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November 10, 1995 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-11-10

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

Detroit Israelis
Share Grief

JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER

A

s an Israeli, Shanee
Bass feels she has a
unique perspective.
It was one she
wanted to share
with schoolmates at
Eagle Elementary School in Farm-
ington Hills in the wake of Yitzhak
Rabin's death.
After Shanee heard about the as-
sassination, she wrote down some
of her feelings.
"He was a brave Israeli prime
minister who started a peace
process with our Arabic neighbors,"
Shanee told her third-grade class-
mates. "He believed that we should
live in peace and bring the war to
an end.
"He was trying to give Israel a
new future that will be pink and
bright, peaceful and great. I hope
that his dream will come true, and
when I'm back in Israel, I will find
the Israel he dreamed of."
Israelis living in metro Detroit,
whether they opposed or support-
ed Mr. Rabin's efforts, expressed
outrage, anger and frustration over
their prime minister's death. They
could not believe the act was car-
ried out by an Israeli, and many
wished they were back home to
share the sorrow with other Is-
raelis.
Avi Zechory, a veterinarian in
Rochester Hills, explained, "Many
of us felt we couldn't be alone. My
first reaction was that I needed to
talk with someone who feels the
same way I do."
On Saturday evening, some
gathered to air their feelings about
the future of the peace process.
Jeff Kaye, community shaliach
(emissary) with the Michigan Is-
rael Connection, said one reason
it's difficult to be in the United
States now is because the infor-
mation from Israel is filtered.
"It's hard to tell if the details out
of Israel are an overreaction or un-
derreaction," said Mr. Kaye, adding
CI) he finds it hard to live in a place
I-U where after a day or so, life will re-
z
= turn to normal.
C-13
"The movie theaters are full
here, which is legitimate. But that's
u.,
---) not happening in Israel," he said.
' The question on everyone's mind
D
cc isn't so much what's happening
r.u - in Israel but what will happen
°
there.
U-J
= Zwika Ashkenazi of Troy is op-
1—
timistic the peace process will con-
tnue.
He said the people of Israel
i
will unify toward a goal of sup-

R8

porting peace activities. 'Those who
used to stay home will come out
and support it," he said.
"Moving forward with the peace
process will not be easier, but it will
be done," he said. "There is a lot to
be learned from the rhetoric and
the effect it can have on the fringe
elements. We have to learn how to
agree to disagree without verbal vi-
olence, which sadly leads to phys-
ical violence."
Ruth Buchzeiger, who spent the
last 10 years in the United States
and will return to Israel in June
with her family, does not agree
with Mr. Rabin's policies. But she
is convinced the peace process will
move forward.
The Oak Park resident thinks
Shimon Peres, now the acting
prime minister of Israel, was the
true force behind Israel's peace ef-
forts.
"The peace process is irre-
versible," she said. "Peres will con-
tinue along the same lines."
If Ms. Buchzeiger had her way,
the peace process would move at a
slower pace. She doesn't mind giv-
ing "land for peace," but she would
do it under different stipulations.
She wouldn't consider relinquish-
ing the Golan Heights to Syria and
is opposed to losing Hebron.
"I was deeply saddened and I
even cried (when he died)," she
said. "I didn't agree with a lot of Ra-
bin's political actions but still, it's
a human being who was murdered
in cold blood."
During Mr. Rabin's lifetime, he
met, even if briefly, with both Mr.
Kaye and Mr. Ashkenazi.
In 1992, Mr. Ashkenazi was in
Israeli Defense Forces officers
school when he and fellow officers
created a human tunnel for Mr.
Rabin to walk through as he en-
tered the school. "I don't remember
talking to him, but he walked right
by me."
Mr. Kaye was a student in Scot-
land the first time he met Prime
Minister Rabin. The two spoke
briefly. Mr. Kaye's most recent
meeting was on Miracle Mission II.
In May, the prime minister ad-
dressed hundreds of Detroiters in
Israel.
"I couldn't help but feel this man,
who has done so much, should have
been allowed to live out his days in
a different way," Mr. Kaye said. "I
imagine him a 95-year-old looking
out a window and seeing the fruits
of his labor." ❑

Miracle Song
With Hermelin

C

ommunity leader David Hermelin
stands with Yitzhak Rabin during
a Miracle Mission II gala in Tel
Aviv.

The crowd has just finished a song hon-
oring the trip, and the prime minister pre-
pares to address the 900-plus metro
Detroiters. ■

Bar-Ilan University: Did It Play A Role?

RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER

y

itzhak Rabin in 1993 received an hon-
orary doctorate from the school where
his murderer studied, and metro De-
troiters have long been this institution's
largest source of funding worldwide.
Bar-Ilan University (part-religious, part-
secular) is located just outside Tel Aviv. The
fact that the 25-year-old assassin, Yigal Amir,
took law classes there raises the question: Did
the school play a role in cultivating the young
person's extremism?

Bar Ilan's
regional director
Les Goldstein
disputed any
association
between his
school and the
motives of
extremists.

Leslie Goldstein, Midwest executive direc-
tor of Bar-Ilan, says no.
"Bar-Ilan stands for academic excellence
and preaches civility," he says. "(Amir) did not
learn his fanaticism at Bar-Ilan."
Earlier this year, West Bloomfield resident
Dr. Milton Shiffman received an honorary doc-
torate from Bar-Ilan. He says the school is in-
terdenominational. Many of the students are
Orthodox, but Orthodox doesn't mean fanat-
ic, he says.
"A lot of people look at the Orthodox wing
as being the ultra-right. That's not true.
They're not. Within Bar-Ilan the ultra-right
is a small splinter group, versus the rest of the
students who are sane," he says.
"You're talking about three or four kids.

That's all,"
Bar-Ilan's student body totals 20,000. By
design, 50 percent of the students are religious
and 50 percent are secular. Seventy percent
are Ashkenazic and 30 percent Sephardic. All
are encouraged to adhere to some traditional
Jewish customs. Men wear kippot. Women,
on the whole, tend to dress modestly.
"The school affords different types of peo-
ple a chance to associate, to become friends,"
says Mr. Goldstein, a Bar-Ilan graduate. "Mur-
der violates the principles upon which the uni-
versity was founded in the first place and upon
which it has evolved. Bar-Ilan preaches di-
versity and understanding between groups."
Bar-Ilan began more than 40 years ago in
the minds of Detroiter Phillip Stollm.an and
New Yorker Pinchas Churgin. It opened in
1955. Its biggest monetary contributions come
from Detroiters. Many honorary degrees have
been given to local figures, including Max Fish-
er and the late Philip Slomovitz, Paul Zuck-
erman and Leon Fill.
Mr. Goldstein does not think Mr. Rabin's
assassination by Yigal Amir will harm Bar-
Ilan's fund-raising campaigns for the school.
"It was a chance association," he says.
Sidney Kelman, a senior teacher at Bar-
Ilan who is visiting Oak Park on sabbatical,
also says the university is not to blame for the
actions of a criminal.
Although many Bar-Ilan teachers are Or-
thodox and right-wing and, although many of
its students are organized and also right-wing,
the school as a whole is apolitical, he says.
Mr. Goldstein reminds people that his uni-
versity staged a rally to protest the assassi-
nation. Furthermore, he adds, the bodyguard
who was injured by Yigal Amir's bullet is also
a Bar-Ilan student. Cl

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