The Crisis That is Ours
News out of the Middle East comes every minute, and the reaction of the world's powers follow. The United States government has sent Zinni and Powell to mediate and advise. For the first time publicly, Israel is being advised by the U.S. to pull out of the occupied territories and create a Palestinian state. Yet while the U.S. sends troops to Afghanistan to destroy terrorism, Israel wages the same kind of war on its own soil. How can one support the U.S. efforts on foreign soil and not defend Israel's attempts to vanquish terrorism in its very midst?
Meanwhile, the Left in Israel is shrinking as those who have supported Israeli withdrawal and Palestinian statehood lose faith in the possibility of withdrawal and statehood actually effecting peace.
Though opinions about the best means to a solution may vary, there is one constant among Jews around the world: Israel should survive. Whether Arafat can be negotiated with, whether the terrorists should be stopped by might or flight, whether Sharon should make conciliations, whether the United States should intervene; these are all questions that will continue to be debated among Jews and non-Jews.
What will not be debated in Jewish circles is Israel's right and necessity to exist. Jews everywhere can stand behind that goal and make their voices heard. Ultimately, peace must be achieved so that survival is insured. There can be no argument with that.
Beverly Mom Makes the Grade
Her story reads like the script for a heart-wrenching movie: Single mom with no money and four kids decides to pursue dream of college education. Attends community college where she excels, garnering prizes, awards and a perfect GPA. Accepted at top-tier four year colleges, only to be confronted with the grim reality of no way to finance her ambitions to earn a Bachelor's degree in Judaic studies, then Master's in social work, and Doctorate in Holocaust studies.
But Lori Smith is far from discouraged. After all, she's come a long way. The 39-year-old who grew up in Stoneham and now lives in subsidized housing with three of her children in Beverly, will graduate this June from North Shore Community College, the first in her family to even attend college, let alone achieve a straight "A" record. When Smith returned to New England two and a half years ago ("with nothing"), she was still home- schooling her children when she began tutoring in the public schools. She worked during the summer when the children visited their father and in the fall enrolled her children in public school and herself in community college in January 2001. By taking five and six courses a semester and during the summer, she has been able to complete all requirements this spring.
Smith has pursued an interest in Holocaust studies since she was five years old and her mother left a "huge coffee table book" about the Holocaust out for her children to see. "We didn't talk about the Holocaust with each other much," Smith recalls, but there were always materials in the house. "Ever since then, I've been doing research on it," she says. At NSCC, she studied Facing History and Ourselves, Global Conflicts, and Literature of the Holcaust, taught by Dr. Sheldon Brown.
Smith credits Brown with inspiring her. "Professor Brown has been not just a mentor but a real example to me of what a true Jew is and what a true humanitarian is. He has had a profound effect on my life."
Her impressive record in NSCC's Honors Program, a division at the school for motivated students who plan to continue their education at very selective four-year colleges, has now earned Smith acceptance to Brandeis University's McNair Scholars summer program, a mentoring internship for students who are the first college graduates in their families.
In addition, Smith has been selected as the only 2002 New Century Scholar in Mass-achusetts. Selection was based on scores Smith earned in the All-USA Academic Team competition sponsored by USA Today, American Association of Community Colleges, and Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society of the Two-year College. Only the highest scoring student in each state participating in the All-USA Academic competitions is chosen for the award. Smith will receive a $2,000 scholarship sponsored by Coca-Cola Foundation and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. She will also be featured in the AACC's Community College Times and Phi Theta Kappa's The Journey newsletter.
Already accepted as a junior transfer student at Hebrew College, Simmons, Lesley, and Salem State, Smith will hear from Tufts, Brandeis and Harvard next month. If finances require she attend the state school, so be it. Smith will not be deterred from her long-time goals of becoming a psychotherapist, teaching Holo-caust studies, and leading tolerance seminars at the college level.
"The Holocaust marks one of the foundational times in our history," says Smith in explaining her chosen field of study. "It's a massacre of six million of my people. If I can get people to feel just one millionth of te pain Jewish people have felt because of the Holocaust, if I can touch their hearts in terms of the Holocaust, then that can translate into tolerance for today."
