Recalling The Mission
Of A Prickly Sabra
Rabin Legacy Holds
Hope For Teens
DAN ZIMMERMAN SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
All ax Fisher turned to the blue-
uniformed soldier sitting be-
side him at the Israeli
It was the spring of 1967.
Egypt had closed the Gulf of
Aqaba to Israeli shipping. War seemed in-
"What do you think?" Mr. Fisher asked the
stranger. Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's chief of staff,
responded, "I hope they don't rob me of the el-
ement of surprise."
The Cabinet gave Gen. Rabin that option,
and in June 1967 Israel retaliated in the Six-
Day War, wiping out the Egyptian and Syrian
sir forces and capturing Jerusalem's Old City,
the West Bank and Gaza.
That meeting also led to a 28-year friend-
ship between then-United Jewish Appeal Pres-
ident Max M. Fisher of Detroit and Israel's
"Rabin always wanted to hold the post of
minister of defense, even when he was prime
minister," Mr. Fisher recalled this week. "He
was always a soldier and he was always ob-
sessed with the security of the people of Israel.
That was his first task."
Max Fisher and
of the real leaders because he had the courage
Mr. Fisher called Mr. Rabin "a typical
Yitzhak Rabin at a
to do this."
Sabra," the Israeli cactus that is prickly on the
1977 Allied Jewish
Mr. Fisher believes the peace process will
outside and sweet on the inside.
Campaign meeting. move forward without his friend, "but there
"You always knew where you stood with him.
are minefields. People think you can change
And he always kept his word. Israelis knew
hate into love in one easy lesson, but life
they could trust him. He was a brilliant strate-
gist, and his analysis of what was going to take place doesn't work that way.
"Peace is an evolutionary process.
"Years ago, I told (former U.S. Secretary of State)
During Mr. Rabin's tenures as Israeli ambassador
to the United States, defense minister and prime George Schultz that peace is like a long tunnel. You can
minister, he and Mr. Fisher became good friends. be in darkness for miles, but then there is a pinpoint of
The two would visit during Mr. Fisher's numerous trips light that keeps getting bigger and bigger."
Mr. Rabin and Shimon Peres were a good combina-
to Israel on UJA or Jewish Agency business, in Wash-
ington, or at Mr. Fisher's Franklin and Palm Beach tion, Mr. Fisher said. He called Mr. Peres a man of vi-
sion and Mr. Rabin a pragmatist. In the aftermath of
Mr. Rabin's death, Mr. Fisher thinks Mr. Peres won't
"He loved to play tennis," Mr. Fisher said.
have the benefit of the full support of Israelis, who don't
But Mr. Rabin's serious nature was never far away.
"Only when he felt Israel was secure was he willing to believe in his toughness.
However, "the assassination awakened Israelis and
take a chance on peace," Mr. Fisher said. "He didn't be-
lieve that Israel could remain a Jewish state if it had Jews all over the world," Mr. Fisher said. "The reaction
2 million Arabs. That's why he was in favor of giving will be more support for peace. Israel is divided, but
more people realize they have to carry on for peace.
back land for peace."
"I say there's no alternative." ❑
"I think Yitzhak Rabin will go down in history as one
"He was really,
fought for peace."
— Lauren Kastan,
a Hillel third grader
PHOTO BY BOB BENYAS
ALAN HITSKY ASSOCIATE EDITOR
s a Jewish teen-ager, I look at the Israeli
prime minister as a role model and the
leader of my people," said David Gold-
enberg, a Berkley High School senior.
"The things Rabin accomplished in his life will
never be forgotten. He was a hero."
Mr. Goldenberg, president of Michigan Region
AZA, was one of many students at Berkley eager
to share their thoughts Monday morning as
prospects for peace in Israel, a reality just days
ago, appeared threatened by the act of violence
that took Mr. Rabin's life. Many young adults,
leaders in their own right, were concerned.
"I was extremely shocked when I heard about
Rabin's assassination," said Jeremie Kass, a se-
nior who, earlier this year, spent a semester in Is-
rael on Project Discovery. "I was even more
disgusted when I found out that a Jewish Israeli
had done it. If he wanted to challenge the peace
process, killing one of the men able to make
changes was not the right way," he said.
But Israeli-born Segev Phillips, a senior at
Berkley and co-president of the Zionist youth or-
ganization Habonim-Dror, knows that violence
in Israel is a reality. He was horrified, but not sur-
prised by the assassination.
"We must remember that terrorists on both
sides are extremists who will not be happy with
anything but the eradication of the opposition. We
must make peace for the good of the state and the
people, and not allow it to be stopped by radicals,"
The hope that peace in Israel will prevail over
violence is shared by many students, non-Jews
Chaldean student Bashar Cholagh, a partici-
pant in American-Arabic and Jewish Friends ac-
tivities, said, "It seemed Rabin was killed for no
reason ... over land. Since he was killed by a Jew
and not an Arab, the peace process shouldn't be
affected. I'm sure the new prime minister will
be able to work toward peace with Arafat."
Though sad in the aftermath of the assassi-
nation, students expressed a general feeling of
confidence that the death of Mr. Rabin would not
be the death of peace negotiations.
On a day of remembrance for the Israeli leader,
Jana Wolock, regional vice president of the Na-
tional Conference of Synagogue Youth, said, "I
think everyone feels the same way. As much as
each of us agrees or disagrees on the peace process,
it is a terrible loss when a Jew who believes so
deeply in peace is killed." [:1
Dan Zimmerman is a senior at Berkley High
"We're all human
beings. Even though
it's never happened,
I think its unrealistic
to think a Jew
wouldn't kill a Jew."
"It takes a mentsh of
a mentsh to
It takes a man of
great vision and
— Sue Becker,
— Marty Levine, adult educa-
tion committee chairman,