On Tu B'Shevat, Israel Needs
To Take A Look At Its Roots
Tu B'Shevat, the festival of the New Year of figurative bloodshed to point out other concerns
Trees, falls on the 15th of Shevat, on Sunday about discrimination in areas of education, job
evening. It is a holiday where we celebrate the placement and overall social status within Israel.
blossoming of new fruits. Jewish tradition holds
The revelation of the blood dumping created
that we eat 15 types of fruits at the Tu B'Shevat further ironies. At around the same time, in
seder. The day is widely celebrated as a symbol South Africa, President Nelson Mandela lectured
of revival and redemption of the land from the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on the
importance of racial, religious and gender toler-
For Jews, symbols are a powerful force. In fact, ance. Jewish South Africans even protested the
our commentary frequently uses them as analo- announced meeting of their president with Mr.
gies for real-life situations. How ironic, albeit Farrakhan.
painful, that Tu B'Shevat's spirit of renewal and
Here we are as Jews demanding tolerance
faith was challenged in Israel this week, some- from the world and then watching as Israel, the
thing of great concern to we Jews in the Dias- supposed standard of acceptance of every Jew
from everywhere, delivers a crushing blow to fel-
Israel's commitment to all Jews of any back- low Jews who happen to have darker skin.
ground is not in question. In fact, when the coun-
If there was a concern that the blood of Ethiopi-
try dramatically airlifted the Ethiopian Jews ans might be more vulnerable to carrying the
to their ancestral homeland in 1986, and then HIV virus, then it would have been more re-
again in 1991, it marked the first time ever that sponsible for Israeli government leaders to ad-
whites had risked their lives to bring black dress the situation with the Ethiopian Jewish
Africans from Africa to freedom.
leadership as equals, and as fellow Jews.
Israel, however, falls short of its own message
With a sensitivity toward peace with the Pales-
of hope and acceptance for every Jew, regardless tinians a reality, perhaps Israel needs to height-
of skin color or country of origin, when it shows en its own awareness and feelings toward its own
a disregard for human integrity. This is what people, be they white, brown or black.
was reported recently when Israeli officials ad-
Most importantly, it needs to do this in the
mitted the secret dumping of blood donated by spirit of redemption. After all, redemption as a
Ethiopian Jews for fear it was contaminated with people is what Israel is all about. If, on Tu B'She-
the virus that causes AIDS.
vat, the tree is cause for celebration, Israel needs
Rightfully, the Ethiopians protested en masse. to examine its shoresh, its roots, and learn that
Unfortunately, that protest led to violence. How- the sustenance of its life is the many branches
ever, the Ethiopians used the symbolism of this connected to the same trunk.
The Presence Of Peace
Means A Growing Economy
HARVEY BRONSTEIN SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
No one knows for sure what the future will hold
for Israel or for anyone else.
I am, however, optimistic with regard to Is-
rael; and I believe that, with great caution, the
peace process will work. I do not have illusions
about Mr. Arafat or about President Assad. We
know that both of them have not always exhib-
cf) ited exemplary behavior.
In fact, the opposite is true. Yet they, along
, with King Hussein, President Mubarak, King
= Fand and all of the others, will, I believe, for their
`-'2 own reasons, come to terms.
Of course, this means that Israel will give up
additional land and that it will have to, at least,
o give former enemies a chance. What is in it for
cc these Arab leaders? The primary consideration
Ili is economic.
As the world converts from a century of war
= to a century of economic might, a Middle East of
Israeli technology, brainpower and industry and
the oil reserves of the sur-
rounding Arab lands,
plus the phenomenal ge-
ographic position of Israel,
will all help Israel to be-
come a world economic
Israel always was at
the center of three conti-
nents with major ports on
the Mediterranean and
But Israel was unable
to take great advantage of
the situation until now,
due to the Arab boycott.
Things are quickly chang-
ing. Israel is already trading with over 100 coun-
tries and the amount and scale of trade are
increasing geometrically each month.
ECONOMY page 10
Harvey Bronstein is professor of business
administration at Oakland Community College.
At Joint Program
ness that leads to suicide is a
negation of our belief that God
is directly involved with each in-
dividual and can change his lot,
even under the worst conditions.
It is for these reasons that we
must voice our protest to the ac-
tions of Dr. Kevorkian.
We hope that the government
recognizes this for what it is. We
pray that it takes the proper
steps to ensure that this does not
I would like to bring to your at-
tention that one of the pictures
included in your article on Jan.
19 about the Jewish Parents In-
stitute (JPI) was taken at a joint
program for JPI students and
leaders from Habonim Dror Ken
The program was planned
and led by Habonim Dror lead-
ers Shana Salinger, Sharon Ram
Council of Orthodox Rabbis
and Segev Phillips and included
of Greater Detroit
games, group-building activities,
Hebrew practice and Israel
study. As great believers in the
value of collaboration between
groups in the community, and The Shock
the importance of unity and co- Of Loved Ones
operation among us, we in
Habonim Dror would like to see The article "Falling From The
other groups and organizations Sky" on Jan. 26 missed a very
join us in similar operations like important aspect of the accident
the very successful one shown in by not mentioning the part
the above-mentioned article. I played by my wife, Jean. Unless
would appreciate it if you bring you have gone through similar
all this to the attention of your life-threatening or life-altering
circumstances, the comments
that we often hear or read about
Gadi Raviv concerning the part played by
Habonim Dror Shaliach the spouse or significant other
sound like mere words.
They certainly did to me in the
past. Without the support and
understanding of my wife, I don't
know if I could have maintained
my positive attitude. When you
experience the real need for com-
In light of the recent actions of fort, understanding and daily
Dr. Kevorkian in the state of care, the statements are no
Michigan, the Council of Ortho- longer just words but reality.
dox Rabbis feels that it must
The three of us in the airplane
clearly state its opinion on were not the only ones who
this very emotional and tragic were affected. The emotional
shock experienced by loved
A basic tenet in Judaism is ones is deep and can be long-last-
the belief that an individual does ing. I may be able to recover
not have the authority to termi- most of my physical losses, but
nate his life. Our bodies are on how do you recover from the
loan to us from God. It is only thought of losing a loved one
God, the master of the universe whom you have lived with for 40
and the master of our bodies, years?
who can determine how our bod-
During the interview, Mr.
ies can be treated.
Jacobs asked me if my "life
Our Torah, the word of God, flashed before my eyes," and I
teaches us that one may not responded negatively. However,
terminate the life of an innocent while in the hospital with plen-
human being. Both suicide ty of time to think, my attitude
and murder are considered the on the relative importance of
greatest crimes against God and work and family obligations
changed. Life is too short and
In addition, a fundamental re- unpredictable.
ligious concept is that God is a11-
powerful and can transform
even the worst situation for the
better. Therefore, the hopeless-