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December 29, 2005 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-12-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

w_ orid

n I GF S T

Jewish Agency Boost

Moscow/JTA — A Russian Jewish finan-
cier is poised to give a $50-million dona-
tion that may prove critical to the Jewish
Agency for Israel's activities in the former
Soviet Union. The gift from Arcadi
Gaydamak should help the agency, whose
budget in the region has decreased over
the last few years, fund Zionist education
projects. The 53-year-old billionaire, who
divides his time between Moscow and
Israel, told JTA that the agreement
between him and the Jewish Agency is
almost finalized.

U.S. Menorah Lit

Washington/JTA — The U.S. homeland
security secretary helped light the
National Menorah in Washington. Michael
Chertoff, who is Jewish, took part in
Sunday's ceremony. Chaya Schreiber, a 12-
year-old girl from New Orleans whose
home and school were destroyed by
Hurricane Katrina, addressed the crowd
of several hundred people who attended
the ceremonial lighting, the Associated
Press reported.

Al Jazeera: Pawn?

Baghdad/JTA — An Iraqi imam accused
Al Jazeera of being an Israeli pawn.
According to the Middle East Media
Research Institute, Jalal Al-Din Al-Saghir
said in a Dec. 16 sermon that the Arabic
news channel is "known to be guided by
the Mossad," Israel's spy agency. He also
accused "the money of the criminal
Saddam" of funding the network. Most
observers consider Al Jazeera highly criti-
cal of Israel.

Munich: No Regrets

Ramallah/JTA — The Palestinian master-
mind of the attack on Israeli athletes•at
the 1972 Munich Olympics said he had no
regrets. "We did not target Israeli civil-
ians," Mohammed Daoud, former head of
the PLO faction Black September, told
Reuters on Tuesday. "Whether a pianist or
an athlete, any Israeli is a soldier."
Daoud was speaking from his home in
Syria after the U.S. release of Steven
Spielberg's new movie "Munich," which
dramatizes the slaying of Israel's 11 ath-
letes and the reprisal assassinations that
followed. Spielberg has voiced hope that
his film will help peace efforts, but Daoud
accused the director of ignoring the


December 29 e 2005

Palestinian version of events.
"If he really wanted to make it a prayer
for peace he should have listened to both
sides of the story and reflected reality,
rather than serving the Zionist side
alone," Daoud said.
According to Spielberg's producer,
Kathleen Kennedy, the film did draw on
the advice of a Palestinian consultant and
was previewed by distributors from the
Arab world. Some Jewish viewers have
complained that the film places too much
emphasis on the Palestinian perspective.

Moral Equivalence?

New York/JTA — Steven Spielberg's new
film does not posit a moral equivalence
between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli
Mossad agents, Abraham Foxman said.
"The Palestinians are projected as ter-
rorists, brutal in killing innocents without
any hesitation:' said Foxman, national
director of the Anti-Defamation League,
who attended a recent screening of the
movie, which tells the story of Israeli
reprisals after the 1972 massacre of its
athletes at the Munich Olympics.
"The Israelis are responding in counter
terrorism and they project a human
dimension. They think and they are chal-
lenged by the enormity of taking human
life. They are humane, they are consider-
ate, and they are struggling with issues
the world is struggling with today:' he

Indeed, Foxman said the film "is a justi-
fication for counterterrorism?'

Boycott Iran Leader

Washington/JTA — The umbrella organi-
zation for North American Jewish groups
called for a boycott of Iran's president.
The Conference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations said it has
written to leaders around the world, ask-
ing them to refrain from contact with
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad until he
renounces his recent Holocaust denial
and his calls to destroy Israel.
"The world has paid a heavy price in
the past for ignoring such violent rhetoric
and philosophy of hatred:' the chairman
of the Conference of Presidents, Harold
Tanner, and its executive vice chairman,
Malcolm Hoenlein, said in a statement,

Anti-Semitism Fight

Brussels/JTA — The president of the
European Commission renewed pledges
to fight anti-Semitism. At a pre-Chanukah

meeting this week with representatives of
the Brussels-based Rabbinical Center of
Europe, Jose Manuel Barroso said that
"fighting anti-Semitism, and intensifying
interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue are
a priority of my commission." He said, "I
know very well the great contribution that
European Jews have always been making
to the European Union, to the causes of
pluralism, of peace and to our values of
tolerance, our common goal of a united

mass in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. "We
wish to pray for peace in the Holy Land.
Look 0 Lord, upon this corner of the •
earth, your homeland, which is so very
dear to you:' he said, in front of thousands
of faithful and a worldwide broadcast
audience. Let your light shine upon it! Let
it know peace!"


Immigration Is Down

Moscow/JTA — Immigration to Israel
from the former Soviet Union decreased
by 10 percent in 2005. According to the
Jewish Agency for Israel, 9,124 immi-
grants from the former Soviet republics
arrived in Israel in 2005. The number
accounted for 40 percent of all immi-
grants to Israel this year. Aliyah from
Ukraine was down 24 percent in 2005,
while immigration from Moldova was
down 8 percent and immigration from
the Caucasus and Central Asian countries
was down 13 percent. At the same time,
the number of immigrants from Belarus
rose by 26 percent and from the Baltic
states by 13 percent. Immigration from
Russia also increased slightly.

Israel Defenses

Washington/JTA — Congress passed $600
million for U.S.-Israel cooperative defense
programs. The allocation, $150 million
more than the White House request, •
passed the House of Representatives on
Dec. 22 as part of the Defense Appropria-
tions Bill.
The measure also passed the Senate.
The earmark includes $133 million for
the Arrow Anti-Ballistic Missile System,
$37.4 million for the LITENING Targeting
and Navigation Pod, $22 million for
Reactive Armor tiles for Bradley fighting
vehicles and $17 million for the ITALD
aircraft decoy system.

Call For Peace

Rome/JTA — Celebrating his first
Christmas as pope, Pope Benedict XVI
appealed for peace in the Middle East.
"On this night, when we look toward
Bethlehem, let us pray in a special way for
the birthplace of our Redeemer and for
the men and women who live and suffer
there," Benedict said Saturday at midnight

Tsunami Recalled

New York/JTA — An Israeli aid group
helped launch a photo exhibit in tsunami-
ravaged Sri Lanka on the first anniversary
of the deadly tidal wave. Along with an
international group known as Project
Galle, IsraAid is launching the exhibit of
1,000 photographs depicting encounters
between volunteers and Sri Lankans dis-
placed by the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami,
which killed more than 200,000 people. A
school rebuilt by IsraAid opened over the
weekend in Sri Lanka.

Jewish Lottery

London/JTA — A Jewish lottery was
launched Sunday in Britain. The lottery
aims to raise money for charities in
Britain, with some of the money ear-
marked for Jewish schools. The lottery
has a jackpot equivalent to $17,000.

Israel's Critics

The Charge:

As reported recently in USA Today and
the Detroit Free Press, Israel is building
a security wall that completely encloses
Palestinian cities like Bethlehem, and
makes travel difficult for Palestinians
and tourists alike.
eral, Western and egalitarian.

The Answer:

Israel's security barrier is mainly a
fence — only 21 of 600 kilometers is
wall, and there are numerous access
gates, and even a dialysis station along
its route to ease the conditions of resi-
dents who are affected. Along with the
construction of the barrier, military
checkpoints on roads are being dis-

— Allan Gale
Jewish Community Council
of Metropolitan Detroit

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