While Smith determines her next educational home, she continues to demonstrate her commitment to Holocaust studies in a unique way. Professor Brown, who first asked her as a student assignment to write a song about the Holocaust, now invites Smith to perform her music for his other classes. At the next Forum on Tolerance sponsored by NSCC on May 22 at the Lynn campus, Smith and fellow student Marlene Waters will sing her original songs on themes relevant to the Holocaust.
On the Road
A few months ago, my brother Danny who lives in Georgia and reads my column on line now and again, asked me a thought-provoking question about this bi-weekly commentary of mine: "Who cares?", he half-jokingly asked. "I mean, I like it because I know you, but why do you write it?"
I responded at some length, but said too much and not enough. A recent road trip to Vermont did much to clear my head and answer this question more fully - at least for myself.
As a fairly well-educated, well-read and well-travelled Jewish man who has been writing for the past 10 years, these columns are stories about certain experiences that I like to share. I write them to entertain and inform, validate, recognize and bring attention to people I meet and places I visit, and grapple with aspects of Judaism, philosophy, literature, politics and world events.
Essentially, they are both a slice of life mixed with some commentary from a young, active and visible member of the community. And admittedly, they help keep my family, friends and readers updated on what I'm doing and thinking most about.
Do these pieces have any effect on the readership of this paper? Do people really care where I go and what I think? Maybe. I hope so. Enough people have approached me at community events to let me think so. But back to my most recent adventure. Having talked about graduate school seriously for the past year, I was last weekend inspired to visit the Green Mountain state to check out the University of Vermont and Middlebury College.
Arriving in Burlington exactly three-and-a-half hours after departure from Salem, aside from the view of Lake Champlain, I was quickly unimpressed with the area in general. Too congested and commercial. The university itself, founded in 1791, (the same year the state was admitted to the Union) is nice enough. Its most striking feature are the two large, looming French-architecture main buildings overlooking the 125-mile long Great Lake far below. I was too worried about losing daylight trying to weave through the bustling downtown area to stick around for very long before heading down Route 7 South to Middlebury and its highly reputed college.
All I can say is "Wow!" The peaceful and sprawling farm country along Route 7 gives way to a charming community with only a couple dozen shops and eateries. Established in 1800, I'd say the campus is an aesthetic fusion of Tufts, Amherst and Smith. Replete with gray stone buildings with strong French architectural influence, the spacious grounds are broken up by narrow rolling paths.
Though there's not a temple anywhere in sight, a chavurah is listed among the many religious institutions in the local newspaper. And of course there's the Breadloaf Writer's Conference and School of English, which I can only hope to one day attend.
In the Mother Tongue
Hooping for Health and Pleasure
It began some weeks ago when I was in the hospital for surgery. A call came into the office for me from a woman who identified herself to my co-worker as Betty Hoops. She'd read online a column I wrote about an ill-fated attempt to help my son achieve hula hooping stardom. Ms. Hoops, a nice Jewish girl living in Colorado, had the solution: one of her homemade therapeutic hoops filled with elements guaranteed to possess restorative powers.
Once the creative hoopster heard about my health problems, her resolve to lend aid only became stronger. She queried my colleague about my size and color preference and assured him my special hoop would soon be in the mail. Ms. Hoops said she would choose red for my special orbiting equipment. (Did she know about my red power sweater?)
When I returned to work, I heard of my promised gift. Alas, weeks wore on, but no hoop. I'd almost forgotten about it when I received an email from Ms. Hoops with the message that my packages were in the mail. Two days later, the first gift arrived. It was square and small, so without opening I guessed it wasn't the hoop. Instead, there was a note and a videotape.
At home, I dropped the video into the VCR. There she was, Betty Hoops, hula hooping on the ski slopes of Colorado, and next to a gurgling stream. Hooping is a sport, she told me, physical therapy, a form of yoga and dance. Like martial arts, hooping helps you find your central breath. As opposed to my decentralized breath?
The red hoop arrived at the office today. It's huge, and covered with red furry fabric which might look more at home on the steering wheel of a hot rod in the 1950s, but cozy and inviting nonetheless. My co-workers made me promise I wouldn't try it yet, since my stomach is still tender and fragile from surgery. I agreed, aware there were others in my family eager to give it a swing.
My sons didn't even have the patience to remove all the shrinkwrap around the hoop before trying. I, ever the purist, insisted they relinquish the hoop long enough for me to enjoy the total effect of red fuzz. When the shrink wrap was gone, I found a note from Betty Hoops. My hoop is filled with sand from the dunes of California, it said, and quartz crystals. All her hoops contain earthly elements from around the world.
