
periment. Starting from scratch, Zionism
recreated a sovereign state in the ancient
homeland of the Jewish people, revived and
modernized a language and a culture,
created a multi-faceted and original
economy and a highly efficient defense
system, rescued Jews from a condition of
powerlessness, refashioned a strategy for
Jewish survival and gave Jews around the
world hope for the future.
Key among the many factors that con-
tributed to this success was the ability of
the Jewish people to unite around a com-
mon agenda, overcoming different visions,
commitments and loyalties. Without the

Akiva Lewinsky: Victim of a hostile takeover?

Jews who lived and struggled in Israel, no
amount of support from Diaspora Jews
would have helped; but without that
diplomatic, financial and moral support
from abroad, Israelis would have experi-
enced a much more difficult time of it.
Zionism led not only to the establishment
of the Jewish State but to the consolidation
of a constructive relationship among Jews
all over the world.
Today the very real achievements of a
global partnership in Jewish life is
threatened by a shift in the balance of
power between Israel, the central theater
of Jewish life, and the American Jewish
Diaspora. The recent and dubious throw-

Arthur Hertzberg, author of The Zionist Idea and
professor of religion at Dartmouth College, is a
vice-president of the World Jewish Congress and a
delegate, representing Friends of Labor Israel, to
the forthcoming World Zionist Congress.

ing around of their weight by a handful of
fund raisers representing the community
welfare federations in the leadership of the
Jewish Agency violates an important tradi-
tion of Jewish political life, and betrays a
central aspect of the Zionist ethos.
Zionism meant a return to history
through the personal and political action
of the Jewish people. In the current situa-
tion, it is the Knesset and the democrati-
cally-elected Zionist Congress that best ex-
press that tradition, precisely because they
most accurately reflect the political nature
of Israeli society. By intervening in the pro-
cess by which the various factions in the
World Zionist Organization were arriving
at a consensus on direction, policies and
personalities to lead the organization, the
small group of fundraisers has done the
Jewish people a major dis-
service.
Although the fund raisers have the
right to "advise and consent" on the key
officials of the Jewish Agency, the veto that
they cast over the choice of chairman and
treasurer should be seen not in isolation,
but as part of an ongoing struggle for con-
trol of the funds that the Agency spends in
Israel. In this process, the fund raisers have
exercised what amounts to proxy control of
a bloc of minority stock to force a hostile
takeover and impose their will on the un-
tidy and vibrant Jewish democracy. Their
operating principle is that the ability to
give $100,000 or so to the United Jewish
Appeal gives them the right to decide how
the Zionist movement — and thus Israel —
is to shape its internal life.
Akiva Lewinsky was the choice of the
Israeli democratic process as chairman of
the WZO, unanimously elected by over
1,100 members of the central committee of
the Israel Labor Party as their candidate
for the job. He and the policies he
represented were then endorsed by other
Zionist parties, who, together with Labor,
represented a majority of the delegates
elected to the Zionist Congress. It was at
this point that the fund raisers vetoed him.
They do not like him, but that was clearly
no basis for so flagrant an action. So they
charged that he had been chosen in a
political "deal."
To assert that the selection of a can-
didate by delegates representing millions
of Jewish voters is the result of a deal,
while a veto by a small and unelected
group is democratic and responsible, defies
all logic. Worse, it imposes the choice of a
small group of money men on the system
by which the Zionist movement chooses its
leaders. The veto was unjust; it was also
unwise.
In political life, the choice is never bet-
ween the real and the ideal but rather
among alternatives framed by the
parameters of the possible. In the real
Jewish world, to veto Akiva Lewinsky, the
Labor Party's candidate to head the WZO

Continued on Page 10

CLOSE-UP

AIDS Solution?

HELEN DAVIS
Israel's Weizmann Institute may
have discovered another piece
of the AIDS puzzle.

34

Rights Pressure

JAMES DAVID BESSER
The Reagan Administration has been
under steady pressure in advance of
the summit meeting.

50

PROFILE

The Energizer

LISA JACKNOW ELLIAS
B'nai Moshe's new rabbi has
boundless enthusiasm and big plans
and programs for his congregation.

LIFESTYLES

Simplifying Hebrew

58

CARLA JEAN SCHWARTZ
Moshe Polter reaches out
electronically to teach Hebrew
throughout the Jewish world.

76

Just Joking

LILA ORBACH
Shifting his comedy act from stage
to screen is Dennis Wolfberg's goal.

101

YOUTH

Teen
Connection

MIKE ROSENBAUM
A new program
for 7th and 8th
graders has Detroit
teens jumping.

114

Singles In Israel

SIMON GRIVER
Coffee shops and entertainment
set the scene for Israel's singles.

DEPARTMENTS

38
88
98
100
106

109
111
112
118
141

Synagogues
Cooking
B'nai B'rith
Seniors
Business

Engagements
B'nai Mitzvah
Births
Women
Obituaries

CANDLELIGHTING

December 4, 1987 4:43 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

7

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