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May 07, 2004 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-05-07

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Sanctity Trumps Barbarity

Tel Aviv


is leading a change in the Muslim orientation,
mouse chased by a cat has no chance
he said.
of winning unless it somehow con-
Well, maybe.
vinces the cat that it's a tiger. Similarly,
Israel is at peace with Egypt and Jordan. And
Israel can't act like a mouse trying to
Libya suddenly decided to rid itself of nuclear •
dodge the pursuit of Palestinian terrorists. It must
weapons. But if there's any shift among Arab
show it has the claws of a tiger.
League members away from a focus on Israel, it's
Shimon Peres, one of Israel's Nobel laureates,
because they're fighting terror from within, not
Tali Hatuel, 34
shared that analogy with the 568 par-
because they're suddenly chummy
Photos: Katif net
ticipants of Federation's Michigan
with the Jewish state. That internal
Miracle Mission 4 on the last day of a
strife has made progress and state-
10-day sojourn to
hood a Palestinian pipe dream.
Israel organized by
Peres spoke more like a visionary
the Jewish Federation
than I expected. He sees nanotech-
of Metropolitan
nology giving Israel the edge against
Detroit. "It's not an
terror through unparalleled fighting
easy war," he said in
advances. He sees political modera-
Hila, 11
Hadar, 9
an understatement
tion taking root in Iran. And he sees
on April 27.
America reshaping a liberated Iraq
In the ballroom of
into a model for other Arab states.
ROBERT A. the Tel Aviv Hilton,
"We shall see a different world,"
Peres said the 43-
he said. "I assure you with all possi-
month terrorist
ble conviction that this is the case."
assault against Israel
My take is tempered. The science
will take time and
of working with a measurement of
cost lives to repel, but he's optimistic.
one-billionth of a meter to make
Roni, 7
Merav, 2
"I don't have the slightest doubt that
weapons and protective gear
we shall win it, maybe sooner than we
stronger, lighter and more precise is in
think," he said.
its infancy. A new, reformed Iran is but a dream.
I like his spirit. He's still sharp as a tack at age 1
And Iraq remains a killing field.
80. Peres heads Israel's Labor Party and is a former
prime minister. He has 45 years of Knesset service.
Moving On
He was elected at age 16, two years after emigrat-
ing from Poland.
Peres called America a great partner in battling ter-
Peres is a nation builder, statesman and a good
ror. That theme was important. We had come
friend of Detroit Jewry. But given that right-
from Detroit, Ann Arbor and Toledo, nearly 600
Shimon Pe res
winger Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel's most
strong, to stand with Israel despite a State
dynamic politician, I wonder if Peres' liberal out-
Department warning against travel there.
look is right for the times. He continues to seek negotiation
Israel was carved from the ruins of the Shoah 56 years ago.
with the Palestinians at a time when the security barrier along
It's tiny compared to its neighbors and has just 6.5 million res-
Israel's border with the West Bank has been far more effective.
idents, far less than the state of Michigan. Yet it's a leader in
As prime minister in 1996, Peres ordered the killing of
scientific, security and medical breakthroughs.
Hamas leader Yehiye Ayash, a "ticking time bomb." Peres
Jews the world over are linked at the hip with our ancestral
opposed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's March order to kill
homeland. So how we interact in exploring frontier opportu-
Sheik Ahmed Yassin, believing the killing of "an old religious
nities there is key to our surviving as a people.
leader in a wheelchair coming out of a mosque" would incite
Peres put it well: "We shall have to give a new meaning to
more violence against Israel.
Jewish life. We are a rare people, one that went through war
But Peres had no problem with Israel taking out Yassin suc-
after war and never lost our moral judgment, one that has
cessor Abdel Aziz Rantissi. Peres backs Sharon's plan to unilat-
arrived in a new age where you have to have an open mind to
erally pull some or all troops and settlements out of Gaza.
, "We have nothing to do in Gaza," Peres said. "It doesn't
Peres didn't say anything edgy or new But he drew a stand-
help our economy or our military position. And it is costly
ing ovation from an inspired, but weary group of travelers
morally. We don't want to dominate another people."
whose task back home will be to show continued emotional
He's right, we don't. But I respect the settlers' courage in
and financial support for our Israeli mispachah as well as for
claiming a God-given right to the land. Settler Tali Hatuel,
Jewish needs locally and elsewhere in the Diaspora. Many
34, was eight months pregnant when she and her four little
mission-goers talked about embracing a Jewish ritual not now
girls died May 2 in a hail of Palestinian gunfire while driving
a part of who they are; I hope apathy doesn't intervene.
toward the Gaza settlement bloc of Gush Katif to protest
Peres' talk unwittingly took us back to the message of Rabbi
Sharon's pullout plan as Likud Party loyalists voted on it. The
Berel Wein, a sage who helped us welcome Shabbat on the
Voice of Palestine radio station dubbed the killers "heroic
Has Promenade overlooking Jerusalem four days earlier.
martyrs," but they were really barbarians. There can be no
"Our task," the rabbi said, " is to be good people -- to
meaningful negotiation with people so uncivilized.
sanctify- the world, to stand for truth and for right and for jus-
Peres favors leaving the West Bank, but I agree with Sharon:
tice, and not to be afraid and not to waver. That really is what
keep settlement blocs considered strategic.
the state of Israel is all about."
Peres praised Turkeys good ties with Israel. "I think Turkey
And that really is why mission-goers braved the intifada.




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