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December 16, 1988 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-16

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


3 Detroiters Lobby Hard
In Israel On Law Of Return


Associate Editor


heir role can't be political ex-
pediency. It must be the unity
of the Jewish people," Jane
Sherman said of the message three
Detroiters and 38 other Jewish
federation leaders took to 'Israeli
political leaders last week.
Sherman, co-chairman of
Detroit's Allied Jewish Campaign,
spent 2 1/2 days in Israel with Jewish
Welfare Federation secretary Hugh
Greenberg and executive director
Michael Berke.
The group met with 80-90 of the
120 Knesset members, lobbied Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir of the
Likud bloc and Foreign Minister
Shimon Peres of the Labor Party, had
a cordial meeting with Agudat Israel
leader Rabbi Menachem Porush, and
generally tried to explain why chang-
ing Israel's Law of Return as a con-
cession to the Orthodox parties
received such a strong reaction from
the American Jewish community.
"They always believed that this
was an issue that affected six or seven
people making aliyah each year," said
Sherman. "They didn't understand
that the perception here is that we are
being disenfranchised."
Greenberg said the Israelis have
no understanding of Jewish religious
pluralism in the United States. "Less
than 15 percent of the Israeli popula-
tion is Orthodox and everyone else is
secular," he said. "A Conservative rab-
bi in Israel told me that Israel strong-
ly supports religious freedom for
everyone in Israel — except Jews!"
Delegations of American and
Diaspora Jewish leaders visiting
Israel continue to press for removal of
the Who is a Jew issue from the

political agenda and its placement in
the hands of Jewish religious
authorities. They advocate Israeli
electoral reform to eliminate the
power of small, swing parties when
the major parties offset each other in
the national elections.
Marty Kraar, executive vice presi-
dent of Detroit's Federation, left Mon-
day for Israel with a delegation of
federation leaders from throughout
the country. On Sunday, at briefings
for Allied Jewish Campaign
volunteers at the Super Sunday
phonathon, Kraar emphasized that
the federations are doing everything
possible to alter "this misguided
missile!' "You don't hurt those in
need" in reaction to the Who is a Jew
issue, Kraar said.
Sherman, Greenberg and Berke
said Orthodox Jews within their
delegation helped sway Israeli
political leaders. "Members of the
delegation told how changing the law
would personally affect them and
their families," said Berke. "They
talked about people in the room, as
well as people the Israelis know. It
was very effective."

Said Greenberg, "You can't inter-
pret this issue as malicious. People
supported the change out of a lack of
understanding. Now they are going
through the soul-searching over what
the ramifications will be. We are still
very supportive of Israel. It is just that
they were playing with chips they
didn't own:'
"It is a question of relationship
building," said Berke. "It has to be a
continuous process, not just-
something that happens in reaction
to issues. We have to keep talking to
the Members of the Knesset even
after this issue dies?'

Shas MK Arieh Gamliel is introduced to Carmi Schwartz of the Conference of Jewish
Federations and Morton Kornreich of the United Israel Appeal at a Nov. 22 luncheon at the
King David Hotel. Schwartz and Kornreich were part of a Diaspora delegation lobbying against
changing Israel's Law of Return.

Local Woman Asks Israel
To Change Law Of Return


Staff Writer

M iriam Huffstutter is fight-
ing back.
The actions taken by
some members of the Detroit Jewish
community constitute a declaration of
war on the Orthodox, she said. They
are threatening to withhold funds.
from Israel if the Law of Return is
amended to include only halachic
"Who are these people to call the
Vaad and tell rabbis with smichah to
change their position or else?" she
said. "How dare they tell them to
change Halachah (Jewish law)."
She decided to take action.
Earlier this month Huffstutter, who
lives in Farmington Hills, went to

Israel to lobby for changing the Law
of Return. She met with numerous
groups and held frequent press con-
ferences where she gained an
understanding of the Israeli position
on the Who Is a Jew issue.
"Time and time again," she heard
Israeli citizens express.their support
of one standard to determine Who Is
a Jew. "Without it we'll have disuni-
ty, and the last -thing we need is strife
within our ranks."

Huffstutter plans to carry her
campaign throughout the United
States. She will appear on a
"Nightline" television segment and is
taking out a full-page ad in The New

York Times.
She was accompanied on her trip

Continued on Page 10


German Jews
Quit Panel

Bonn — Nine directors
resigned from the Central
Council of Jews in Germany
this week after regional
delegates rejected the coun-
cil's 1987 budget report.
The delegates' rejection was
said to be a protest over the
lack of supervision that
reportedly allowed former
council President Werner
Nachmann to embezzle some
$17 million.
Nachmann, who died last
January, allegedly took the
money from funds intended
for Nazi victims to pay for his

business debts. An indepen-
dent audit on the matter is to
be released in the spring.
One of 10 remaining board
directors who did not resign
said the council is preparing
a new statute with stricter
controls to prevent a repeti-
tion of the Nachmann

Israel Faces
Record Yeridah

Jerusalem (JTA) — Israel is
not attracting many Jews
from the Soviet Union and is
losing a record number of its
own Jews to emigration, ac-

cording to two sets of figures
just made public.
The Jewish Agency for
Israel reported that more
than 15,000 Jews have been
permitted to leave the Soviet
Union this year, nearly dou-
ble last year's number. But
the dropout rate is 92 percent;
of 2,334 Jews who left the
Soviet Union in November,
only 179 came to Israel.
The Association for the
Prevention of Yeridah
reported this week that about
21,000 Israelis left the coun-
try this year, up from 17,000
last year. This made 1988 a
record year for yeridah —
Jewish emigration from


Politicians Vow
Arms Sale Fight

Washington (JTA) — Three
Democratic lawmakers warn-
ed President-elect . George
Bush this week that they
would lead a congressional ef-
fort to block a multibillion
dollar arms sale to Saudi
Arabia expected to be propos-
ed next spring.
Sen. Alan Cranston and
Rep. Mel Levine, both of
California, and Rep.
Lawrence Smith of Florida,
told Bush in a letter,
delivered Dec. 10, that they
"would take the lead in Con-
gress to oppose actively an ad-

ministration request to
license export of such a major
new Saudi arms package."
The three cited "persistent
reports" about a possible new
arms sale in the "early
months of your administra-
The Washington Times
reported in late October that
the Saudis were considering
asking the United States for
F/A-18 .fighter planes, M-1
battle tanks, M-2 and M-3
Bradley Fighting Vehicles
and Patriot tactical air
defense missiles.
For Israel, the most objec-
tionable component of the
package is the fighter planes.


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