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U.S. Jews May Not Agree
With Israel's Right Wing
It appears that the political trends in the
United States and Israel are diverging.
Whereas the United States just rejected
a right-wing agenda, the right in Israel
is thriving. Reform and Conservative
rabbis in Israel are left powerless
because of the Orthodox monopoly,
not to mention tensions due to the IDF
exemption given to some of the
I would respectfully submit that the
right in Israel should carefully consider
its policies when it comes to seeking
support of American Jews, not all of
whom are rightists. It is very disconcert-
ing to be placed in a difficult situation
when Israel takes a right-wing position
and then expects reflexive unity from
American Jews regardless of whether
the Israeli policy is consistent with cen-
trist views. American Jews should not
feel compelled to defend every decision
of every Israeli government regardless
of its soundness.
Zionist Roots Led To
IDF Volunteer Work
My Zionist roots run very deep, reach-
ing down to the Drajne, Russia, of my
paternal grandmother, Sarah Levin.
It was in her father's library where
Theodor Herzl met with the town lead-
ers to discuss the creation of a home-
land for the Jewish people.
These roots travel over to Odessa, in
the Ukraine, where my paternal grand-
father, Isadore Levin, grew up among
the many early Zionist leaders who were
household names there at that time.
In fact, this past summer in Odessa,
I visited the Jewish Museum of Zionist
History. There I got the true flavor of
the times through primary documents,
original photos and artifacts, and being
in a home such as many lived in at that
time. I came to better understand the
influence of the early, secular Zionists
on the entire Zionist movement.
So, what would be the best way to
express my support and love for Israel?
Some friends and family wondered
why I would join Volunteers for Israel/
Sar-El, and live and work for a week on
an army base rather than work in a pro-
fessional capacity teaching English as
a second language to new immigrants.
I wanted my commitment to translate
into personal, direct efforts to relieve
the young soldiers from mundane tasks
so they could focus on their primary
duties and missions.
We had an amazing, diverse, interna-
tional group of 14 Jews and Christians. I
am proud that Israel has many non-Jew-
ish friends who are willing to volunteer
their time and energy.
One high point was working together
with Israeli women who had emigrated
Looking At The Mideast
After The Arab Spring
The Zionist Organization of America-Michigan Region
will host Dr. Mordechai Kedar, director of the Center
for the Study of the Middle East and Islam at Bar-Ilan
University in Ramat Gan, Israel. He will speak on "Israel's
Future After the Arab Spring" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday,
Jan. 23, at Young Israel of Oak Park.
Kedar drew attention with a June
2008 Al-Jazeera interview that was
broadcast all over the Middle East
in which he challenged the modera-
tor's assertion that "You cannot erase
Jerusalem from the Koran" by pointing
out that Jerusalem is not even men-
tioned in the Koran.
Kedar served for 25 years in IDF
Military Intelligence where he special-
ized in Islamic groups, the political
discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic press and mass
media and the Syrian domestic arena. The Los Angeles
Times' Edmund Sanders described him as "one of the few
Arabic-speaking Israeli pundits seen on Arabic satellite
channels defending Israel."
There is no charge. Co-sponsors are Young Israel of
Oak Park and StandWithUs Michigan. For information,
contact the ZOA at email@example.com or (248) 661-6000.
Dede Domstein, center, with her two
20-year-old IDF guides, Sgts. Amit
Ahava and Lea Grab-Sznyd
from Arab countries in the mid-1950s.
I was able to use my Hebrew, and I
learned a lot about these remarkable
women. I was grateful to all of my
teachers at United Hebrew School and
Midrasha as well as to Camp Ramah
for enabling me to learn Hebrew and
continue to build my close connections
with Eretz Yisrael. This experience was
one I will long remember!
For information on VFI/Sar-El, con-
tact Ed Kohl at (248) 420-3729 or mich-
firstname.lastname@example.org, or Paul Matlin at (248)
557-0004 or email@example.com . Visit
the website www.vfi-usa.org.
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January 3 • 2013