My sons tried again, hooping with ease if not renewed health. Little bits of fuzz flew around the living room, alighting on all surfaces like sparks from a winter fire. I could resist no longer. I gave my hoop a swing. A turn or two on my waist's axis, and I quickly realized I'm not yet ready for post-op hooping, even with a special red fuzz ring made especially for me by Ms. Hoops. But just wait. I have high hopes. Soon sand from the dunes of California will rotate round my middle, perhaps even on a New England beach, providing, if not inner peace, at least some measure of satisfaction. Thanks, Betty Hoops. You made my day.
Merrimack College Hosts Middle East Panel Discussion
Despite the severe state of affairs in the Middle East, according to Gidi Grinstein, a member of the Israeli peace negotiating team at Camp David in 2000, "the pendulum will swing back."
Grinstein, 31, a graduate student at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, was one of four Kennedy School students who spoke about "Conflict in the Middle East: Perspectives from a New Generation" at Merrimack College on April 4.
The discussion, organized and moderated by three-term Massachusetts Representative Barry Finegold (D-Andover), was designed to present a wide range of perspectives on the conflict.
Grinstein is a captain in the Israeli Navy who has participated in many projects that deal with the long-term future of Israel and served in the Office of the Prime Minister; Alon Ben-David is a well-known and respected on-air television journalist who covers military issues in the Middle East; Laila Moussa El-Haddad is a native of the Gaza Strip and a 2000 Duke University graduate who wrote her thesis on the conflict in the Gaza Strip, and whose experience includes working on the West Bank last summer on The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy; and Dr. Anthony Wadis-St. John, who wrote his doctoral thesis at the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy focused on the secret negotiations between the PLO and Israeli government, has taught negotiation skills to Palestinian private and public sector managers.
El-Haddad said she saw a very different place when she worked in the West Bank last summer, specifically with regard to how long it takes to travel from Jerusalem to Ramallah. "It normally takes 15 minutes, but with the check points it now takes four hours," she said.
She feels the current situation represents a "low point" but from which "one should not conclude there is no way out. What we're seeing now is a culmination of 10 years of violence and negotiations that have not so far resulted in a Palestinian state. But these are acts of human beings, and they can be undone."
According to St. John, "the current strategies are based on fear rather than courage." He said that while research shows that when the United States acts as an active intermediary the parties are "more decisive and the situation more peaceful," this U.S. role "also angers other parties and has not been effective." He feels it is important for a third party to work "behind the scenes, helping the parties help themselves instead of twisting arms."
He further believes it is important and has been effective to "continue to talk through the violence."
Are Sharon and Arafat willing and able to make peace? Finegold asked. St. John feels that while Sharon is constrained by his coalition, both sides have influence over extremists. Ben-David asserts that when Arafat declares in Arabic that the bombings must stop, then perhaps things will change. El-Haddad, however, does not feel that "peace per se is possible under the Sharon government."
Grinstein stated that while the only possible frame of reference for a sustainable peace is under the Clinton/Barak offer at Camp David, "both sides have diametrically opposed sequences in mind. Israelis say end the violence and then political talks, and Palestinians say talk, then we'll end the violence."
St. John stated that "the key failing from the beginning has been to not say what the end is." He said that after the assassination of of Yitzhak Rabin and with the return of Arafat, "the right wing has become more and more powerful." And with regard to the numerous issues inhibiting peace, the negotiations have put aside the difficult ones (Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements) and "failed on the easier issues."
Grinstein, however, maintains that "there is common ground, but it is a matter of leadership on both sides seizing the opportunity. It is doable," he said.
Locals Envision Ways to Give Support to Israel
JEWISH JOURNAL STAFF
As war rages in the Middle East and peace seems an elusive goal, The Jewish Journal asked a range of local residents to answer the following question: How can and should Jewish Americans support Israel during this current crisis, and/or express their opinions about the situation and its solution?
Mark Farber, owner of Mark Adrian Shoes in Gloucester, and a congregant at Temples Sinai and Ahavat Achim, recently returned from Israel:
"The first thing that crossed my mind was that one of the most important things that American Jews can do is call current friends and family in Israel, and express their solidarity. If people call relatives and friends, that will make much more difference than they can possibly imagine. And like the elections used to be in Chicago, do it early and often. The other thing, in spite of the circumstances there now, I would still recommend that people consider making a trip to Israel because when I was over there on what I call my mission of one, the reaction I got to my presence was so overwhelmingly grateful. I would consider my trip one of the most heartfelt experiences of my life."
