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March 26, 2009 - Image 87

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-03-26

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

I

Spotlight

no We Star.

J Street poll contends U.S. Jews back
Obama administration's Mideast path.

Hilary Leila Krieger

The Jerusalem Post

Washington

A

new J Street poll finds that
large majorities of American
Jews support U.S. President
Barack Obama's active engagement in
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even if
that means exerting pressure and pub-
licly disagreeing with Israel.
American Jews would also like the
U.S. to deal with a Palestinian unity
government that includes Hamas in
pursuit of a peace agreement, a posi-
tion at odds with current U.S. and Israel
policy shunning Hamas.
The poll, commissioned by the dovish
pro-Israel lobby and released Monday,
also reports that American Jews are
evenly split between those who support
a U.S. military attack on Iran if it is on
the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons
and those who oppose a military attack
in those circumstances. The finding
mirrors a similar result in an American
Jewish Committee poll last year.
Relating to the recent elections in
Israel, the survey also asked about
Avigdor Lieberman, who is likely to
become Israel's next foreign minister.
With 62 percent name recognition,
the poll found that Lieberman has
only a 27 percent favorability rating in
comparison to 74 percent for Obama,
58 percent for incoming Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and 53 percent for
current Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
They also found that 69 percent dis-
agreed with Lieberman's views in which
he "has previously called for the execu-
tion of Arab members of Israel's parlia-
ment who met with Hamas and whose
main campaign message called for Arab
citizens of Israel to sign a loyalty oath to
the Jewish state in order to prevent their
citizenship from being revoked!'
Additionally, 32 percent said
Lieberman becoming a senior min-
ister in the government "weakens my
personal connection to Israel because
Lieberman's positions go against my
core values" while 58 percent said it
would not affect their feelings towards
Israel and 10 percent said it would
strengthen them.
The poll was conducted among 800
adult American Jews between Feb. 28
and March 9 using e-mail invitations

to a web-based pool of respondees,
with a +/-3.5 percent margin of error.
The survey reflected the demograph-
ics of the Jewish community, with
approximately 8 percent of participants
Orthodox Jews, according to the poll-
sters.
Leaders of other Jewish organiza-
tions, however, questioned some of
the findings and questions concerning
Lieberman. One pointed out that his
position on the loyalty oath — which
would have been required of all Israelis
and not just Arabs — had virtu-
ally no chance of becoming part of a
Netanyahu's government policy.
Another argued that the question
was misleading, reciting his nega-
tive policies rather than emphasizing
his support for civil marriage and a
two-state solution, positions many
American Jews welcome.
"If they asked the question a differ-
ent way they'd get a different answer:'
the official charged. Street has a set of
agendas ... and they're trying to show
the American Jewish community is uni-
fied behind their objectives, so they con-
ducted a push poll showing American
Jews are against Lieberman!'
Jim Gerstein, the Washington-
based pollster who conducted the
survey, defended the questions about
Lieberman. He explained, "We asked
the question based on what he is
known for here [in America] and what
defines him here. If we were going to
ask a question about Netanyahu, we
wouldn't ask about his position on the
environment."
The poll found that American Jews
approved of the U.S. playing an "active
role" in the peace process by a margin
of 84-16. Those numbers changed only
slightly, to 81-19, if the active engage-
ment included pressuring Israelis and
Palestinians, and down to 66-34 if it
meant the U.S. would publicly criticize
both sides.
Additionally, 69 percent of American
Jews supported the U.S. working with
a Palestinian unity government that
includes Hamas "to achieve a peace
agreement with Israel" as opposed to
31 percent opposed to such outreach.
Israel has strongly opposed contacts
with Hamas, and so far the Obama
administration has continued a pol-
icy of not engaging with the militant
Islamic group. 11

Joining Fora

Detroit Science Center and
Technion's museum to collaborate.

Dr. Ronen Mir of MadaTech and Kevin Prihod of the Detroit Science Center
with the sister-museum agreement.

T

he Detroit Science Center
and MadaTech, Israel
National Museum of Science,
Technology and Space of Haifa
announced a "sister museum" agree-
ment to collaborate on exhibits and
educational programs based on cut-
ting-edge science and technology.
Under the auspices of the Technion-
Israel Institute of Technology, one
of the world's leading science and
technology universities, MadaTech
is Israel's largest museum and com-
parable in attendance to the Detroit
Science Center.
Museum leaders met recently with
educators and community volunteers
in Detroit to formalize the partner-
ship, which will allow the sister insti-
tutions to share resources, expertise,
exhibit and program development,
and audience development strategies.
"MadaTech is very excited to develop
the sister-museum partnership with
the Detroit Science Center," said Dr.
Ronen Mir, general director (CEO)
of MadaTech. "As one of the leading
U.S. science museums, the Detroit
Science Center's experience will enable
MadaTech to offer cutting-edge pro-
grams and exhibits to Israeli students
and families."
The collaboration on exhibits and
programs will further the museums'
shared vision:
• To inspire visitors to pursue and
support careers in engineering, tech-
nology and science.
• To promote the rich cultural heri-

tage of science and enhance science
literacy among all ages.
• To increase diversity and inclu-
sion, so that people of all backgrounds
and socio-economic environments
will feel welcome in our institutions.
"MadaTech is the ideal museum
partner for the Detroit Science
Center's first-ever sister-museum col-
laboration," said Kevin F. Prihod, pres-
ident and CEO of the Detroit Science
Center. "We look forward to working
together to develop new exhibits and
programs to share with our visitors."
Another objective of the collabo-
ration is to introduce Detroiters to
Israeli innovation in technology, while
promoting both museums as venues
for tourism and cultural exchange.
"We are thrilled to be a part of
this exciting and unique project','
said Allan Gelfond, regional direc-
tor, Detroit Chapter of the American
Technion Society. "Both communi-
ties, here in Detroit and in Israel, can
take great pride in this collabora-
tion, exposing people of all ages to
the wonders of science and to new
opportunities for discovery at both
museums!'
Housed in an historic landmark
building on the Technion campus,
MadaTech is Israel's premier science
museum. The Detroit Science Center
is one of the 10 largest science muse-
urns in the United States. Together,
both institutes serve and affect the
lives of over a million visitors each
year.



March 26 a 2009

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