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June 01, 1990 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-06-01

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Sad Need For More Than One U'Accuse'

n that tragic May 20
there was heartache
in millions of Jewish
homes as news reached them
of the horribly insane act of a
deranged Jew who killed Arab
workers who were on their
way to jobs in Israeli
When similar occurrences
resulted from murders by
deranged — and there were
more than a few of them in
this land — the entire nation
mourned. There were
memorial services in houses of
worship. The President, gover-
nors, mayors, religious leaders
sent messages of condolence.
It was different in Israel. In
a matter almost of minutes
there was a wave of blame and
hatred. Immediately Israel
became the scapegoat. It was
not the deranged one alone; it
was every Jew who was under
Then began the rioting and
Israel's armed forces, compell-
ed to seek law and order,
became involved in resisting

rioting. Then came the con-
demnations and among them
the American warning from
the State Department
reprimanding Jewish defense
forces, as if to ask them to
It is depressing to give this
introductory account of what
is a tragedy for all of us, not
our Israeli fellow Jews alone.
But the situation is all the
worse because the seekers of
guilt in Israel have found ad-
ditional venom to contribute
toward Israel's destruction.
That is what is, and as in all
other such aims, it again fails
to succeed.
Actually, it is a repeat per-
formance by the Arabs — is it
safe to say nearly all of them
seek Israel's demise?
Therefore the need for one
J'Accuse after another.
It is an accusation of guilt
against the Arab nations
which have never protested
criminality in their ranks
against Israel and which
utilize every means to place

obstacles in the path of peace
and Israel's existence.
There is also our accusation
against the United Nations
leadership that never has a
decent word for Israel and
joins in condemnatory resolu-
tions, portraying Israel in the
vilest, inhuman fashion. This
is where the guilt of the
Western nations is apparent.
The United States stands
alone in friendship; yet there
is an eroding threat that
arouses fear for future
Once again, another crisis
saddens our lives. Fortunate-
ly there is a frequent comfor-
ting voice that joins us in the
protest against the hatred
that is not only anti-Israel but
real anti-Semitism. Writing in
The Wall Street Journal under
the title "Wrong Reactions to
Israeli Gunman" Steven
Emerson compiled a record of
indictments against the
spreaders of venom that
develops into lies against
Israel. He writes:

Hours after an Israeli
gunman went mad and
mowed down a group of
Arabs on Sunday, human-
rights activists and
American commentators
publicly charged the
government of Israel with
"responsibility for and
complicity with the killings
of Palestinians." Why? The
Israeli government had
already arrested the
disturbed man and already
begun to investigate the
matter. Because, as one
commentator said, "Israel
has encouraged this by
creating a climate of hate
and violence." Some
Palestinian leaders went
further: They charged that
the killings were a
premeditated act of murder
by Israel. The American
media uncritically repeated
these charges.
In Israel, there was ins-
tant, unanimous condem-
nation of the killings.
Within minutes after the

news of the killings was
broadcast, Israeli leaders —
from the entire political
spectrum — bitterly con-
demned the killings and ex-
pressed their sympathies to
the Palestinians. There was
no equivocation or excuses.
Israeli citizens expressed
their shock, horror and
revulsion at the killings.
The Arab world's reac-
tion to the murder of inno-
cent Israelis has been very
different. In 1985, when an
Egyptian soldier on active
duty shot to death seven
Israeli tourists, including
four children, in the Sinai,
many Egyptians and
Palestinians celebrated the
deaths of the Israelis. The
killer, who subsequently
died under mysterious cir-
cumstances in an Egyptian
prison, has since become a
folk hero in Egypt and the
Arab world, enshrined in
Arab mythology. Last year,
when 15 Israelis and one

Continued on Page 46

Sammy Davis Could Have Been Orthodox


o famous was Sammy
Davis Jr. as an enter-
tainer that the highly
deserving tributes to his
memory emphasized his
remarkable qualities. So
enriching was his record as
an inspired Jew that reviving
it is an obligation.
Some of Davis' Jewish in-
volvements were fascinating-
ly devotional. A good ex-
ample, having entered the
Jewish ranks in a Reform
synagogue in 1956, is that he
once commented that under
different conditions he could
have embraced Orthodoxy.
This comment was in an in-
terview which appeared in
the B'nai Zion Voice in
December 1961, and he said
to his interviewer, J. Chron:
The most important
thing in any religion is to
learn how to be a better

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Vol. XCVII No. 14

June 1, 1990

2 FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 1990

human being. Judaism has
given me a peaceful
outlook on life — it suits me
emotionally to be a Jew,
and I want to be as good a
Jew as I possibly can. If I
was not in show business I
would love to be Orthodox.
But to do that I would have
to give up my chosen life.
And, after all, what counts
is not what we appear to be
to others, but what is in our
own hearts.
In the same report, we have
the following account:
When Sammy Davis Jr.
played to record-breaking
audiences in the Prince of
Wales Theatre in London,
the public was literally ass-
tounded by the announce-
ment that he will not ap-
pear on Kol Niche night
and the whole of Yom Kip-
pur, and the shows both
nights were therefore
On Yom Kippur Sammy
Davis fasted and attended
the services at a Reform
synagogue here. He an-
nounced that "Yom Kippur
is the one day in the year
on which I will not do any
The theatre had been ful-
ly booked for both nights,
and the performance on
the Tuesday and the first of
two performances the next
day have had to be hur-
riedly cancelled.

Sammy Davis had taken
it for granted that
everybody concerned with
handling his engagements
knew that he had never
performed on the Day of
Atonement since he was
converted to Judaism five
years ago, after the car
crash which cost him his
left eye.
He demonstrated his
knowledge of all the im-
plications of being a Jew
but said he was convinced
that in Judaism he had
found what he had been
searching his heart and
conscience for. He was
puzzled and a little bitter,
though, about the ap-
parently unbridgeable gulf
between the Orthodox and
the non-Orthodox bran-
ches of Judaism.
He felt that the Orthodox
should "reach out a hand"
to the Reform Jew, "who
needs to be guided and
"The basic roots of
Judaism may suffer," he
said, "if too much em-
phasis is placed on the
trappings and the symbols.
Judaism must be
perpetuated according to
the needs of the day, and it
is to the young people that
Judaism will have to look
to ensure its survival.
There was an interesting
dialogue in which he spoke
about his son's bar mitzvah.

Sammy Davis Jr. with Gen. Moshe Dayan and Gen. Chaim Bar-Lev.

He had appeared at the
historic B'nai Jeshurun
Synagogue of New York and
was interviewed by Rabbi
William Berkowitz in
December 1978.
Of his conversion to
Judaism, Mr. Davis recall-
ed his difficulty in convin-
cing both skeptical ac-
quaintances and very close
friends that he needed a
reason to exist "beyond the
applause," and that after
much reading, soul sear-
ching, and an automobile
crash that cost him an eye,
he had concluded that
Judaism was essential to
his survival, a decision
that subjected him to cruel,
tasteless jokes about

Jewish "niggers." But he
knew his ordeal had not
been in vain, as he witness-
ed his son Mark's bar mitz-
vah, an event made possi-
ble by his former wife, ac-
tress Mai Britt, "the
grandest lady," who was
willing to drive Mark 80
miles, three times a week,
for his religious training.
Surely Davis' deep interest
in Israel was a major one. He
visited the country several
times and his concerts there
were phenomenal successes.
His interest in and support
for sports in Israel were
special in his life.
On September 10, 1969,

Continued on Page 46

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