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March 15, 1991 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-03-15

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

UP FRONT

The French Disconnection:
Ethnic Tensions Worry Jews

HELEN DAVIS

Foreign Correspondent

T

he kosher restaurants
along Rue Richer in
the Montmartre
district of Paris are packed
with noisy, cheerful lun-
chtime diners. Up and down
the street, travel agents
advertise bargain flights to
Israel and trips to New York
to "spend Passover with the
Rebbe." The atmosphere is
one of exuberant self-
confidence.
Yet across Paris, in the
fashionable district of
Faubourg St. Honore, the
first cracks begin to show.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, Euro-
pean director of the Simon
Wiesenthal Center, glances
anxiously at his watch. He
has to break into his after-
noon work schedule to dash
across town to collect his
children from school.
In normal times, he ex-
plains, the 400 mostly
Israeli pupils of the Moshe
Sharett School in Clichy
travel home in buses that
are accompanied along the
entire route by a French

police escort and Israeli
guards.
Since the outbreak of the
war in the Gulf, however,
even these measures are
considered insufficient. To
minimize the tempting
target that a busload of Heb-
rew-speaking children might
present to terrorists, the
school bus service has been
suspended and parents are
now obliged to personally
collect their children each
afternoon.
Indeed, while Paris froze
in bitter, sub-zero
temperatures this week,
passions continued to rise
among Jews and Muslims in
France, which is host to the
largest concentrations of
both of these two groups in
Europe.
France is considered a
prime target for terrorist ac-
tivity because of both its
military involvement in the
Gulf hostilities and its close
links to the Arab world and
the Maghreb states of North
Africa.
It is also considered par-
ticularly vulnerable to Mid-
dle East-sponsored terrorism

because it is home to 700,000
pro- Israeli Jews and a three-
million-strong Muslim
population, much of which
identifies with the Iraqi
regime of Saddam Hussein.
Signs of tension between
the two communities are
clearly evident. As sen-
timents on both sides
became increasingly
polarized, radio talk-back
programs on both Moslem
and Jewish channels were
abruptly curtailed in an
effort to contain the tensions
and prevent the verbal
abuse from spilling over into
physical violence.
At the offices of the weekly
newspaper, Actualite Juive,
metal barriers cover the
large ground-floor windows
to protect against attack.
Similar security precau-
tions apply at all Jewish re-
ligious, cultural, educational
and communal institutions
which, on the advice of the
French authorities, are
taking seriously the possibil-
ity of a major terror cam-
paign against Western and
Jewish targets throughout
Europe.

-

Artwork from Newsday by Ned Levine. Copyright° 1990. Newsday. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

In an attempt to combat
this threat, the French
government last week
implemented a ramified in-
telligence and security
operation codenamed
"Vigipirate."

A senior French security
source told me that
"Vigipirate" — an cat-
chword for Vigilance
Against Piracy — is run by
the French anti-terrorist
unit.

Mr. Menasie, 86, stood in
awe when he set foot at Ben
Gurion Airport.
"Is this truly Israel?" he
asked. "Are all these people
Jews? Yes? Then all the
dreams of my life have come
true."

Aramaic) ceremony in which
a death curse is pronounced
upon an individual in absen-
tia.
Professor Baram said he
told the Eda official that
Saddam's mother had two
names: Sabha and Khadija.
He said the caller pressed
him on the authenticity of
the names and asked for
documents attesting to their
accuracy.



ROUND UP

National Alliance
Sets Proposal

New York — The board of
directors of AT&T is asking
shareholders to vote against
a proposal recommending
that the company sever all
telecommunication links
with Israel because of
human rights considera-
tions. -
The proposal by the Na-
tional Alliance, which the
Anti-Defamation League of
B'nai B'rith describes as a
neo-Nazi group, says that
AT&T sales to Israel "may
contribute toward violations
of the human rights of Pales-
tinians."
The AT&T board of direc-
tors responds, "The pro-
ponent's professed concern
for human rights lacks
credibility and is even
misleading, given the con-
sistent anti-Semitic bias in
the proponent's literature
and public statements.
Clearly, the proponent is us-
ing the proxy process not to
attempt to advance human
rights, but to achieve anti-
Semitic goals."

Based in West Virginia,
the National Alliance
disseminates a wide variety
of propaganda including
Hitler's Mein Kampf and
Imperium, which advocates
the preservation of Western
culture through Hitlerian
racism, the ADL reports.
The National Alliance has,
in the past, submitted simi-
lar proposals to AT&T. All
such proposals were over-
whelmingly defeated.

crafts include baskets,
challah covers, embroidered
aprons and napkins.
For information about
purchasing Ethiopian Jews'
handicrafts, contact the
NACOEJ, 165 E. 56th St.,
New York, N.Y. 10022, (212)
752-6340.
Meanwhile, the NACOEJ
reports that January 1991

A Contribution
To Iraq's Defeat?

Embroidered Lion of Judah by an
Ethiopian Jew.
was the best month for Ethi-
opian aliyah since Operation
Moses ended six years ago.
The Ethiopian government
issued some 1,000 exit visas
to Jews, who filled every
available seat on planes
leaving for Israel.
One recent arrival in Tel
Aviv was Kes Menasie, high
priest of the Ethiopian Jews.

Jerusalem (JPFS) — Iraqi
leader Saddam Hussein may
have been up against more
than he bargained for — in
more ways than one — when
he went to battle with Allied
forces in the Gulf War.
In addition to the barrage
of Allied air, land and sea at-
tacks, Mr. Hussein faced a
kabbalistic curse from Eda
Haredit, an extreme right-
wing Orthodox group in
Jerusalem.
Days before the war ended,
a member of Eda Haredit
contacted Amatzia Barma, a
Haifa University professor
and expert on Iraq, to learn
the name of Saddam Hus-
sein's mother. This name is
said to be required for the
pulsa de nura (lash of fire, in

Ethiopian Crafts
Available In U.S.

New York — The North
American Conference on E-
thiopian Jewry (NACOEJ)
has for sale a number of
handicrafts made by Ethio-
pian Jews struggling to sur-
vive in Addis Ababa, the E-
thiopian capital.
Thousands of Jews are in
temporary shelters in Addis,
waiting to immigrate to
Israel. Because it is impossi-
ble for the Jews to find work
in Ethiopia, American
organizations have arranged
to sell their handicrafts in
the United States. These

Peace Lobby
Sees First Victory

New York — The Jewish
Peace Lobby is charting its
first legislative victory, hav-
ing convinced the Senate to
formally endorse a provision
of no less than $350,000 in
U.S. funds to support Israeli
peace organizations.
The provision, cited in the
report accompanying the
1991 foreign aid bill, calls on
U.S. monies to be directed to
private Israeli groups that
support "tolerance and
mutual understanding"
between Arabs and Jews.
Compiled by
Elizabeth Applebaum

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 11

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