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April 30, 1993 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-04-30

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

After The Mission:
Outside The Bus

One of the so-called status symbols that peo-
ple asked one another about on the Miracle
Mission was the number of times they had
visited Israel.
"You've only been here once? You've nev-
er been here?"
There is a question that many of us should
be asking after a mission like this one ends.
Why are so many of us only looking at Israel
from the inside of an air-conditioned Egged
bus? It's fun to tour, to float on the Dead Sea
and climb Masada. There is little that can
emotionally match witnessing Russian ohm
arriving at Ben-Gurion, and there's nothing
that can spiritually match praying at the
Western Wall.
But Israel is not a country of missions. It is
a country where Jews can be Jewish with a
commitment to something more important,
the continuity of the Jewish people. If it's
something that we can take for granted, then
let's not forget about the assimilation rate in
America. In Israel, assimilation means ab-
The goal of the Miracle Mission was to bring
many new people in contact and involvement
with Federation. But the goal also has to be
for all of us to reconsider our priorities.

Israel is a country that needs Americans to
spend more time on the outside of the tour
bus. That's why projects such as Otzma are
so important. But these projects can't just be
for our children, just as Jewish education can't
be. It's for all of us to live and experience.
Israelis commonly complain that Jewish
Americans really don't know what Israel is
all about. Don't get them wrong. They ap-
preciate it every time a Bond is purchased.
But the truth is, they'd much rather have us
get involved in Israeli society, maybe even
permanently. And it's not such an impossi-
Many Miracle Mission participants were
surprised to run into men and women they
had not seen in years. Our Mission people
thought that their old friends were on simi-
lar missions. But when they learned that the
guy who lived off Orchard Lake was now liv-
ing in Jerusalem of Haifa or Tel Aviv, they
typically wanted to know what their old
friends knew.
It doesn't matter if you have made one mis-
sion or 25 missions. The mission for all of us
should be to reconsider our priorities about
Israel. The meaning behind Jewish homeland
needs to be taken more to heart.

Tailhook And
Gay Rights


Perhaps the most egregious example of what
occurred at the Tailhook convention was the forc-
ing of female naval officers and other women
to run a gauntlet as drunk, male Navy pilots
grabbed them and tore off their clothes.
To make matters worse, Navy brass tried
to cover up the antics of the Tailhook Society's
1,500 active duty and retired pilots who car-
ried on at the 1991 convention, necessitating
the Pentagon inquiry that ended with 117 of-
ficers being implicated in the attacks on
women. When questioned, Navy officials
sought to dampen the uproar by taking a
"what's-the-big-deal?" approach.
Incredibly, what happened at Tailhook 1991
was, according to reports, no more outrageous
than what usually happened at Tailhook gath-
erings. Sexism and macho insensitivity, it
seems, were not only standard fare but were
encouraged. The only difference between 1991
and other years is that this time some of the
victims spoke up and were finally heard.
This time it was the Navy that was caught.
However, there can be little doubt that simi-
lar attitudes toward women also permeate the
military's other branches.
Is one to conclude, therefore, that there is

something about heterosexual men that makes
them inherently incapable of serving in a
mixed-gender military force? Of course not.
Likewise, there is nothing about .homosex-
ual men or women that should inherently dis-
qualify them from this nation's military
Why, then, is the military establishment al-
lowed to continue its official ban against ho-
mosexuals — even when such individuals
engage in no indecent public behavior and
when they are demanding, of all things, the
civil right to die for their nation?
The answer is society's homophobia, a prej-
udice born out of the same mentality that al-
lows wanton insensitivity toward women,
blacks, Jews, or any other segment of society.
Homophobia is no different than any other in-
tolerance, and it is incumbent on our public
institutions to lead the struggle against in-
It is time for the military to root out its in-
bred prejudices and to show both women and
homosexuals the respect they deserve as peo-
ple. The Pentagon report on Tailhook 1991
is a good start.

Israelis See U.S.
As Violent Society


erusalem — There's a
kind of a reassurance
that Israelis seem to
get when they read
about crime or terrorism or
anything else not good hap-
pening in other parts of the
world, especially in the
United States.
David Leichman, a for-
mer New Yorker, married to
Oak Park native Miri Gold,
has lived since 1974 in Kib-
butz Gezer outside of Tel
Aviv. Mr. Leichman, who
lectures all over the world
on kibbutz as a life choice,
and on politics, has an opin-
"Sure, it's true," he said.
"When the World Trade
Center was bombed, Israelis
were saying, 'You see, it's
not only here, it's every-
where.' Not only that, it was
Muslim fun-
who blew it
up. The
strongly be-
ing made
here is 'See,
this is what
we were
telling you
all about. So
maybe we
aren't so
crazy. And
maybe, just
maybe, you will understand
that if bad things do hap-
pen, they don't just happen
here or in the Middle East."
But the real message in
the many taxis we rode in
and from. the many Israelis
we spoke to was a sort of re-
lief that the focus was tak-
en off them.
Headlines in Hebrew
blared out the name of


David Koresh. Some head-
lines openly condemned
President Clinton and the
FBI for the deaths of the
Branch Davidians. Cab dri-
vers didn't want to spend
time talking about the peace
talks and Rabin. Instead, it
was: "Talk to me about Ko-
resh. Tell me, is it safe to
travel to Miami? We have
relatives there we want to
visit." or "How about the
Rodney King situation?"
Aimee Rhodes-Mittel-
man, formerly of West
Bloomfield, now makes her
home in Jerusalem. She
also said that her friends
back in America can't walk
on Eight Mile near Wood-
ward without worrying
about security. She, like
other Detroiters trans-
planted here, don't worry
about walk-
ing alone at
think that at
every corner
someone is
going to hurt
us," she said
during an af-
ternoon walk
"They don't
look at what
is happening in their own
society; they just point their
fingers at ours."
Dr. Burt Faudem, also
formerly of West Bloomfield
and now living in
Jerusalem, agreed.
"I let my daughter walk
through the streets," he
said. "What do you think,
this is — the United
States?" Enough said. ❑


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