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March 11, 1988 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-11

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

EDITORIAL

Israel's 40th

The Detroit Jewish community, like others around the country,
is busily preparing a series of events to celebrate the 40th anniver-
sary of the State of Israel.
Indeed, there is much to celebrate. A beacon of light emerging
from the darkness of the Holocaust, Israel has achieved an enormous
level of accomplishment in its first four decades of statehood, serv-
ing as a haven for oppressed Jews from around the world, forging
a democracy out of chaos and fighting for its very survival in a series
of wars against hostile Arab neighbors. Israel is the centrality of
the Jewish people and Jerusalem the focus of our prayers.
And yet, there are those who feel that to mark this anniversary
with music, food and festivities, as planned, while a struggle for
Israel's moral and political soul, if not her survival, is taking place
each day in battles between soldiers and Arab protesters, is deeply
disturbing.
Privately, some Jewish community leaders acknowledge that they
are troubled at how jarring it feels to plan a celebration at a time
of great conflict and stress. Moreover, they are worried about reper-
cussions, protests, criticisms that they are fiddling while Rome burns.
And yet they point out that the events have long been planned and
it would be disastrous to cancel them.
We support with pride the work of the organizations planning
the anniversary celebrations and the events themselves, highlighted
by a dance concert by Inbal at the Music Hall on April 17.
But we believe that celebration is not enough. In addition to the
scheduled events, we urge those involved in planning the festivities
and the leadership of the community, to arrange a series of public
forums designed to educate, enlighten, discuss and debate the cur-
rent uprisings in Israel as well as the historical facts that have led
to this crisis. We owe it to the community at large and to ourselves
to be able to understand and discuss Israel's dilemma — which may
serve to help us all appreciate the extraordinary milestone we mark
with Israel's 40th anniversary of statehood.

because he signed a petition critical of Israel's "hard fist" policy.
In Los Angeles, a leading Orthodox rabbi and supporters of a
hard-line Israeli policy in the territories have demanded that the
New Jewish Agenda, a leftist group, be expelled from the Jewish
Federation Council.
In Philadelphia, an attempt by local Jews to place an advertise-
ment in the local Federation-operated Jewish newspaper critical of
Israel's policies was resisted by the Federation. The ad finally ap-
peared, but criticism for accepting it continues.
In Jewish communities around the country, there is vehement
criticism of the general media for its extended and relentless coverage
of the violence. While this criticism may be true, the fact is that we
expend far more energy on media bashing than we do dealing with
the problem itself. It is apparently easier to point out the imbalance
of media coverage than it is to respond to the images we see or the
stories we read of Israeli soldiers beating Palestinian youths.
As a community, we have a responsiblity to support tolerance
from within. That means listening to, and perhaps debating with,
others with whom we disagree — without condemning them as
traitors. We are only as healthy as our capacity to encourage expres-
sion.

Plea For Tolerance

The American Jewish community's reaction to the Palestinian
uprising is disturbing in its seeming inability, or unwillingness, to
deal with the heart of the matter.
In San Francisco, an Orthodox rabbi's life has been threatened

LETTERS

Arabs Created
Gaza Slums

One of the best kept secrets
in recent years appears to be
United Nations Resolution
32/90, enacted in 1977, at the
behest of the Arab
governments.
After the conquest of the
Gaza Strip and the West
Bank in 1967, Israel im-
mediately started a program
of constructing decent hous-
ing (in addition to the
hospitals and universities), in
order to get the displaced per-
sons out of the camps.
By 1977, approximately
10,000 units had been built.
At that point the above
resolution was passed, stopp-
ing — repeat — stopping fur-
ther construction.

R

FRatilaaaJI:1.9flil

Their motives are obvious,
and to spell them out would
be an insult to you and your
readers' intelligence. The
amazing question is why
hasn't this been given the
publicity it deserves?

Balfour Peisner
Southfield

Soviet Jewry
Information

We very much appreciated
the prominence you gave to
last week's article (Feb. 26) by
Elizabeth Kaplan on the
hunger strike of Yuli
Kasharovsky and the parallel
action taken by Mike
Winkelman in organizing a
local hunger strike, which
also received front page
coverage in the Detroit News.

Every time stories such as
these receive the attention
they deserve, they foster ac-
tivism in the community,
bringing us that much closer
to the goal we all share; the
liberation of Soviet Jews.
Pardon us if we appear to be
tooting our own horn, but the
article did not mention that
all of these actions resulted
from information provided by
members of the Friends of the
Soviet Jewry Education and
Information Center. The
SJEIC in Jerusalem, run by
former refuseniks and prison-
ers of Zion, receives the latest
information from the Soviet
Union, and transmits it dai-
ly to their U.S. office in West
Bloomfield. From here it is
disseminated to the Union of
Councils for Soviet Jews, the
National Conference on

Soviet Jewry, and the news
media .. .

Sol P. Lachman
President, Friends of the
Soviet Jewry Education
And Education Center

Israel And
Latin America

I was pleased to read the ar-
ticle (Feb. 19) about
Nicaragua by Lila Orbach.
She dealt very well with the
allegations of Sandinista
anti-Semitism and the at-
tempt of the Reagan Ad-
ministration to manipulate
reality to win support for its
own political agenda. Orbach
should also have pointed out
that the poverty in Nicaragua
is the direct result of the
covert U.S. campaign to ruin

Nicaragua and cause the
downfall of the revolution.
Orbach also stated that the
Israeli government has sup-
ported the "ruthless and
repressive" Somoza family
and the Contras. It is certain-
ly no wonder that the San-
dinistas are anti-Israel. It is
also no wonder that blacks in
South Africa are anti-Israel,
since Israel is one of the big-
gest military suppliers to the
brutal apartheid regime.
Israel was created as a
home for Jews escaping
bigotry, poverty, and oppres-
sion . . . Surely a country such
as Israel has the ingenuity to
market things other than
weapons and military
trainers.
As citizens of the U.S., we
must work diligently to

Continued on Page 10

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