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August 09, 2002 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-09

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Losing The War For The Temple Mount

For those of you who were equally
concerned about the Elan Village situ-
ation, I hope that this article helps to
alleviate your concerns.
On a personal note, our beloved sen-
iors living at many facilities (American
House, Danto, Coville Apartments,
Farmington Hills Inn, Fleischman,
Menorah House, Sunrise, the Court,
to name a few), still need visitation
from our community. Let's do our part
and give an hour or two a week to
bring a little happiness into the lives of
our "treasures." Stop, for a moment,
and project yourself into the future.
A suggestion would be to speak
with Shirley Jarcaig of the Jewish
Chaplaincy Program at (248) 661-
2999. She would be more than
thrilled to speak to you about the
opportunities (and personal rewards)
. that would await you. El

attack Israel for the Shehada incident.
Many congregations, he said, had even
wanted him to condemn the mythical
massacre in Jenin. But he refused, and
was proven correct.
"There has been substantial unity [in
support of Israel] because there has been
substantial unity," Rabbi Yoffie said.
Because unlike those times in the past,
such as the 1982 war in Lebanon or the
1987 intifada, when all too many
American Jews allowed themselves to be
stampeded by the anti-Israel crowd, this
time we know what is at stake. Even
hard-core political liberals understand
that after September 2000, the old argu-
ments of right and left became obsolete.
The only thing left was to stand with
Israel and to pray for its success.
The memory of the gruesome evi-
dence of the countless terror attacks
on Israeli civilians has been imprinted
on our hearts and minds. The over-
whelming majority of American Jews
know Israel offered the Palestinians a
generous peace two years ago. And
they know it was Arafat who chose
war instead of that peace.
Yes, a few dozen Jews can always be
found to demonstrate against Israel — or
in favor of media that is biased against
Israel -- but this signifies nothing.
No one should question their right
to say what they want. But the pre-
tense that their actions represent a
crack in the Jewish consensus is a joke.
A few loudmouths notwithstanding,
American Jewry has passed a crucial test
of solidarity. Despite our grief at the
continuing toll of the conflict, Israel's
friends should take heart from this
development. Israel's enemies should
note this moment with despair. El

Waqf blatantly and illegally
protest by the Sharon govern-
carting away thousands of tons
ment. Over a period of time,
of "debris" from the Temple
and more aggressively in the
area, some of which has been
last two years, the Waqf has lit-
found to contain large columns
erally bulldozed away historical
and other relics dating back to
proof of Temple artifacts in the
the Temple period. Stern
area, carrying out extensive
showed how the Waqf has
excavations in violation of
paved over ancient stones indi-
Israel's antiquity laws. Clearly,
the political goal of the Waqf is ROSENBLATT cating Israel's ties to the spot
and brought in water from
to remove evidence of any
Jewish connection to the holy
Commentary Mecca to sanctify the site to
Muslims. It is only a matter of
site and introduce Muslim ties
time, he said, until the Southern Wall of
as part of the Palestinian claim to
the Temple Mount will collapse due to a
Jerusalem as its capital.
water problem unless repairs are made.
Ian Stern, an American-born tour
guide in Jerusalem, recently gave a series
of lectures in the New York area, com-
Trend In Leadership
plete with photo slides, to call attention
many in the audience expressed
Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of to the travesty of science, religion and
and wonder, Stern patiently
the New York Jewish Week, can be reached
on page 32
by e-mail at Gary@jewishweek.org

hile the military conflict
between Israel and the
Palestinians continues,
there is one war the
Jewish state appears to have lost —
without even a struggle. That is its
claim to the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem and the Jewish people's con-
nection to the First and Second
Temples as the holiest site in Judaism.
Though it is hard to imagine, the fact
is that the Waqf, the Muslim religious
authority that controls the Temple
Mount (thanks to Israel's post-Six-Day-
War beneficence), has been quietly and
steadily undermining Jewish connec-
tions to the area without any serious

Marketing Tolerance Within Israel

Hai a

uite aside from Israel's major
problems in its relations with
the Palestinians, the-country
has no lack of internal prob-
lems as well. The differences between
Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews, while
they appear to have been smoothed
over, still erupt with animosity from
time to time. The growth of unem-
ployment has exacerbated the socio-
economic gap between rich and poor.
But the most virulent antagonism is
that which exists between the religious
community and the secularists. Hardly
a week passes by without some overt
manifestation of that hostility by one
side or the other.
A study just completed by the
Guttman Center of the Israel
Democracy Institute for the Avi Chai
Foundation sought public opinion on
the subject. Some 82 percent assessed
these relations as poor, and getting
Among the issues causing friction
were the lack of civil marriage,
enforcement of observance of the
Sabbath and perhaps most strongly,
the failure of ultra-Orthodox yeshivah
students to serve in the armed forces.
The recent passage by the Knesset of
a bill formally exempting these stu-
dents — numbering in the thousands

Carl Alpert is a U.S. native who made
aliyah in 1952. He a former leader
with the Zionist Organization of
America. His e-mail address is

freely, exchange views and
— from military service,
seek to find common ground
served to pour oil on the
without animosity. The
flames of secular indignation.
Ministry of Education has
On the other hand, when the
been most cooperative; there
Dutch government recently
is little doubt that in its limit-
banned kosher slaughter of
ed way, Gesher has had some
animals, a leader of the secu-
success. Still another organiza-
larist Shinui party found it
tion that claims some degree
necessary publicly to congrat-
of success is known as
ulate Holland.
Sovlanut (tolerance). The great
The Guttman Center poll
Spe cial
of the Jewish population in
Comm entary national gap still exists, how-
ever, and extremists on both
Israel indicates that 43 percent
sides still erupt in occasional
consider themselves non-reli-
fierce denunciations of the others.
gious and an additional 5 percent call
One morning not long ago, a very
themselves anti-religious. That is a bit
large number of Israelis who picked
less than half the population. Of the
up their home-delivered Hebrew daily
remainder, 35 percent of Jews register
paper at their front door found with it
as traditional, 12 percent as religious
a colorful brochure featuring a strong
and 5 percent are haredi (ultra-
military order: A Command! The text
continued: "We have no other land —
That many religious practices have
"a Command for Reconciliation (Tzav
been carried over into the field of
Piyus)." The paper spelled out a pro-
national or folk custom is evidenced
gram for dialogue, calling for holding
by the fact that 98 percent of Israel's
fast to principles, but with respect for
Jews affix a mezuzah to their door-
differing opinions.
posts; 85 percent participate in a
Information was given on publica-
Passover seder of one form or another;
tions, seminars, television programs
71 percent always light Chanukah
and other means being utilized to
candles; and 67 percent fast on Yom
overcome prejudices in the field of
religion. The sponsor is the Avi Chai
More than 30 years ago, Dr. Daniel
Tropper formed an organization called 'Foundation, a relative newcomer to
the Israel scene, and reputedly with
Gesher (Bridge), which seeks to bridge
resources totaling many millions of
the gap between the religious and the
secular. With the limited means at its
The program puts up posters in reli-
disposal, Gesher has been conducting
gious neighborhoods and even ads in
seminars and discussion groups at
which participants from both sides,
ALPERT on page 32
children and adults alike, can talk

8/ 9



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