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May 30, 2003 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-30

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Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:


Dry Bones

A Mission Of Hope

here's no better time to affirm
allegiance to Israel than today,
lyar 28 (May 30) — Jerusalem
Day. This day of commemora-
tion provides the perfect backdrop to con-
sider joining the fourth Miracle Mission
to Israel April 18 28, 2004.
Visiting the biblical land of our fore-
bears is always uplifting. But a visit is
bound to be even more special when it
becomes a sojourn of 400-800 Jews. The
Jewish News is proud to join the Michigan
Board of Rabbis as co-sponsors of the
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit's Michigan Miracle
Mission 4. The adult, non-solic-
itation mission is 11 months
away, but it already has spurred
a buzz in the community. More than 250
people have paid deposits so far; June 30
is the last day to get the $150 price dis-
The reason to go is stronger than ever.
Israelis have withstood 32 months of
Palestinian terror to defend the Jewish
state, the only democracy in the turbulent
Mideast. In the midst of war, they've seen
a drastic fall in tourism, commerce and
investment, which has nearly drained the
economy. They've also seen at least 787
Israeli and foreign lives lost to terrorists
bent on driving the Jews away and claim-
ing Israel as theirs.



Life goes on in our ancestral homeland,
but it's worse for most.
Israelis need us to buy their goods to
stimulate the economy. But they also need
us to embrace them and lift their hopes. So
we'll visit Israel as a community amid tight
security next April and just, by our pres-
ence, provide emotional comfort.
Jerusalem Day marks the day in 1967
that Israel regained control of the holy city
and access to its holy places in the Six-Day
War. The city that King David built 3,000
years ago continues to resonate as the spiri-
tual heartbeat for Jews everywhere.
The April mission will visit
Jerusalem for six days and Detroit
Jewry's Partnership 2000 region in
the Central Galilee for two days.
It's open to all — religious or not — with
non-synagogue buses available. Itineraries
will be tailored for first-time and repeat vis-
itors. Volunteer opportunities will be plen-
We're the 11th largest Jewish communi-
ty in America, but our Israel missions are
among the largest that are sponsored by a
single community. So bank on it: Miracle
Mission 4 will stir souls and change lives
— for mission-goers and Israelis alike.


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For an application, call Sally Krugel, mission
director, (248) 203-1485, or visit the Web
site www.thisisfederation.org

Beginning Phase I

n September 2000, the Palestinians, under
the leadership of Yasser Arafat, plunged off a
plateau of tranquility and progress into an
abyss of violence. On Sunday, Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon's cabinet voted to throw
them a lifeline.
Israel's approval of the road map steps toward a
permanent peace between the Palestinians and the
Jewish state is a remarkably generous step and one
that we hope Israel will not live to regret.
If — a mighty big "if" in view of past
Palestinian behavior — the new adminis-
tration of Prime Minister Mahmoud
Abbas does actually crack down on the terrorists
of the West Bank and Gaza, progress will be possi-
Sharon deserves full credit for both sense and
statesmanship. As a patriot and a general, he pro-
moted the settlement movement. As prime minis-
ter, he has developed the strategies that have
allowed the Israeli military to check much of the
potential violence. Now, he is proposing to step
back, substituting a diplomatic activity for the
"facts on the ground" of Israel's settlement expan-

sion and military presence in terrorist hotbeds.
A lifelong hawk, Sharon was remarkably blunt
about the move: "You may not like the word, but
what's happening is occupation. Holding 3.5 mil-
lion Palestinians is a bad thing for Israel, for the
Palestinians and for the Israeli economy. We have
to end this subject without risking our security."
That pragmatic assessment is right on target. It
is not acceding to terrorism to recognize that
Israel can do no better than hold its own
economically and socially until the
Palestinians retreat from violence. If say-
ing the words "Palestinian state" make it
possible for Abbas to do what he must, then Israel
is saying those words — which, of course, it was
willing to say before the intifada (Palestinian
uprising) began 32 months ago.
President George W. Bush also deserves credit
for his willingness, at long last, to put himself visi-
bly behind the process of bringing these historic
antagonists together. He has wisely rejected the
advice of those who said that he should not
become entangled in a peace process with no
assured outcome. Now he is correct to build on


his demonstration in Iraq of America's military
might to back up his diplomatic goals. History
would not forgive him if he sat on his hands.
He must be unrelenting in his pressure on the
Palestinians to respond to Israel's brave move with
the actions that the road map demands they take
to curb their own apostles of violence. He must
also address the continuing reluctance of the Arab
states to recognize Israel's right to exist within
secure borders. It is disgraceful, for example, that
Egypt would balk at allowing Sharon to come to
a meeting with Bush and Abbas in Sharm el-
Sheik or that the Saudi Arabian leaders continue
to spurn Jewish leaders when their own crown
prince has proposed pan-Arab recognition of the
Jewish state.
There is no guarantee that the road map process
will advance even to the charted endpoint of
Phase I. That depends on what the Palestinians
and their Arab allies do next and what Israel con-
sequently feels secure doing in response.
So we accept the start of Phase I with deep skepti-
cism. But we also cherish something we haven't felt
for 32 months — a smidgen of hope.




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