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January 17, 1992 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-01-17

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

EDITORIAL

Looking Back
At Desert Storm

One year after Desert Storm, the eu-
phoria that accompanied the U.S. military
victory over Iraq has largely evaporated, as
have hopes that a new Middle East would
quickly rise from the ashes of Kuwait. (See
Close-Up, Page 22.)
It is true that Iraqi expansionism has
been curbed, at least for the time being,
and that Baghdad's ability to wage war
against its Persian Gulf neighbors and
Israel has been severely curtailed.
Likewise, Middle East oil still flows in
abundance — and make no mistake about
it, the industrialized world's horror at the
prospect of Saddam Hussein controlling
petroleum supplies was Washington's
primary reason for going to war.
In addition, the Gulf War spurred the
release of the Western hostages held in
Lebanon and it provided the window of op-
portunity for Secretary of State James
Baker to prod Israel and its Arab adver-
saries into beginning a negotiating process
that may still yield lasting benefit.
But the long-term picture is less satisfy-
ing. Saddam remains in power, audacious-
ly proclaiming himself the real winner of
the Gulf War. He continues to torment Ira-
qi Kurds and Shi'ite Muslims, just as he
continues to defy the United Nations by
hiding his remaining stockpile of nuclear
and chemical weapons.
Wounded, he is probably even more
dangerous than he was before the war, and
will no doubt have to be reckoned with yet
again, before he is able to regain full
military strength.
Moreover, democracy has progressed
little in Kuwait or any other Arab state,
and Syria and Iran are furiously buying up

as many weapons of mass destruction as
they can in advance of some perceived
future showdown with the Jewish state.
And while Yassir Arafat saw fit last
week to confer with Saddam in Baghdad,
Washington continues to apply pressure on
Jerusalem to make concessions to Palestin-
ian leaders whose trustworthiness remains
dubious at best.
On all those counts, very little has actu-
ally changed for the better over the past
year.
The question must be asked, was the war
worth the price paid in lives and resources?
We think so. Had Saddam not been
countered, he might very well be threaten-
ing nuclear holocaust today and strangling
already stressed Western economies by
driving up the price of oil.
But there is also little doubt that Presi-
dent George Bush, having "lost" the peace
by allowing Saddam to slip away and
democracy to fall through the Gulf cracks,
is desperate to deliver an election year
Middle East peace agreement — at Israel's
expense, if necessary.

Had President Bush been able to deliver
a kinder, gentler Middle East, as promised,
Israel's right-wing government would be
hard pressed to justify its continued
hardline policy. But given the White
House's poor post-Gulf War performance,
who can fault Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir for being wary of the president's
intentions.
If anything, the past year has served to
underscore the need for Israel to keep its
guard up. The Middle East remain a very
dangerous neighborhood.

Why Stop The Rally?

For Detroit Jews, the most vivid memory
of exactly one year ago was perhaps the
scene in the lobby of Shaarey Zedek.
That Jan. 17 was the opening of the 1991
Allied Jewish Campaign. The guest
speaker was pro-Israel political analyst
Alan Keyes. While Mr. Keyes addressed
the audience, almost everyone's mind was
on what was happening in the back of the
synagogue's lobby.
There, surrounding a television set, was
a group of about 20 people, many in tears,
watching the live coverage of a Scud mis-
sile attack on Tel Aviv. Sivan Maas, the
shalicha at the Israel Program Center,
watched the destruction and then called
Israel as quickly as she could. Others simp-
ly drifted around the area in a stunned
stupor. And others, visibly upset, com-
forted their friends and called for retalia-
tion.
A little over a week later, Jewish Detroit
rallied at the same synagogue, 3,500
strong, in support of Israel and the allied
coalition. This perhaps marked the

6

FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 1992

crescendo of emotion for this community,
and it all happened in January.
In the months that have followed, the
Scuds faded away, but we must question
ourselves as a community and ask if our in-
tensity has gone with the missiles.
As Israel sits at the peace table, rallies
shouldn't be reserved for a missile attack.
For Diaspora Jews, a rally should be a pur-
poseful feeling of support, something that's
fed by information, opinion and question.
For two days last January, Shaarey
Zedek's sanctuary and lobby were filled
with high-strung emotion. Maybe it's im-
possible to maintain that level day-to-day.
Maybe our rally should be to take a piece of
that scene last year and carry it with us.
Maybe by being more vocal, more "up" on
the subject, we can help prevent similar
attacks.
Maybe when we look back at 1992, Israel
will be better off and the Middle East a
more stable place to be. We don't need a
sign this time; we don't need a slogan. But
we still need to rally.

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LETTERS I- ,

Old Frontiers
For Detroit Jews

Every congregation should
be reminded of their purpose,
what is implied in survival,
the role of the synagogue in
the community and the need
for education. At Congrega-
tion Beth Achim, a resoun-
ding vote against moving was
a first step containing and
ultimately halting the
fanatical flight of the free.
Given that we are nearly
100,000 strong in the metro
area, is there a single reason
that we cannot identify with
and sustain the already solid-
ly established foundations of
our community and consider
other areas of development as
additions to our greater com-
munity instead of "replace-
ments" for abandoned
neighborhoods, and create
large sectors of Jewish
population linked by common
bond, each having those vital
support systems that make it
a "Jewish" community?
Such a hub already exists —
in the Southfield-Oak Park-
Huntington Woods-Birming-
ham sector, incorporating
firmly entrenched Orthodox,
Conservative and Reform an-
chors, and office retail, educa-
tional, community center,
religious, apartment and
housing foundations.
Developing such a master
plan for our Jewish communi-
ty would make us the envy of
American Jewry and local
governments, instead of the
government manipulators
that we are purported to be
for our perceived length of
stay.

The empty nesters given
such visibility in these aged
suburbs might well consider
tackling and reversing the
trend of their grown children
leaving the area and instead
of settling nearby, continue to

utilize the same synagogue,
schools, businesses and
neighborhoods of their youth.
A synagogue inundated with
a multi-generational mem-
bership is a healthy
synagogue. So is a neighbor-
hood .. .
There are more families in
this already established hub
than anyone cares to realize
but, as Washington columnist
William Raspberry recently
wrote in the Detroit News, we
identify problems and then
look for the enemy. We waste
months and years trying to
place blame for failed
synagogues, public/private
schools, businesses and
neighborhoods instead of
looking for solutions .. .
Each generation has its
new frontier. lb be more
Jewishly educated than
predecessor generations
would be a welcome new
trend. It would signal the end
of "accommodation" as a
means of survival.
If we are the education peo-
ple, then a little introspection
would be a shot in the arm
and we'd not allow this New
Frontier to become a lost
horizon.

Barry Silver
Oak Park

Article Hurt
The Yeshiva

Though my initial inclina-
tion was not to respond to the
article on Beth Yehudah
which appeared in the Nov. 15
issue of The Jewish News, it
has become apparent to me
that the harm done to the
Yeshiva's reputation by the
article requires that some in-
accuracies and misleading
statements be corrected.
The statement made by the
spokesman for the "rabbinic
committee," Rabbi Elimelech

Continued on Page 9

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