"This was my fourth trip to Israel, but far and away my most important experience there. I made up my mind that one way or another I will be going back this summer or this fall, no matter what the circumstances. There's a right and a wrong way to go there, and I can recommend ways that will almost unconditionally guarantee safety."
"If you don't travel with a federation, travel alone. Travel by cab instead of bus. Visit and stay with friends and relatives who will welcome you with open arms. Folks needn't and shouldn't go to places which are obvious spots for large crowds - busy cafes, malls, stadiums, many places in Jerusalem. If friends say this is not a good time to go, my response would be that's why I'm going."
Karen (Benyoseph) Doryoseph is an Israeli citizen and former soldier, former director of Israel programs for the Jewish Federation of the North Shore, and currently annual campaign and events director at the Jewish Community Day School in Newton:
"The simple answer is to show support, but where the complications come in is that I don't think we should show blind support for the Israeli government and its actions. Because while it's very important that the American Jewish community show support to its brothers in Israel, we need to look at the whole picture."
"The bottom line of this process will be that Israel needs to end occupation of the territories of 3.5 million Palestinians, and the Pales-tinians need to end acts of terror. The fact that I or others support the end of occupation does not mean that we are anti-Israel. Some people say you are a traitor if you say that the Palestinians deserve their own state or that you support these opinions."
"Israel needs us, but needs to hear all the voices. I absolutely believe Israel has the right to defend itself, but it also needs to consider the situaiton of the occupation and the situation that the Palestinians are in - so desperate, with no work, no future to look forward to, nothing to lose. They don't mind losing a life because they have no life to lose."
"I'm not defending suicide bombers, only explaining some of the circumstances that bring them to do that. I gather once a month as part of a group of Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians. We are not activists, we hear each other's personal stories. I've learned a lot. After living in Israel for 20 years, this was the first time I met a Palestinian face to face. I totally believe in this. A lot of dialogue has gone down the drain. It's lots of people's faults. In terms of what to do, [American Jews] should send letters to the editors. As an Israeli, I would say go to Israel, but I understand why people choose not to go because it is a difficult time. I was there. It's the best way to contribute to the economy. Sending money is too."
Robert E. Tornberg is head of Cohen Hillel Academy:
"The most important thing is to be informed. Get news from various sources, not just CNN or NPR. Read Israeli news on the web. Next, express appreciation to those supporting Israel - politicians, the media, friends...It is equally important to let those who may not agree with you - again, politicians, media, friends - where you stand and why."
"Give tzedakah to organizations like Magen David Adom. Consider going to Israel. Keep in touch with those whom you know in Israel. Finally, don't forget that prayer does make a difference in our lives. What we do matters."
Nancy Kaufman is executive director of Jewish Community Relations Council and a Swampscott resident:
"It is most important and we need to make it very clear that Israel has a right to defend itself. We need to support the American and Israeli governments in bringing an end to the conflict, and speak out against terrorism. That was the message of the rally [April 7 in Boston]. It is very important to communicate with the White House and Congressional representatives. They're hearing from the Arab community and they need to hear from us."
Steve Cohen is president of The Negotiation Skills Co., and an executive coach who lives in Prides Crossing. He has consulted with businesses in more than one country in the Middle East:
"Give money to charities supporting Israel, such as American Magen David and the Anti-Defamation League. Buy Israel bonds. Write to the President and members of the Senate and Congress expressing support for Israel and why. Include four to six bullet points explaining your reasons. Write letters to the editors of large circulation international newspapers and magazines such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times London, The Economist, and the national U.S. news magazines."
Rabbi Robert Goldstein is spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel in Andover, and recently returned from a trip to Israel:
"I am personally uncertain. On the one hand, there seems to be no alternative but to go into the territories. But I am troubled with the lack of discussion in the organized Jewish community about the validity of this approach. Can we not be somewhat critical of Israel and still be supportive? That troubles me."
