Tapestry from page 44
taurants that dot the country.
Arab Israelis also were notice-
able as I heard the calls of the
Islamic muezzin (call-to-prayer
leader) urging the faithful to
prayer several times a day, and
as I heard the music and saw the
fireworks in the distance from
Arab weddings and other cel-
ebrations that were held in Arab
neighborhoods or villages on
The domestic news headlines
of the week included protests
over the rising prices of food,
especially cottage cheese; the
over abundance of garbage and
litter strewn in public areas; and
the problems of traffic congestion
and auto accidents.
I celebrated my aunt's
91st birthday at her home in
Jerusalem; anticipated the
impending birth of a cousin's
grandchild, which will add to
the Israeli branch of my family's
fourth generation residing there;
marked a friend's nearly 40 years
of aliyah; and reminisced on the
35th anniversary of my having
been an ulpanist (Hebrew learning
program participant) and volun-
teer at Kibbutz Ramat Yochanan
in the north. I unexpectedly
"bumped into" several Detroiters
from back home as I strolled the
streets of central Haifa and mid-
town Jerusalem. I witnessed a
total lunar eclipse. I was caught
in an unseasonable rainstorm in
Israel's north. And I ended up
quoted in an AP reporter's story
about Jerusalem, which appeared
around the world.
No Opinion Shortage
I sought out and heard a range
of Israeli opinions on the
Palestinians, the prospects for
peace, U.S.-Israel relations and
Israel's politics, views as diverse
as the more than 100 countries
from where Israeli Jews emanate.
Do Israelis and Palestinians
see peace in the same way? Are
the Palestinians committed to
an "end of conflict"? Is Israel's
Jewish majority in the Jerusalem
region threatened by illegal
immigration of Palestinians from
the West Bank? Have President
Obama's recent statements
served to strengthen Palestinian
positions at the negotiating table
to Israel's detriment? And with
the security barrier in place,
effective Palestinian-Israeli secu-
rity cooperation (described to me
as the best ever) and Palestinian
leader Mahmoud Abbas' oft-
stated rejection of violence, do
Israelis view their individual safe-
ty as secure enough now to cede
land in a peace deal?
A major concern of most
Israelis — expounded upon at
a briefing I attended at Media
Central, an agency that serves
as a resource for foreign jour-
nalists (I was invited there by
friend and former Detroiter Idele
Ross) — is the lack of move-
ment by the Palestinians on the
so-called "right of return." Why
should Israel take risks to create
a Palestinian state if the refugees
won't go there but instead contin-
ue to insist on returning to Israel?
Views on other issues were
equally as diverse. On Jerusalem,
the range went from one extreme
of ceding Arab neighborhoods to a
newly created Palestine (or mov-
ing Arabs out with incentives or
other inducements) to rebuilding
the wall, which separated east and
west Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967.
Holocaust Memorial Center
Zekelman Family Campus
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Sam & Lauren Bienenstock
Partners in life and in business, metro Detroit
philanthropists Sam and Lauren Bienenstock are
the founders of Bienenstock Court Reporting
and Video, servicing the legal profession in all
Sharon Rennert, award-winning filmmaker and
granddaughter of the famed Tuvia Bielski who
was the leader of the Bielski Partisans in Poland,
will be the evening's keynote speaker.
Opportunities to place ads in the evening's commemorative journal
are still available. For information on the event, to place an ad or to
reserve tickets, please contact Selma Silverman at the HMC
248-553-2400, ext. 12 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
A concern of Israelis involved in
hasbara (explaining Israel's legiti-
macy, actions and place in the
world) is the continuing effort to
break the arms blockade against
terrorist Hamas-controlled Gaza
by using flotillas of so-called
humanitarian ships. The ship's
passengers portray themselves
as peace activists but are bent
on confronting Israeli troops
engaged in enforcing the block-
ade. Their disobeying of Israeli
commands on the high seas puts
them at risk for injury or death.
Ships entering Gaza ports
would be much more difficult to
police against arms smuggling,
creating greater dangers for
Israelis living along Gaza's border.
So Israel is determined to keep
its blockade ironclad.
I went to Israel with many
questions but did not get every
answer I requested. I did return
with a revitalized love and com-
mitment to our Jewish state and
homeland and people (and to
my family and friends there), an
appreciation of Israel's standing
on the moral high ground of the
world's stage and of the impor-
tance of American Jewish sup-
port for Israel. H
Allan Gale is associate director of the
Bloomfield Township-based Jewish
Community Relations Council of
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July 14 • 2011