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August 18, 1995 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-08-18

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

-

Raton, producer and host of
South Florida's Jewish Horizon
radio show.
"As long as you tell people
where the money is going, there's
no problem," said Mr. Friedson,
who often interviews YESHA
representatives and supporters
on his radio show.
Denying YESHA has misused
funds, Mr. Umansky said the
West Bank and Gaza Jewish set-
tlements need money for hu-
manitarian needs such as
medical clinics, religious schools
and daycare centers. Most Jew-
ish organizations, including the
United Jewish Appeal and Jew-
ish National Fund, do not sup-
port projects in the West Bank
and Gaza. And the Israeli gov-
ernment provides the settlements
only bare necessities, Mr. Leiter
said.
Noting that the West Bank
and Gaza settlements have re-
ceived more than their fair share
of government financial support
over the years — including hous-
ing incentives, low mortgages and
tax breaks — Mr. Rubin said
YESHA is exaggerating its needs
to elicit sympathy from North
American Jews.
"Saying they have been short-
changed by the Israeli govern-
ment is just a fund-raising tactic,"
he said. "The only places that
have been shortchanged in the
past 15 years have been the poor
neighborhoods inside Israel."
YESHA needs North Ameri-
can Jews' money primarily to fi-
nance its political activities,
including civil disobedience, Mr.
Rubin said, noting that Peace
Now plans to soon demonstrate
in support of the peace process.
While opposing Israeli gov-
ernment policy is not new to Jew-
ish American organizations —
Peace Now, for example, often
spoke out in North America
against the Likud government —
the right-wing has taken the de-
bate in the U.S. to an unprece-
dented level, Mr. Rubin said.
"(Likud leader Benjamin) Ne-
tanyahu, (former Defense Min-
ister Ariel) Sharon and (former
Prime Minister Yitzhak) Shamir
are lobbying against the Israeli
government in Congress," Mr.
Rubin said. "It's not that you
shouldn't criticize — but you have
to know where to draw the line."
YESHA not only exaggerates
its humanitarian needs, but also
cn twists the facts by claiming most
Israelis support it, Mr. Rubin
said.
=
In Israel outside the West
cc)
— Bank and Gaza, 70-80 percent of .
the Jews are "sympathetic to the
settlers," Mr. Leiter said.
c) In the West Bank and Gaza,
oC where Labor received 18 percent
• of the votes in 1992, 95 percent
w
cm of the settlers support their coun-
u-' cil's civil disobedience campaign,
f-- he added.
But Israeli newspapers re-
ported last week that a large mi-
nority of settlers do not support

44

Riot police cart away a right-
wing protester from an Aug.
8 demonstration near a Tel
Aviv intersection.

YESHA's civil disobedi-
ence campaign.
Some Israelis see the
settlers as "crazed fanat-
ics" who pose a danger to
the country's security,
Mr. Friedson noted. And
many American Jews
buy into this label.
"The problem is that
not enough people from
here have met people
from there (the West
Bank and Gaza settle-
ments)," Mr. Friedson
said. "Jewish organiza-
tions typically do not in-
clude visits over the
Green Line during their
missions (to Israel).
"There are yuppies
and professionals living
(in the West Bank and
Gaza settlements). The
settlers are normal peo-
ple."
Mr. Leiter, for one,
projects a rational image,
decrying violence, noting
he often reads the
columns of left-wing journalists
and declaring he is more devot-
ed to keeping the Jewish state a
democracy than to achieving his
goal of insuring Israel does not
give up any land.
"If this is what the people
want, then I will support it," he
said. "But this is not what the
people want."
In addition to Mr. Leiter's so-
cial dexterity, which his Israeli
colleagues are only now starting
to acquire, he displayed his
knowledge of the conduct of civil
disobedience last year when he
published Crisis in Israel: A Peace
Plan to Resist.
"When I told my Israeli col-
leagues, they looked at me like I
fell from the sky," said Mr. Leit-
er, who served as "mayor" of He-
bron's Jewish community from
1989 to 1992. "As an American,
I know what civil disobedience is
all about. Growing up, I used to
see students blocking streets at
the University of Scranton to
protest the Vietnam War."
American Jews — including
Mr. Leiter and Rabbi Shlomo
Riskin of Efrat, former spiritual
leader of the Lincoln Square Syn-
agogue in New York — are help-
ing lead the settlers' civil
disobedience campaign, accord-
ing to The New York Times.
This is one of the major prob-
lems with the settlers' campaign,
said Hirsh Goodman, editor-in-
chief of The Jerusalem Report.
"Many of the (American-born
settlers) never served in the Is-
raeli army and treat it like the
Vietnam protesters treated the
(National Guard)," Mr. Goodman
said. "They don't understand the
special relationship (between Is-
raelis and their military)."



