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January 12, 2006 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-01-12

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When Word Came

Metro Detroiters give views on
Israel's political future.


Harry Kirsbaum
Staff Writer

veryone interviewed at the
Jewish Community Center in
West Bloomfield on Jan. 6 said
they felt terrible about the news of
Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's
stroke and the end of his political
career, but they differed in their opin-
ions of what would happen next.
Doris Werner of West Bloomfield
wanted to see Sharon's new party,
Kadima, stay in power, but she had
doubts about Ehud Olmert, the acting
prime minister.
"I don't know if Olmert is going to
have enough votes, but it would be a


good thing," she said. "There isn't going
to be another Sharon, unfortunately,
who's very strong and determined, and I
don't think anyone can fill his shoes."
Phil Barach of Sylvan Lake doesn't
want to see Israel go towards the left. "I
hope Israel is smart enough not to have
too liberal of a guy step into Sharon's
place," he said. "I think Israel's becom-
ing too much like the United States;
they're becoming too liberal, too pas-
sive, and they better remember that
they're in a tough situation and they're
surrounded by bad people."
Chuck Ellis of Farmington Hills said
Israel should elect a like-minded leader.
"Hopefully, they get someone in there



with the same viewpoints and I think
it's good that they're taking a first step
towards peace by giving some land
back. I think it was a good decision."
Glen Bassirpour of Farmington Hills
thinks differently. "If [Benjamin]
Netanyahu can recapture the Likud
Party, which would be a wonderful situ-
ation, then he would be the only viable
alternative, and possibly the one who
could bring Israel back to where they
belong ... establishing a homeland for
the Jewish people and not continuing to
cave to Arab and European demands,"
he said.
Dr. Sam Millstone of Farmington
Hills agreed. "I'd like to see Netanyahu

Dr. Millstone

get back in it," he said. "He's less into
giving away. I don't' believe in giving
land away. If you give things away, you
get more terrorism. If you pull back, it's
a sign of victory to them and the Arabs
fight harder!'
Shlomi Hamer of West Bloomfield
said the Kadima Party is not done, "but
it won't be the same without Arik
Sharon!' He called Olmert an amazing,
nice guy, but he's not politiCally experi-
"He did a great job as the mayor of
Jerusalem, but he needs more time and
the election is in March — he won't
make it. Everyone will pull out of
Kadima because it's such a mixture." ❑

Presidential Perspective

Federation president and past president share
views of Israel's political situation.

Harry Kirsbaum
Staff Writer

ewish Federation
of Metropolitan
Detroit President
Peter Alter and Immediate
Past President Larry
Jackier offered their
insights on what to expect
from Israel politically in
the wake of Ariel Sharon's
Peter Alter
"Sharon has set out on a
path that has taken a lot of
courage," said Alter. "I'm
hopeful that now that the path has been
set, others will be able to follow in his
very big footsteps.
"It's hard to know whether the
Kadima political party is bigger than
Sharon," he continued. "There are some
significant Israeli leaders who have
joined and are on the list for Kadima,

but it's often in times of
crisis that a great leader
can emerge!"
Jackier said that if
Sharon is able to talk and
gives a nod to a successor
it would have a "signifi-
cant impact." If not, then
it's too early to tell.
"There's a fundamental
question as to whether the
Kadima Party can even
stay together without
him:' Jackier said. People
gravitated to him from
very different perspec-
tives."Without him to keep it together, I
don't think anybody knows where it
could go."
Jackier doesn't believe that Acting
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will be
able to generate "a real strong consen-
sus behind him. He's sitting in the cat-
bird seat, but I don't think it's going to

the famous line, "The
be him."
Palestinians never lose an
Jackier called the new
opportunity to lose an
head of the Labor Party,
Amir Peretz,"an amateur.
Jackier said the
"He has no particular
Palestinians have a long
platform on security
history of doing the wrong
issues and hasn't really
thing at critical moments
said very much. These are
in their history.
the things that are signifi-
He noted the "interesting
cant to most of the Israeli
coincidence" that Hamas
populace, so I don't see
declared the truce with
him as being a particularly
Larry Jackier
Israel over within hours of
significant factor."
Sharon's stroke.
Jackier and Alter said
Nothing's happened
any increase in terrorist
since then Jackier said,
activity might have great
but, "if they start to send
influence on the Israeli
homicide bombers into Israel ... that
could push the electorate towards
Palestinians "keeping things quiet,
[Benjamin] Netanyahu.
which you'd like to think would make
"One thing you can say about
sense, would be more likely to bring a
Netanyahu. People feel that he will be
moderate Israeli government to power,
or to maintain the direction that Sharon very, very aggressive in protecting
Israel's security." ❑
has taken," said Alter. But, he invoked

January 12 • 2006


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