"I think of late we are hearing voices who are completely against or in support of Israel, voices of those who are passionate about Israel, but those who are in the middle are not being heard. I don't think circling the wagons with unquestioning support for Israel is the way to go. We need to be able to express other sides. Don't get me wrong. I'm passionate about Israel, I visit there, but I think we make a mistake in the organized Jewish community to defend Israel's policies at this moment."
"I think we need to defend Israel's right to exist, and clarify the democratic values that define Israel. When we claim to agree with everything and say Israel is always right, I think we do Israel a disservice. It is better at this time to acknowledge a diversity of opinions. Israel is a democratic country that needs to figure out how to proceed, just like America needed to figure out how to go into Afghanistan. That's where we need to be publicly showing our support."
Sondra Kupersmith lives in Marblehead and attends Temple Emanu-El:
"It's a dilemma. First of all, we don't live there. We aren't living under the daily pressure. I don't know what's right for them. I spoke to a friend in Israel yesterday. She is looking at her son going up to the north to defend the activities of Hezbollah. I spoke to her son's girlfriend who said it's been a relief because it's been a full seven days without a terrorist bombing. We can't know what it's like to live under those circumstances. American Jews need to support Israel, but not blindly, and hope that her leaders will guide her down whatever path is right. I have a lot of ideas, but it's not my place to say what they should be doing."
"I do think American Jews should stay strong in their support, particularly in light of how Jews and Israel are viewed around the world. I am concerned about how the media are talking about the Palestinians sympathetically, and how the world is being blackmailed by Arab oil."
"I love what Golda Meir said years ago: 'We'll have peace when Arab mothers love their children more than they hate their enemies.' As I wrote in a letter to the editor of The Boston Globe, if everyone in this horrible game would accept responsibility for fault and missed opportunities past, present and future, perhaps there would be the possibility of sitting down and talking about, and then creating, a new reality in the Middle East."
SAJE Celebrates Life!
"It's a milestone to be doing SAJE 18," says Sandy Sheckman with obvious enthusiasm. The Seminars for Adult Jewish Enrichment, spearheaded by Sheckman, executive director of the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore, Rabbi Edgar Weinsberg of Temple Beth El
in Swampscott, and Audrey Weinstein, is now embarking on its eighteenth season presenting speakers and discussions on issues of interest to the Jewish community on the North Shore.
Sheckman believes Wein-stein deserves much of the credit for the series' longevity. "She has stood with us, energized us, even when we weren't sure we could keep doing this. There's also been a small but dedicated committee and staff responsible for our success."
The spring series, which begins May 8, is being called "To Life, To Life, L'Chaim". "It seems appropriate to celebrate Jewish life," says Sheckman, "since the number 18 represents life." Weinstein is equally excited about the theme this spring. "The focus is Jewish continuity," she says. "Each of the evenings focuses on Judaism from different perspectives, both humorous and serious."
In these trying times in the Middle East, Sheckman feels it is important for programs like SAJE to continue. "Being a strong community in North America and in our part of the world on the North Shore is important so that we can support Israel," says Sheckman. "There is a definite correlation between our strength and continuity, because Israel needs us to be strong to support it. Everything we do to celebrate community and continuity supports Israel."
Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, well known humorist and creator of The Big Book of Jewish Humor, will open the series on May 8 with "A Jewish Turn On: The Power of Jewish Humor and Celebration."
"He has been a speaker for SAJE several times," says Weinstein, "so it is exciting to have him back in this capacity." Waldoks, referred to in Boston magazine as "a wisecracking theologian," believes Jewish humor actually defines modern Jews.
May 15 will bring Larry Tye for "A Jewish Turn About: Where and How Jews Live in the Diaspora Home Lands - Portraits of the New Jewish Diaspora."
"Larry Tye was recom-mended to us," explains Weinstein, "because he wrote for The Boston Globe and authored a book about portraits of the new Diaspora. The book started with his interest in the Boston Federation - CJP - and their connection to their Russian counterpart. He wrote about the two communities and expanded from there. It's exciting that he's going to be part of our program because of his enthusiasm for Jewish renewal."
Rabbi Myron Geller, of Temple Ahavat Achim in Gloucester and the Gerim Institute, will present "A Jewish Turnaround: Making the World Jewish" on May 22. Geller is well-known in the region for his work and "it's important for us to learn what he is doing in terms of conversion," Wein-stein believes. As director of Gerim Institute, an agency under the auspices of the conservative rabbinate, Rabbi Geller has overseen training and counseling for almost 100 interfaith couples each year.
