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December 27, 1991 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-12-27

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

UP FRONT

West Bank Vigilantes

INA FRIEDMAN

Special to The Jewish News

irst prize for the
sharpest contrast of
the week goes to the
peace talks in Washington
versus the situation on the
ground in the West Bank.
While Israelis and Pales-
tinians were ensconced on
that famous "couch in the
corridor" at the State
Department, wrangling
endlessly but at least civilly
over modalities, back home
the conflict between their
peoples escalated sharply
from a low simmer (which
has characterized the in-
tifada over much of the past
year) to a boil.
The introduction of
firearms into the Palestin-
ian uprising, which has been
responsible for the deaths of
three Israeli civilians since
the end of October alone, has
now been met by a direct re-
sponse from the settlers who
are the terrorists' main
target.
Over the past few weeks,
groups of West Bank settlers
have trashed Arab cars,
thrown stones at Arab
houses, shot up Arab solar

heaters in three West Bank
cities, uprooted Arab trees in
the countryside, and forcibly
opened roads through Arab
villages that had been
blocked by the army for
security reasons. In short,
they have taken the law into
their own hands on the
pretense that the army had
failed to ensure their securi-
ty.

The upshot of this
latest ferment is a
slew of new strains
on the fabric of
relations between
Israelis on the two
sides of the Green
Line.

Or as Zvi Katzover, head of
the Kiryat Arba Local Coun-
cil, put it: "If the IDF (Israel
Defense Force) is incapable
of protecting the Jews, it will
have to come out into the
field to protect the Arabs."
Such behavior, while cer-
tainly the stuff of the news,
is nothing new in itself. Pi-
qued by the army's failure to
prevent the stoning of
vehicles on the main arteries

in the West Bank, settlers
went on a rampage through
the Deheishe refugee camp,
near Bethlehem, during the
first year of the uprising, to
the horror of the army's
High Command.
Thereafter, incidents of
reprisal were scattered
throughout the history of the
intifada, but for the most
part the army's sharp reac-
tion to the Deheishe raid
kept the settlers in check.
Now, however, in response
to the escalation of violence
and the Palestinians' resort
to firearms, the phenomenon
has returned in a more
refined, and in a sense more
alarming, form. No longer
just spontaneous outbursts
by outraged citizens, the set-
tlers' reprisals have been
upgraded to a deliberate,
well-organized tactic that
has the additional attraction
of having rabbinical sanc-
tion.
To the anger and chagrin
of the army, the settlers
have adopted the dual aim of
forcing the army to act
where and when they dictate
and of helping it to respond
more effectively.
For example, they have
decided to send out their own

RN S Photo/Reu ters

Jewish settlers, bolstered by rabbinical support,
are taking the law into their own hands.

Jewish settlers erect a barbed-wire fence around their house in an Arab
neighborhood.

patrols, to augment those
fielded by the IDF, and are
inaugurating such
"supportive" tactics as pain-
ting clearly identifiable
numbers on the houses in
Palestinian villages so as to
direct the army to the
sources of violence with
maximum accuracy.
On the face of it, this
"helping-hand policy" is a
sign that the settlers have
finally accepted that the
army cannot provide ab-
solute security by being
everywhere in the territories
at all times. Yet the real
feeling fueling their actions
is less an urge to be
solicitous toward the IDF
than a deep resentment at

having been "abandoned"
by it.
"The political echelon has
not carried out its promise to
change the directives for
dealing with the (territories)
when the transition to
firearms takes place,"
charges Benny Katzover,
head of the Samaria Local
Council, "so we have no
choice but to tell our consti-
tuents that from now on
we'll have to respond on our
own."
As the army has made
quite clear, this is an
unwelcome, if not downright
ominous, development. But
of even greater moment is
the introduction of a re-
ligious twist to what has

ROUND UP

Jews To Continue
In Soviet Region
New York — Millions of
Jews will continue to live for
years to come in the former
Soviet Union, according to a
report released last week by
the Nathan Cummings
Foundation of New York.
The report, Assisting Jews
in the Soviet Union, written
by City College of New York
Professor Steven Cohen, de-
scribes the needs and ac-
tivities of Jews in the former
Soviet Union as they recon-
nect with their Jewish
heritage, and both prepare
for emigration to Israel and
to build a lasting Jewish
presence in the region.
Among the report's con-
clusions are:
• The republics of the
former Soviet Union and the
Baltic states are likely to
remain a center of world
Jewry in the foreseeable
future. By a conservative
estimate, while 1 million
Jews will emigrate, and 1
million "closet Jews" may
come to identify publicly as

Jews and emigrate, at least
1 million will remain within
the Soviet Union.
• The movements for
emigration and internal
cultural renewal are, to a
great degree, mutually rein-
forcing. Would-be emigres
become active in Jewish
cultural and organizational
life in the months and years
preceding their emigration;
those dedicated to building
Jewish life in the former
Soviet Union place the
freedom and ease of Jewish
emigration high on their po-
litical and communal agen-
da.
• Jewish communal life in
the former Soviet Union is
rich and growing. Its institu-
tions include synagogues,
schools (at least 36 part-time
and six all-day), newspapers,
magazines, cultural associa-
tions, Hebrew teachers'
groups, youth groups,
publishing ventures, human
rights organizations, com-
munity centers, emigration
support networks, theater
groups, choral groups, video

and music clubs, and um-
brella organizations on the
municipal, regional and na-
tional levels.
• Jews continue to articu-
late needs for support in
many areas, including social
welfare, education and cul-
ture, community building
and combatting renascent
anti-Semitism.

Ten Commandments,
Ten Sinais
It's a mountain; it's a
hospital.
In fact, Sinai is the most
popular name for Jewish
hospitals throughout the
United States.
Everybody knows Sinai
Hospital of Detroit, right?
But who knows the other
nine? (Yes, there are 10
Sinai hospitals in the coun-
try, just like the Ten Corn-
mandments which were, of
course, given at Mt. Sinai).
They are:
• Sinai Hospital of
Baltimore.

• Mt. Sinai Hospital or
Medical Center in Hartford,
Conn., Philadelphia,
Chicago, Miami Beach, New
York City and Cleveland.
• Sinai-Samaritan
Hospital in Milwaukee.
• Cedars-Sinai Hospital of
Los Angeles.

Germany Hosts
Jewish Exhibit
Berlin — The Martin-
Gropius-Bau Museum in
Berlin will host from Jan. 12
through April 26, 1992, a
new exhibit called,
"Patterns of Jewish Life:
Jewish Thought and Beliefs,
Life and Work Within the
Cultures of the World."
The exhibit marks the
50th anniversary of the
Wannsee Conference, where
Nazis met to plan the "Final
Solution" for the Jews of
Europe.
Displays included in the
exhibition will focus on Jew-
ish populations of Eastern
Europe, Berlin, Yemen,
Morocco, Toledo, Amster-

Portion of the 1830 painting,
"Chevra Kaddisha Dinner," in-
cluded in the Berlin exhibit.

dam and Israel, among
others. It will include not
only art objects but discuss
the historical context of the
Jewish people within
societies of varying social
conditions.
Among the exhibit items
will be the mosaic floor of
the Beth Shean Synagogue;
the Torah ark from Cochin,
India; and a 15-part series
from Prague called "Picture
Cycle of the Chevra Kad-
disha (burial society)."

Compiled by
Elizabeth Applebaum

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 11

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