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March 13, 1992 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-03-13

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Saddam As Amalek

The Bush administration, plagued since
the end of the Persian Gulf War with
criticism that it failed to act decisively in
removing Saddam Hussein from power,
could take a lesson from this Sabbath's
Torah reading.
We will read of the biblical obligation to
eradicate Amalek, the inveterate foe of the
Jewish people, who attacked the women,
children and the weak as the Israelites
were crossing the wilderness. The com-
mand to destroy Amalek is recalled annu-
ally on Shabat Zachor, the Sabbath of Re-
membrance that precedes the holiday of
Centuries later, King Saul, the first king
of Israel, is chastised for failing to observe
the command to kill King Agag of Amalek,
from whom, tradition teaches, Haman, the
villain of the Purim story, is descended.
For his transgression, Saul is removed as
Saddam. Hussein is a modern-day version
of Amalek, seeking to destroy Israel by at-

tacking (through Scud missiles) the
civilian population centers — the women,
children and the weak — as opposed to
soldiers on a battlefield.

The United States is not displaying hu-
manitarianism by allowing Saddam to con-
tinue in power, causing his people to suffer
and threatening the future stability of the
region. The Washington Post this week
notes that the U.S. has complied with
Saudi Arabia's wish that Saddam be
allowed to remain in power since this is
preferable to Saudi sheiks than the risk of
Islamic fundamentalists seizing control of

Washington's policy is motivated by con-
cern over Arab oil rather than conviction.
President Bush would do well to note that,
as Judaism teaches, it is ultimately more
humane and merciful to destroy evil than
to seek to contain or control it. The world
would be a safer place without Saddam

Begin's Torn Soul

Menachem Begin's political career could
well be bracketed by two comments he
gave at widely disparate moments in his
life. Asked almost midway through his
tenure as prime minister how he would
like history to remember him, he an-
swered, "As the man who set the borders of
Eretz Yisrael for all eternity," But about
three years later, saddened by the death of
his wife and disillusioned by Israel's 1982
war in Lebanon, he told those who were
pleading for him to reconsider his intention
to resign, "I cannot go on."
And, indeed, he did not. Mr. Begin left
Israel's government in September, 1983.
For almost a year before his resignation
and until his death earlier this week, he
was a virtual recluse, living with his
memories and his regrets in a deep and
impenetrable silence.
Menachem Begin's world view was forg-
ed in the fires of the Holocaust, in which he
lost much of his family. He became the
leader of the militant Irgun underground
in Palestine, unwilling to make the diplo-
matic compromises adopted by mainstream
Zionists. Mr. Begin espoused 'violence
when necessary to achieve statehood and
some called him a terrorist.

For almost two decades of statehood, Mr.
Begin was the voice of the opposition,
sometimes vilified for his criticism of
leaders like David Ben-Gurion, whom he
once called "a fascist and a hooligan."
During Mr. Begin's tenure as prime min-
ister, which began in 1977, both the best
and the worst of Israel were realized: A
peace treaty with Egypt was signed in
1979; three years later, several hundred
Palestinian men, women and children were
killed in refugee camps by Israel's Chris-
tian militia allies after being allowed to
enter the camp by Israeli forces during the
war in Lebanon.
The peace treaty and the massacre
marked Mr. Begin's realization that there
were limits to his ideology that was steeped
in force and strength. The peace treaty was
the healthy side of such a realization; the
massacre was the stunned, incredulous
Now, nine years after Mr. Begin left
Israel's highest office, the same dualities
that tore at him — strength versus accom-
modation, the desire for peace versus
holding firm to the land — still tear at the
nation that he so loved and with whom he
will forever be identified.

What Now, Mr. Bush?

Washington must do whatever is
necessary to stop the delivery of North
Korean Scud missiles bound for Syria and
Iran if it is to retain any shred of credibility
in the Middle East peace process.
Moreover, Secretary of State James
Baker, who is so quick to condemn Israeli
settlements in the occupied territories,
needs to be equally vocal about Syria's con-
tinued efforts to acquire weapons of mass
destruction intended to terrorize civilian


FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 1992

Dry Bones

In October, another North Korean
freighter bound for Syria with Scud mis-
siles of even greater range and accuracy
turned back after Israel indicated it might
take unilateral action to halt the shipment.
Given the threat to its population, and the
history of the Middle East, Israel has every
right to act preemptively.
No matter how ticklish the situation,
President Bush and Mr. Baker must go
beyond merely trying to publicly embarrass
North Korea.


6%/MARE- Akib



Teens Will Be
Tomorrow's Leaders

Recently, we had the
privilege and honor of serving
on a panel of judges to select
an outstanding Jewish high
school senior to receive the
coveted Betty and Grant
Silverfarb Youth Award from
the League of Jewish
Women's Organizations of
Greater Detroit.
After interviewing 24 of our
community's best and
brightest teens, we had the
ominous task of selecting one.
Although we could only
choose one, our entire Jewish
community is really the big-
gest winner of all.
Each day, we only have to
open the paper or click on the
news to hear about drugs,
AIDS, teen pregnancies, and
school dropouts, but some-
thing very wonderful is hap-
pening right here. Our com-
munity, whether Orthodox,
Conservative, or Reform; lov-
ing parents who serve as
tremendous role models; and
teachers who stimulate and
encourage our youth are hav-
ing incredibly great results.
These 24 teens are proof.
We have no doubt they will be
tomorrow's leaders. Read

about them. Remember their
names. Watch them grow and
continue to mature.
We would like to offer a
challenge to the rest of the
community-at-large to match
the generosity of Betty and
Grant Silverfarb so that more
outstanding youths can be
recognized and rewarded each
year for their leadership and

Gilda Jacobs, Carol Kaftan,
Gerald Levin, Donna Pearlman,
Beverly H. Stone

Opposition To
Bush And Baker

Leonard Fein posed the
question on the Opinion page
of the March 6 issue, "How do
we learn whether the men
who propose to be president
are hollow or filled?" The on-
ly way we know for sure is
when they have been elected
and they have served.
George Bush is up for
scrutiny. He and his Mr.
Baker and their policy of a
year ago: "Let us fight for you
and then we will give you
what you need." Well, here we
are, a year later, and not only
have they reneged on the loan
Continued on Page 12

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