The Zaitchik Brothers, a much sought-after band in the area, will be on hand for the final event on May 29, "And Now It's Our Turn to Celebrate!" The evening will feature food and the trio's accomplished renditions of traditional and modern Jewish music, according to Weinstein.
All SAJE events will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Beth El, 55 Atlantic Ave., Swampscott. For more information, call the Jewish Community Center Arts Event Line at 781-631-8330, ext. 388. Registration forms will appear in the April 26 issue of The Jewish Journal. SAJE is a consortium of Jewish agencies, temples and organizations of the North Shore. The JCCNS provides the staff and adminstrates the program.
Thousands Rally for Israel
NEW YORK (JTA) - Just hours after thousands rallied in support for Israel here, the author of the Mitchell Plan touted Israeli-Palestinian peace before a group that still holds out hope for the idea.
Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell was one of a series of political figures, including Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Israeli Cabinet minister Ephraim Sneh, who tried to restore hope in the peace process at a dinner of the Israel Policy Forum - an organization that has long supported U.S. efforts to promote peace in the region.
Mitchell, who authored the plan that U.S. policy-makers are promoting as the way out of the current crisis, told the more than 900 IPF supporters on Sunday that he hoped U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to the region this week would enable the parties to break the "cycle of violence" and resume negotiations.
The tone at the dinner was very different from the one at the rally outside the United Nations, where Jews from around the area expressed support for Israel's current military operation to root out terrorism
Mitchell said America has guaranteed the "legitimate existence of Israel" as a "sovereign state behind defensible borders."
But that will be a result of a political end, not a military one, he said.
Israel must take steps to rebuild confidence in that process, such as "freezing all settlement activity," he said, to a wide response of applause and a couple of faint boos.
"I will tell you I don't always get applause when I make that statement," Mitchell said.
For his part, Sneh, a Labor Party member who is part of the Sharon government, spoke of his conviction for peace:
"We were not mistaken," he said, referring to the 1993 Oslo agreement that "opened the door to the most dynamic prospect for peace."
But speaking more harshly than any other about the Palestinians, he assigned the "complete breakdown" of the Oslo process to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
Sneh urged the audience to support Israel's current military operation, which he said has brought the arrest or killing of the top planners of some of the most recent terrorist attacks, including the Passover eve suicide bombing at a hotel in Netanya, whose death toll has risen to 27.
Getting rid of these terrorists will "create the necessary environment for negotiating more quickly," he said.
Some of the guests made dual appearances on Sunday, sending slightly different messages to the different crowds.
Schumer told the policy forum crowd that the only answer to the conflict is a "land-for-peace" solution and that right wingers offer no alternative.
But his tone was different for the thousands gathered across from the United Nations at the rally earlier in the day.
"No nation has been asked to do what the world asks of Israel. When evil people strap themselves with explosives packed with nails, ball bearings and anti-coagulants so the victim will bleed to death, no nation is not asked to defend itself, and Israel shouldn't be asked anything different," Schumer said.
"Israel's fight is America's fight, and America's fight is the world's fight," said Schumer. "We must fight terrorism everywhere, in Afghanistan, Iraq and against Yasser Arafat, the PLO and Fatah."
"They are all criminals. Today, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aksa Brigades strap themselves with explosives on a street in Tel Aviv. Tomorrow it could be New York, Chicago or Los Angeles."
The rally, organized by Rabbi Avi Weiss and his Coalition for Jewish Concerns-AMCHA, and chaired by an interdenominational group of rabbis, assembled only five days after an announcement began to spread by word-of- mouth.
Crowd estimates ranged from 5,000 to 12,000.
The time is critical, Weiss said, for U.S. Jews to stand united with Israelis.
The gathering drew a diverse crowd: Young men with earrings walked alongside others with sidelocks and long black coats; multigenerational families walked together.
Handmade placards ranged from angry and ironic - "Arafat: Don't Keep Your 72 Virgins Waiting" - to the poignant. One sign bore the words of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir: "There Will Be Peace When the Arabs Love Their Children More Than They Hate the Jews."
JTA correspondent Tom Tugend in Los Angeles and writer Heather Robinson in New York contributed to this report.
