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May 08, 1992 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-08

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Choices For Israel:
Big Or Little Catastrophe


Assistant Editor


r. Nicholas Kerin was
troubled by a passage
in a book which cited
the "contributions" made by
Nazi researchers in the
1930s and 1940s. It gives a
message to Israeli scientists
that "we must be the first to
defend civil and human
rights," he said.
That's why Dr. Kerin, a
Hebrew University scholar
and visiting professor at
Texas Southwest Medical
Center, was angry when he
saw a recent article saying
that "more and more inno-
cent victims are contracting
AIDS" — as though anyone
deserved to die of the
Speaking this week at the
forum "Israel Now: Contem-
porary Issues and Answers,"
Dr. Kerin said it's
disheartening that so little

Professor Kaufman
- is concerned by
"signs of erosion"
in Israel's

progress has been made in
the treatment of AIDS.
But headway has been
made in cancer research, he
said. And this will no doubt
benefit those with AIDS,
many of whom develop
At the forum, sponsored by
the American Friends of the
Hebrew University, the Jew-
ish Community Council, the
Jewish Federation and The
Jewish News, Dr. Kerin
stressed the importance of
early detection in treating
cancer. It's also critical to
intervene before the growth
reaches full malignancy, he
Israeli researchers hope to
produce a drug which could
be used in conjunction with
other conventional treat-
ments to inhibit the prolifera-
tion of pre-malignant cells
while not affecting the
growth of normal cells..

What is needed is a treat-
ment that acts like a smart
bomb, delivering antibodies
to specific — namely, in-
fected — parts of the body,
he said.
Studies also are being con-
ducted to understand the

genetic irregularities that
can result in cancer, Dr.
Kerin said. Such research
could lead to treating the
disease before it develops
into a malignancy. Pre-
malignant cells are much
easier to eradicate than ma-
lignant ones, he noted.
The other speaker at the
forum, Edy Kaufman, ex-
ecutive director of the Heb-
rew University's Truman
Institute for the Advance-
ment of Peace, discussed
prospects for Middle East
Professor Kaufman said
Washington, D.C., holds the
key for peace negotiations.
The best possible scenario
for Israel would be an
agreement with the Palesti-
nians based on outlines in
the Camp David Accords, he
said. The worst scenario
would be a breakdown of
The choices for Israel are a
little catastrophe or a big ca-
tastrophe, he said.
If the Palestinians are
granted autonomy, Israel
faces the probability of
minor violence by small,
right-wing groups, Professor
Kaufman said. But these are
unlikely to lead to major
turmoil as such revolts
would be suppressed by the
Israeli army.
If the Palestinians do not
receive autonomy, the coun-
try will become more and
more isolated and will likely
be a target for Arab nations'
chemical or nuclear
Professor Kaufman said
that, despite its past and
present troubles, Israel will
continue to function as a
democracy. But he is con-
cerned by "signs, of erosion"
within the country.
Some Israelis are com-
plaining that "too much
freedom of the press" exists
and that Israeli citizens who
speak with members of the
Palestine Liberation Organ-
ization should not be allowed
to vote.
"Many of our top institu-
tions (such as the media and
the Supreme Court) are now
being delegitimized by
criticism from both the left
and the right," Professor
Kaufman said.
The critical challenge is to
see that Israel remain dem-
ocratic and that Palestin-
ians, once granted
autonomy, become dem-
ocratic, he said. Democratic
societies rarely battle each
other, he noted. ❑

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