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October 25, 2002 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-25

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Heart Of Israel

Young Israeli speakers express their nations resolve
on Michigan campuses.


Special to the Jewish News


have been more useful in helping to
counter the conference at U-M. But
though they did go to campus for
Shabbat dinner the night before the
conference began, there was so much
activity under way regarding the con-
ference their major impact was through
an article in the Michigan Daily student
"I have realized in the past two years
that right now, from the Palestinian
leadership point of view, it is not a
question of land, Jerusalem, 'right to
return', etc. The main issue is their
recognition of Israel's right to exist,"

n the shadow of the "Second
Student Conference on the
Palestine Solidarity Movement"
conference at the University of
Michigan Oct. 12-14, a trio of young
Israelis made the rounds of local college
campuses as part of the newly formed
national "Israel at Heart" program.
The program is a private initiative
begun by Joseph Low, an American Jew
who saw the need to bring articulate
and well-prepared young Israelis to
communities across
the United States.
A delegation of
47 Israelis spent
three weeks criss-
crossing the coun-
try, with logistical
support from the
Israeli government,
campus Hillels and
Jewish organiza-
In the Detroit
area, three 26-year-
old students —
Avishai Ratsabi and
Kim Gordon, grad-
uates of Hebrew
Avishai Ratsabi and Kim Gordon had a dialogue with pro-
University in
Arab students protesting their visit to Wayne State's
Jerusalem and Dani
Abelow of Bar-Ilan
University in Ramat Gan — spoke
said Ratsabi. "You can see it in
about their lives in Jerusalem and their
Palestinian textbooks that they don't
mention Israel, you can see it in TV
concerns and hopes for the future.
They visited the University of
Gordon, whose brother survived a
Michigan and Wayne State, Eastern
Michigan and Michigan State universi-
suicide bombing in a Jerusalem cafe
ties and conducted radio, television and where he was tending bar, reminded
newspaper interviews.
students at Michigan State that, "we're
a lot like you. We both study, go to
According to Miriam Starkman,
executive director of Hillel of Metro
parties and movies, like youngsters
Detroit, at Wayne State, pro-Arab stu-
around the world. But we have to think
dents symbolically tied their hands
three times before we do anything."
behind their backs and placed duct
"You take a risk every time you step
out of your house," she said.
tape over their mouths to protest the
Israelis' visit to the Hillel. But they
Abenow told students at Wayne State
that he has a feeling of hopelessness
eventually unbound themselves and
joined the group for some frank, but
about the two sides achieving a durable
"interesting and politically constructive
"We attempted to negotiate and
reach an agreement and it failed. It's
She hopes it will lead to a greater
distressing because things look bleak.
understanding of what remain strongly
divergent perspectives.
Violence is going to continue," he
said. II
Ratsabi had hoped the group could

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