UJC Launches Emergency Campaign for IsraeI
NEW YORK (JTA) - The North American Jewish federation system launched an emergency campaign for Israel and Argentina this week, raising an initial $13 million from its board of trustees.
Meeting in New York on Monday, the United Jewish Communities moved forward with a plan to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for emergency needs for the Jewish state, such as assistance to victims of terrorism, crisis management and rebuilding infrastructure damaged in terrorist attacks.
At the same time, UJC's president and CEO, Stephen Hoffman, announced preliminary plans to cut the federation umbrella group's $44.7 million operating budget by 5 percent as of July.
Details still need to be hammered out by the budget committee and board.
In addition to generating an influx of new funds for Israel, the new campaign, called "We Stand With Israel Now and Forever," also will incorporate most of an existing $42.5 million campaign for Argentine Jews, who are suffering from a national economic crisis.
Most of the funds for the Argentine campaign was to resettle Jews who immigrate to Israel. A small portion, which is not being folded into the Israel campaign, goes for relief efforts and community needs for Jews staying in Argentina.
The new Israel campaign differs in its magnitude and centralization from previous federation campaigns. One such effort, called "Israel Now," was launched last year and has raised approximately $90 million.
"When we started Israel Now, the communities said to national, 'Let us decide how to raise the money and what it goes for,' " said Victoria Agron, the UJC's vice president of campaign and financial resource development.
"This time, they were looking for guidance."
Many federation activists noted that they expect raising money for the campaign to be fairly easy, as large numbers of American Jews are concerned about Israel right now and eager to do something to help.
The UJC is also hoping to coordinate pro-Israel rallies in communities around the country in the coming month.
In a caucus session of the board of trustees meeting that was closed to the media on Monday, individual lay leaders took turns making pledges for the new campaign, with cash gifts of more than $13 million promised.
The meeting adjourned an hour early, so that 34 people could leave for Israel. Another 160 departed for Argentina on Monday night.
The Israel mission was slated to include a visits to the Park Hotel in Netanya, where a suicide bomber killed 27 people at a Passover seder.
Monday's board meeting - which began with a 10-minute service marking Holocaust Remembrance Day - was marked by an atmosphere of urgency and had little of the rancor or quibbling over details that have characterized many UJC meetings in recent years.
That was particularly evident in the brief discussion over the budget, an issue that has been highly contentious in past years.
The 5 percent cuts proposed were considerably less than most large-city federations have been clamoring for. The cuts will also likely reduce services smaller federations enjoy, but no one raised objections to the budget at the meeting.
"Issues such as budget become peripheral when the threat to Israel's survival becomes central," said Dr. Conrad Giles, a lay leader with the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit and a former president of the Council of Jewish Fed-erations.
CJF was one of three organizations that merged three years ago to be-come the UJC.
At a time of crisis, such as now, Giles added, "our national Jewish organzation becomes so clearly central to our ability
to act as a Jewish people that the question of how much it is costing is less relevant."
The UJC budget cuts will be primarily in missions and missions subsidies; consulting services, or regional operations; and subsidies to help UJC lay leaders with travel expenses to UJC and Jewish Agency for Israel meetings.
At the same time, the budget plan calls for increasing spending in professional resource development and for Israel-Diaspora relations, including strengthening the UJC's Israel office and undergoing a comprehensive overseas needs assessment process.
The plan also calls for increased spending on planned giving, or efforts to arrange bequests and other legacies from donors.
The UJC is also facing increased security costs and significantly higher health insurance costs, forcing it to require employees to contribute part of the premiums, Hoffman said.
Hoffman said he expects the UJC to cut its budget further in coming years.
"We are going to be digging deeper into operation costs'' and hope to cut the budget to $40 million by the 2003-2004 fiscal year, he said.
The budget will be voted on in June.
Looking to Long-Term Solutions
JERUSALEM - Even before the first Israeli tanks swept into Ramallah at the start of Operation Protective Wall, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was being asked what he intended to do the day after the tanks withdrew.
From day one, it was clear that the operation would not in itself put a stop to Palestinian terror. No matter how badly the terrorist infrastructure was hit, it would be only a matter of time until the suicide bombers were back on Israel's streets.
Unless, that is, there was some political solution to the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.
But how best to achieve it? During the past few weeks, as more suicide bombings claimed more Israeli lives, and the scale of Israeli retaliation intensified, there has been a flurry of new ideas.