Facts On The Ground

A history of Israeli settlements in the territories.

s

DAVID HOLZEL SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

eventeen days after
Israel won the Six-
Day war in June
1967, it annexed
east Jerusalem. Not
long after, it began
establishing settle-
ments in the areas it had cap-
tured from the Arabs — the Sinai
peninsula, the Golan Heights,
the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Allon Plan of 1967 set out
the ruling Labor Party's policy
on the territories, according to
Kenneth Stein, Middle East his-
torian at Emory University in
Atlanta. The government be-
lieved settlements enhanced the
country's security. It decided "Is-
rael's military frontier must be
the Jordan River," Dr. Stein
said. "So the government estab-
lished a belt of semi-military set-
tlements along the western
bank of the Jordan," Dr. Stein
said.
The settlements were "facts on
the ground," bricks-and-mortar
statements of Israel's determi-
nation not to be be forced back to
the pre-1967 lines.
In September 1973, the gov-
ernment adopted the Galili doc-
ument, which provided for the

David Holzel is assistant editor of
our sister publication, the
Atlanta Jewish Times.

growth and development of set-
tlements in the West Bank, on
Gaza's border with the Sinai and
in the Golan, Dr. Stein said.
The Yom Kippur War in Oc-
tober 1973 dealt a death blow to
the plan. "It was shelved to show
Israel's striving for peace," Dr.
Stein said.
The wars of 1967 and 1973 re-
leased a spirit of messianism in
Israel, particularly among the
Orthodox minority. By the Yom
Kippur War, a new political force
was taking shape — Gush Emu-
nim, or Bloc of the Faithful. Or-
ganized in 1973, the single-issue
group called for expanding set-
tlements and permanent Israeli
control of the territories.
"Israel was traumatized by the
'73 war," Dr. Stein said. Gush
Emunim combined Israeli fears
for their security in a hostile Arab
sea with national-religious ac-
tivism. "It was a hard concept to
combat if you were a leftist at the
time."
And the Labor government of
Yitzhak Rabin compromised with
Gush Emunim, rather than fight.
This marked a turning point in
Israel's settlement of the territo-
ries. It had been Labor's policy to
generally avoid settling in dense-
ly populated Arab areas. Gush
Emunim took its settlements to
the spine of the West Bank's hill

country, where the majority of
Palestinians lived.
In 1977, when Menachem Be-
gin swept Labor from power, the
transition was complete. Two
days after his election, Begin was
at a West Bank army post where
settlers had been removed from
the makeshift settlement of Elon
Moreh. 'There will be many more
Elon Morehs," Begin declared.
And he kept his word. For Be-
gin, the West Bank, or Yehudah
Veshomron (Judea and Samaria)
were not occupied territories, but
liberated Jewish lands. As such,
they were to be settled in their
entirety, never to be handed over
to Arab sovereignty.
Begin's government began a
massive construction program
and offered incentives for Israelis
to move to the territories. While
religious settlers made the head-
lines, most who took up the invi-
tation were secular Israelis
looking for cheap housing. They
settled in bedroom communities
just across the Green Line that
separated Israel from the West
Bank before 1967.
"From Begin onwards, you
have increasing population and
growth of settlements," Dr. Stein
said. "It became a nasty issue in
U.S.-Israel relations."
By the 1980s, Israel was
spending hundreds of millions of

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