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January 27, 1995 - Image 77

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-01-27

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

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American Zionists
Debate Their Role

Fort Lauderdale (JTA) — When
Theodore Herzl called the first
Zionist Congress to order in
Basel, Switzerland, nearly 100
years ago, the main mission was
the creation of a Jewish state.
After the establishment of the
State of Israel, Zionists in the Di-
aspora had to redefine their mis-
sion, working to help make Israel
secure with monetary and polit-
ical support.
Today, with Israel indepen-
dent, strong and on the road to
peace, delegates at the American
Zionist Movement's second an-
nual convention found them-
selves redefining their role once
again.
"Zionism needs to have more
of an American sensibility. The-
need to establish a Zionist state
and the political ideologies that
fueled the early Zionist move-
ment are not as relevant today,"
said Karen Rubinstein, executive
director of AZM.
Seymour Reich, president of
AZM, pointed out that the
promise of peace and prosperity
has raised a question about the
continuing relevance of Zionism.
"Some of our friends," he said,
"have even suggested that we, as
a movement, simply go out of
business."
But Reich maintains that what
is needed, instead, is a rethink-
ing of American Zionism. He be-
lieves the new goal of American
Zionism is to serve as the bridge
between American Jews and Is-
raeli Jews to ensure that the Jew-
ish people remain one people.
Reich explained that ATM was
founded to create a single, uni-
fied Zionist body in the United
States that would be able to reach
out more effectively to the vast
numbers of American Jews who
identify with Zionist values and
goals.
The organization was formed
two years ago by the merging of
the American Zionist Federa-
tion and the American Section of
the World Zionist Organization.
Speaker after speaker at the
movement's second American
Zionist Congress in January,
pointed out that many Israeli
Jews do not think of themselves
as Jews and identify more strong-
ly with Israeli Druse than with
American Jews.
Israelis as well as American
Jews need a Zionist education,
the speakers maintained.
Yitzhak Peretz, chair of the
Zionist General Council of WZO,
spoke in Hebrew of the need of
the Jewish people to become "am
echad im safa echad" — one peo-
ple with one language.
The congress heeded that call,

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Seymour Reich

passing a resolution calling for
increased Zionist education in
day schools and supplementary
schools, with a special empha-
sis on teaching Hebrew as a spo-
ken language.
The role of aliyah in today's
Zionism was hotly debated dur-
ing the conference.
Trilby Smith, secretary of
Habonim Dror, said that Zion-
ism's traditional goal of immi-
gration to Israel is obsolete.
"We need to either broaden our
focus or become extinct," she said
adding that Zionist organizations
lose members over the issue.
Rabbi Joseph Sternstein of
New York disagreed, however.
He warned that there was a
greater danger to the Zionist
movement if it gave up aliyah as
the highest Zionist achievement.

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Kari Kutinsky Provizer, M.S.W.

Director of Resident Services
Fleischman Residence / Blumberg Plaza
6710 West Maple Road • West Bloomfield • (810) 661-2999

tarnonds

uality and
uaranteed.

New Chief
For IDF

Jerusalem (JTA) — The Israel
Defense Force installed Amnon
Lipkin-Shahak as its 15th chief
of staff
Mr. Shahak replaces Lt. Gen.
Ehud Barak, who retired from
the military and is believed to be
considering a political career.
Previously deputy chief of staff,
the 50-year-old Mr. Shahak
played a leading role in negotia-
tions with the Palestinians..
A native of Tel Aviv, Mr. Sha-
hak joined the Israeli army in
1962. He was named commander
of the West Bank in 1983 and
was head of military intelligence
from 1986 until his appointment
as deputy chief of staff in 1991.
Mr. Shahak is considered close
to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin,
and there was little opposition to
his appointment.

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77

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