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A Jewish Perspective
Editor's note: David Gad-Harf; executive director of the Jewish Community.
Council of Metropolitan Detroit, offers his comments on • the elections:
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he election was a mixed bag for the Jewish community. On the nation-
al level, the Republican control of Congress will not affect the level of
Congressional support for Israel. In fact, the new Congress will contain
some replacements for House and Senate members who were vocal critics of
The Jewish community's domestic agenda will be threatened, however, as
more conservative members of Congress control the flow of legislation. We will
have to be on guard for a re-emergence of the social conservative agenda on
church-state separation issues and more restrictive welfare and immigration leg-
The biggest challenge facing the Jewish community in the area of government
relations is that of building ties to the many new players in the state legislature.
Due to term limits, many Michigan House and Senate committee members will
be brand new to Lansing. This provides us with a fresh opportunity to present
our agenda, placing a premium on our active presence in Lansing.
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As of the Nov. 6 unofficial count,
Newman had garnered 1,424,333
statewide votes. Her Oakland County
total of 743,532 was more than any
other U-M candidate earned in any
Although U-M President Mary Sue
Coleman and the board have both
rejected the idea of divestment, the issue
hasn't gone away, said Newman, who
earned an honors degree in history from
the university before proceeding on to a
law degree from George Washington
University in Washington, D.C.
She pledged to investigate why stu-
dent fees are being used to fund confer-
ences such as the SAFE (Students Allied
for Freedom and Equality) conference
on Palestinian rights and divestment that
included anti-Israel rhetoric.
"All our students are paying mandato-
ry community service fees," she
explained. "At the last meeting of the
Community Service Commission, SAFE
was approved for $5,300 to help fund
Winning the second regent position
was District 1 Rep. Andrew Richner, R-
Grosse Pointe, who represents the
Grosse Pointes, Harper Woods and the
east side of Detroit. His unofficial vote
count was 1,279,171.
Richner, who is not Jewish, published
a pamphlet on the reasons to oppose
divestment, independent of any other
With both undergraduate and law
degrees from U-M, Richner said he
looks forward to "working with board
members of both parties to serve the
university community and the state of
In addition to the divestment issue, he
is "particularly focused on doing what
the board can to restrain tuition hikes
and on garnering state support for the
Meanwhile, lawyer Richard Bernstein
won his first elected post, as a member
of the WSU Board of Governors, with
1,257,322 votes. The other available seat
on the WSU board went to Diane
"I think the whole divestment issue is
totally anti-Semitic and it's not going to
be tolerated," Bernstein said. 'As far as
I'm concerned, it's very important to get
Jewish people on boards. To allow for
divestment is to allow anti-Semitism to
"Ultimately, one of my main priorities
as a governor at Wayne State University
is to see that the university gets its fair
share of state funding," he said.
"WSU gets half the funding of U-M
and MSU, and it's the 20th largest uni-
versity in the country, with 31,000 stu-
"Most importantly, WSU is a
Carnegie I research facility. There are
only three in Michigan — U-M, MSU
and Wayne. Yet it still gets only half the
Bernstein said he ran for the WSU
board "because, as a blind person, I can
help organize and mobilize the disabled
"The fact I was able to succeed in a
statewide race shows that people once
thought of as vulnerable can be a force
in the world."
Jewish News Sta f f M.iters Shelli Liebman
Doi frnan, Harry Kirsbaum, Diana
Lieberman and Sharon Luckerman and
IN Associate Editor Alan Hitsky con-
tributed to this report.