Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

January 15, 2009 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-01-15

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


Standing United For Israel


few days ago, I, my wife, Linda,
our three teenagers and 370 other
Metro Detroiters returned from
Federation's Family Mission to Israel.
It was an interesting time to be there.
On our first day, dozens of Hamas rockets
slammed into the country, causing injuries,
destruction, and terror. Well, to most of the
world, it wasn't so interesting. Just one more
day of eight years of days of rockets shot at
Israeli civilians. Just one more day of not a
word of international protest.
On our second day, Israel began its
defensive action to stop the rockets. The
news suddenly filled with reports of
Hamas threats to fire missiles farther into
Israel, of threatened suicide bombings and
of possible missile attacks from Hamas's
Hezbollah allies in Lebanon.
Despite these scary reports, I heard not
one of our fellow travelers express any
desire to change our agenda or shorten our
10-day trip. Personally, I felt lucky to be
there at this time to support Israel; I know
many others felt the same way.

My kids, who had hardly
ever watched the news before,
were glued to the TV, switch-
ing between CNN, Fox and Sky
News. They learned first-hand
how different news outlets pres-
ent the same events so very
differently. Although it was their
first visit to Israel, I was deeply
touched as they asked, "Were
any of our soldiers or civilians
hurt today?" In that short time
they already felt a deep connec-
tion to the Israeli people and
Every Israeli I met supported the
operation against Hamas. They spoke
not in terms of revenge-or punishment
— although this would be understandable
— but almost in sadness, that they have
no choice but to act to stop the terror.
Over and over, I heard ein breira, "there
is no choice and ein lanu eretz acheret,
"we have no other country:' And although
Israelis were saddened by civilian casual-

ties in Gaza and want the Israel
Defense Forces to avoid them
as much as possible, they right-
ly put the blame on Hamas
for attacking Israelis and then
using their own people as
human shields. We saw the
courage, determination, and
humanity of the Israeli people.
We can all draw inspiration,
strength and pride from their
example because they fight not
only for themselves, but also
for all who love freedom.
During our trip, I met a
young commando who goes undercover
and fights terrorists before they can enter
Israel. I shook his hand and thanked him
for ensuring that my family has an Israel
to visit. He said, "That's nothing. What you
do in America to support us is far more
So, I have returned more committed
than ever to ensure that we do our job to
support Israel in her quest for peace and

security. To make sure the Israeli people
know they're not alone and that the world
knows it, too. To speak out against the
extremist alliance of Hamas, Iran, Al
Qaida, Hezbollah, Syria and others. To not
let the world forget the name of Israel's
kidnapped soldier in Gaza, Gilad Shalit.
We ended our trip in Jerusalem. At the
Western Wall, we saw large crowds cel-
ebrating as young people became b'nai
mitzvah even as a battle to protect them
raged only an hour's drive away. I looked
at the crowds and at the Temple Mount
and thought to myself, through 4,000
years of history, we Jews know where we've
been. And by standing united together, as
we are tonight, and with God's help, we
know where we're staying.

Ken Gold is president of the Bloomfield
Township-based Metro Detroit Chapter of the
American Jewish Committee. He delivered

this speech at the Detroit Jewish commu-
nity's solidarity rally for Israel on Jan. 18 at
Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield.

Economy And Environment

Washington, D.C.


11 across the globe, businesses
are going bankrupt and people
are losing their jobs and being
evicted from their homes in a financial
meltdown that appears to be the worst
since the Great Depression.
We have a choice. We can stick our heads
in the proverbial sand and ignore global cli-
mate change while trying to slap financial
Band-Aids on our collapsing economy. Or
we can acknowledge that the environment
cannot be pushed off until later.
Just because we have one major prob-
lem to fix does not grant us permission
to neglect a second, which is at least as
important. We need to be creative and
smart enough to focus on both our econ-
omy and our environment; our and our
children's world depends upon it.
The statistics on climate change are
uncontroversial. Ice caps are melting, sea
levels are rising, and air and ocean tern-
peratures around the world are increas-
ing. Eleven of the past 12 years weigh
in amongst the warmest of the past 150
years. But one aspect of this tragedy has
remained neglected — the class compo-
nent. The victims of climate change are
overwhelmingly poor, and they have con-
tributed the least to the problem.
One of the largest culprits is America,

2005 levels will cost the poorest
which consumes more energy
20 percent of the U.S. popula-
than any other nation. If we
tion between $750 and $950 a
take this as a challenge, it cre-
year — which they obviously
ates a tremendous educational
cannot afford.
opportunity. We could send the
And to add one more con-
message to developing countries
cern, our reliance on oil also
— the Chinas and the Indias of
empowers some of the world's
the world — that we take our
worst tyrants. Ahmadinejad's
role as a nation with an oil-eat-
and Chavez's threats are only
ing disorder seriously and are
Rabbi Steve
frightening if they have the
taking great pains and enduring
billions of barrels of oil that
great expenses to conserve and
we crave so desperately. What
to reduce carbon emissions.
would Sudan look like if Al-
The countries that so idolize
Bashir had no oil?
everything American on TV
Resolution involves simultaneously
and the Internet could learn a lesson in
embracing two goals. We must put an end
national responsibility from us. Instead,
to our oil addiction, and we must do a bet-
we ducked out of the Kyoto Accords and
are confronted by scientific consensus that ter job of promoting and using cleaner fuels
carbon emissions must drop by 80 percent that don't harm the environment. Personal
and institutional environmentalism are
in the next 40 years, which makes Kyoto's
important, but they are not the real chal-
request for a 7 percent reduction sound
lenge. We need advocacy and laws with
teeth. We also need to invest in and use
As the rich pay for their extravagant
renewable fuels like wind and solar power,
lifestyles with clean air and water, the rav-
geothermal heat, and nuclear power, if it
ages of climate change hit the poor the
can be used safely.
hardest. Erratic temperatures hurt the
Part of this is thinking bigger. Let's con-
most when you can't afford a home. And,
vince our governments to fight the skepti-
to be honest, the costs of actually chang-
cism surrounding the financial viability
ing our energy usage will also fall most
of alternative energy sources with massive
heavily on the poor.
research that turns the theories into reali-
Estimates say that even reducing green-
ties. An environmental scholar who was in
house gas emission by just 15 percent of

my office recently suggested a "Manhattan
Project" for climate change. "This crisis is
every bit as existential as World War II," he
told me.
President-elect Barack Obama has
already pledged 2.5-million new green
jobs by 2011, so let's help him realize
that goal, perhaps with help from the
$125 million authorized by the Energy
Independence Act for green-collar job
Let's stop poking our heads in all the
wrong places — off-shore oil fields, tar
sands and coal mines. Instead, let's put
our faith and our energy into disciplining
ourselves better and listening to the new
ideas of our brightest thinkers.
Barack Obama encouraged us to dream,
and we must buttress those dreams with
faith and new leadership. We must hold
our government officials' feet to the fire, if
necessary, to make sure no other crisis or
inertia distracts us from climate change.
According to the Jewish sages, God
took Adam through the Garden of Eden
and showed him the beautiful trees.
"Everything that I created is for you:'
God said. "Make sure you don't corrupt it,
because there is no one after you to fix it."
As it was in Eden, so it is today. 0

Rabbi Steve Gutow is president and CEO of the

Jewish Council for Public Affairs.


January 15 0 2009


Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan