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July 29, 1988 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-07-29

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


Tough Law Enforcement

Professional Administration
Fighting for Crime Victims

Jewish Agency

Continued from preceding page

`Just The Beginning'

endel Kaplan is well aware that
the hottest out-of-session topic
of conversation among delegates
at last week's Jewish Agency Assembly
was not Youth Aliyah and Project
Renewal, but Mendel Kaplan and Sim-
cha Dinitz.
It was, he said, only natural that the
delegates' expectations of a genuine
reconstruction of the Jewish Agency
and WZO meant an intense interest in
the men they had elected to do the job.
"Yes, Simcha and I are very different
personalities," he told me last week.
"And that is why our relationship works
so well. We complement one another.
"We have also been friends for maybe
12 years. And we went into this partner-
ship knowing each other's weaknesses
and appreciating each other's strengths.
"We have also spent many days
together in scheduled meetings — as
well as on planes — discussing every
detail of our program. And there is not
one issue that we haven't reached agree-
ment on.
"The secret of our working relation-
ship is that we understand each other's
constituencies. Simcha understands the
United States probably better than
most Diaspora delegates. And I have a


Private Practice Attorney, 18 years
Trustee, West Bloomfield Township, 5 years
Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor, 2 years
Planning Commissioner, West Bloomfield Township,
12 years (2 terms as Chairman)
• Crime Prevention Committee Chairman, Michigan
State Bar Association
for Alternatives to Drugs (PAD.),

Vice-President and Co-Founder
• Headlee Tax Limitation Amendment, Co-Chairman
• Oakland County Bar Association, Board of Directors
and Secretary
• Southfield Bar Association, Past President
• Optimist Club of West Bloomfield, Charter President
• West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce,
Past President
• Homeowner's Association Past President
• University of Detroit School of Law, J.D. Degree
• Michigan State University, B.A. Degree
• Married (Bryna Linden), with three children
• Temple Israel, former Board of Trustees Member
• Jewish Welfare Federation, Jr. Division, former
Board Member
Community Council of Metropolitan Detroit,

former Executive Committee Member
• Hebrew Free Loan Association, Board of Directors
• Yeshivah Beth Yehudah, Former Teacher


* * * * * * * * LEIB
* * * * * *

* *

Paid for by Citizens to Elect Leib Prosecutor
6735 Telegraph Road, Suite 320, Birmingham, MI 48010


FRIDAY, JULY 29, 1988

where they fit in, what their role is.
"The fact that this year's delegates were
better informed and more impressive than
ever before undoubtedly created some
problems for the leadership."
Kaplan, in particular, has yet to fully
comprehend the necessity of drawing
larger numbers of people into the decision-
making process; to get things done quick-
ly while giving others a genuine sense of
input and involvement.
"He has to find that balance, and I think
he will," said the source. "It's just a mat-
ter of fine tuning.
"I think even the critics of the new
leadership will admit that both Kaplan and
Dinitz can take criticism and use it con-
structively. They don't shout anyone down
and they don't bear grudges."
One example of this was Kaplan's reac-
tion to harsh criticism of the Jewish
Agency by Natan Sharansky, head of the
newly-formed Soviet Zionist Federation.
Kaplan promptly invited the federation to
submit recommendations to the Jewish
Agency and one — a job placement service
— has been approved and funded to the
tune of $70,000.
By the end of the Assembly, the over-
whelming feeling among delegates was one
of cautious enthusiasm. There was a sense
that things were moving rapidly — general-
ly in the right direction — and there was

good understanding of Israel:*
Kaplan points with pride to their
achievements — new approaches to
Project Renewal, immigration and ab-
sorption, regional development and
Jewish education; highly-qualified,
rigorously-selected new personnel in key
positions throughout both the Jewish
Agency and the WZO, and a determined
drive to cut waste and duplication and
re-direct financial resources ($400
million annual budget for the Jewish
Agency, $65 million for the WZO).
"I know there are people who say that
the locomotive is going too fast," he
says. "But if we don't go fast, we won't
go at all.
"Those who are concerned that our
pace is too rapid for absolute control
don't understand that here in Israel the
process between decision and implemen-
tation is long and slow.
"We have to get the decisions made
before we lose the impetus for change
and the willingness of the bureaucracy
to change.
"We hope to finish all the reconstruc-
tive decision-making by February. But
we won't rest there. That will just be the
beginning of the story." -- Helen Davis

a willingness to give credit to the new ad-
"People see that Kaplan and Dinitz have
very different styles," a WZO source told
me. "Dinitz is a diplomat, a politician, a
consensus-seeker, while Kaplan has a
strong personality — he is an operator, a
Given the vast differences in style,
background and experience, it would be
wrong to believe that there is never a cross
word. At the same time. though, the mar-
riage shows every sign of working — and
for the same reasons that make more con-
ventional marriages work.
"There is sometimes tension between
them," said a source who is close to both
men, "but the important thing is that they
like and respect each other and are pulling
in the same direction."
The initial results are already clearly evi-
dent in the new slimmed-down, spruced-up
"It's an amazing phenomenon for an
organization of this size and complexity,"
said Jewish Agency Director-General
Howard Weisband.
"According to the textbooks, it takes be-
tween seven and ten years to bring radical
change from within such an organization,"
he told me. "We have seen it begin to hap-
pen in six months. And five years down the
road we won't recognize the place." [11_

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