O pi nion
Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:
Refolding A Mideast Map
() n a recent interstate highway trip, we need-
ed to consult a somewhat aged road atlas.
It wasn't much help in a couple of states
where it listed the old sequential exit num-
bers instead of the new numbers that correspond to
the distance from the state's southern or western
We couldn't help thinking about that
atlas last weekend in the wake of President
Bush's announcement that he intends to
advance a "road map" for peace between
Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states. As much
as we believe that peace is absolutely necessary for
the Palestinians as well as for Israel, we know that
America, Russia, the United Nations and the
European Union, none of which is impartial, can-
not impose a quick end to decades of vicious com-
bat ignited by Arab intolerance of the Jewish state.
We also know that peace cannot be accomplished
under a plan that relies so heavily on outdated
assumptions about the Mideast. America and Israel
will be looking for Exit 212 when the Arabs want to
turn at Exit 39.
None of the particular steps of the plan — draft-
ed by America, Russia, the U.N. and the E.U. —
are mistaken in themselves. The Palestinians and the
Arab states must, for example, end the violence
against Israelis and affirm the right of the Jewish
state to exist with Jerusalem as its capital. Similarly,
Israel must work for the creation of a viable
Palestinian state and must end its military presence
in the areas that the Palestinians had administered
before September 2000. The Palestinians must
adopt a truly democratic government while Israel,
protecting the settlements vital to its security, must
stop the growth of other settlements in areas that
will become part of the new Palestinian state.
All of those conditions were understood as part of
the hopeful Oslo process a dozen years ago and,
until the Palestinians launched the current intifada
(uprising), could have been accomplished. Now,
however, the core of mutual trust has been shat-
tered. And the road map makes no adequate sugges-
tions for rebuilding it or, more likely, for replacing it
with more realistic assumptions.
Israel, burned by half a dozen Arab-launched
wars, isn't about to compromise its securi-
ty by returning to pre-1967 borders or
turning Jerusalem over to international
governance. Palestinian groups like Islamic
Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are not
going to give up trying to attack Israelis inside and
outside of the Green Line.
An effective peace plan
would, for insance, have
international forces dis-
arming the Palestinian
terrorists just as the U.S.-
led coalition is trying to
disarm Iraq's Saddam
Hussein. An effective
peace plan would spell
out to Israel exactly what
areas of the West Bank
and Gaza the
Palestinians must have to
be a viably cohesive state.
But President Bush,
Baghdad, has never
been deeply interested
in building the new
relationships that could
end the violence. He
may believe that top-
pling Hussein will com-
pel the Arab states to
understand the -virtues
Toward A Greater Detroit
of once-vital neighborhoods behind.
However, part of being good Jews is not separating
from the larger community.
For example, despite the rush from older suburbs
toward newer and fancier neighborhoods, many Jewish
families and congregations remain vibrant in the Oak
Park-Southfield area — aided by Federation's successful
In looking to assist the inner city, syna-
gogues, schools and youth groups participate
in Habitat for Humanity and contribute
generously to food banks serving Detroiters.
And a dedicated band of Jewish Detroiters remains
active in the Jewish Community Council, Jewish
Coalition for Literacy, Southeast Michigan Coalition
on the Environment and Jewish Life and other human
A relative newcomer to our area is the national ecu-
menical organization group known as MOSES
(Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength),
which set up shop locally six years ago. Through this
group, clergy and their congregations have made a dif-
ference on issues ranging from community policing to
n recent years, Detroit Jewry has witnessed and
welcomed a renaissance of Jewish community
feeling, an era of increased attention to "taking
care of our own" — our synagogues, schools, sen-
ior care and service organizations.
Detroit's Jewish community also has rec-
ognized the very real needs of our brothers
and sisters in Israel — needs that we have
met, and continue to meet, through
Partnership 2000 and other programs of the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.
But let us not neglect the Detroit neighborhoods that
nourished us, or the people who now live there. Drive
along Seven Mile, Woodward, Schaefer, Linwood —
what you see is a preponderance of "For Lease" signs.
The woods to our north and west have yielded to malls
and highways; meanwhile, too many offices, stores and
homes in Detroit are rundown and neglected.
The easy answer is to move farther and farther from
the inner city and its problems, leaving the empty husks
of democracy, but it is more likely to bring new
instability to the region, with the Islamic fundamen-
talists fomenting nationalist sentiment to intensify
the attacks on the "Zionist entity" that they see as
an American proxy. With 250,000 American troops
surrounding Iraq, the Arab world is convinced that
Washington, at war with terrorism, is more likely to
condone than curb Israel's military efforts to hunt
down terror's organizers in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Mideast is changing. The old roads seem like
deadends. The atlas drafted in Oslo doesn't describe
the routes. The Bush "road map" can stay in the
glove compartment until the events of the next
months show us more clearly where we really are.
public transportation. Rabbi Joseph Klein of Oak Park's
Temple Emanu-El, the only Jewish congregation in the
group, credits MOSES with successfully pushing a tran-
sit bill all the way to Lansing last year, only to have the
bill vetoed by Gov. John Engler. It will likely be reintro-
duced this year, this time with the support of Gov.
Keeping metro Detroit's older communities vital is
not only a moral imperative, it makes good economic
sense. Industrialists, investors and tourists do not flock
to areas where the homes and businesses are in decay,
notes MOSES executive director William O'Brien. And
stopping uncontrolled growth will help preserve some
land in its natural state for our grandchildren.
We agree with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs,
the voice of 135 Jewish community councils and relat-
ed groups, which, in its official mandate, supports poli-
cies to control urban sprawl as well as "protect open
spaces, wildlife habitats and agricultural lands in devel-
oped areas; and revitalize cities and older suburbs."
While we work to keep the Jewish community
strong and vital, let us remember that we are part
and parcel of the larger community around us. ❑