Some, despairing of any hope of a negotiated deal between Israel and the Palestinians, advocate unilateral measures or externally imposed solutions.
There are three basic approaches: incrementalism, unilateralism and international intervention.
All three hold out some hope - and all three are deeply flawed.
Both Sharon and the American administration have been inclined to continue along the slow incremental path from violence to cease-fire to graded political re-engagement, outlined in the "Tenet-Mitchell'' framework, named for CIA Director George Tenet and former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.
The idea was to rebuild mutual confidence and trust after the collapse of the attempts to resolve all the issues in one fell swoop at Camp David in July 2000 and Taba in January 2001.
Badly burned by the failure of the permanent-status exercise, the parties lowered their sights and accepted the step-by-step approach.
There was to be a cease-fire followed by confidence-building measures before talks on a political settlement were renewed. Each side would address the causes of the other side's mistrust.
The Palestinians would stop violence, collect illegal weapons and end incitement against Israel; Israel would freeze settlement building.
These steps would create a climate conducive for political negotiations.
But it didn't work.
The trouble with Tenet-Mitchell was that it left the endgame open. Sharon was not prepared to spell out his vision of final status until the Palestinians stopped the terror. To do so, he argued, would be to reward violence and encourage more violence.
The Palestinians, however, were not prepared to stop the violence until they knew where the political process was leading. To break the vicious circle, the Americans offered their vision of final status - two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side.
But the plan was too vague for the Palestinians. It said nothing about Jerusalem or refugees.
Moreover, as Palestinian terror escalated, and world opinion restricted Israeli retaliation, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat became convinced that violence was paying off and saw no reason to stop it.
Now new ideas to resuscitate the failing incrementalist approach are being put forward.
Ya'acov Peri, a former head of the Shin Bet, suggests a carrot for the Palestinians - every month of quiet will be rewarded with the evacuation of an Israeli settlement.
More realistically, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is trying to build a wide international coalition with the Europeans and moderate Arab states to pressure the parties to at least start the incrementalist process.
Operation Protective Wall, besides trying to smash the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure, was also ostensibly an attempt to pressure the Palestinians into declaring a cease-fire and starting Tenet-Mitchell.
But will a humiliated and discredited Arafat be in any mood to declare a cease-fire? And if he does, will his badly hit security services be able to maintain it? And why should he want to stop the terror, after the wave of world sympathy, especially European, the latest chapter of violence has gained him?
The assumption that Arafat will not call off the violence and that there is no partner for dialogue on the Palestinian side has led many Israelis on the left and the right to propose unilateralist solutions.
The basic idea is that Israel withdraw unilaterally to a new line from which it can better defend itself and begin talks with the Palestinians, who would create their own state, on a political solution as soon as they are ready.
Sharon's growing emphasis on buffer zones to prevent suicide bombers from reaching Israeli population centers, reiterated in his early April policy speech to the Knesset, is a version of unilateralist thinking, and is indicative of the prime minister's conviction that there is no chance of any agreement with the Palestinians as long as Arafat is leader.
The key question for the unilateralists, of course, is where you draw the new line.
Meir Pa'il, a former far-left Knesset member, would pull back to the 1967 borders and put up a sophisticated electronic fence to stop the bombers getting through.
The advantage of Pa'il's line is that it would constitute full withdrawal in accordance with U.N. Resolution 242 and would be seen by the international community as bringing Israeli occupation to an end.
The concomitant disadvantage is that it would mean giving the Palestinians all the land for none of the peace and little incentive to make peace.
It would also entail dismantling all the settlements and moving over 200,000 settlers out of their homes without a peace agreement to show for it.
Labor Party leaders, like former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Knesset member Haim Ramon, therefore, propose withdrawing from 75 percent to 80 percent of the West Bank, leaving most of the settlements intact, and negotiating the remaining 20 percent to 25 percent of the land and other outstanding issues on a state-to-state basis.
The advantage of the plan is that it could trigger a negotiating dynamic. The disadvantage is that the international community would regard Israel as still in occupation of Palestinian territory.
A team under minister-without-portfolio Dan Naveh, who was former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief negotiator with the Palestinians, has also been working on a unilateral separation plan.
It has Israel moving back to wide buffer zones along the old 1967 borders and in the Jordan Valley, and may prove to be the blueprint for Sharon himself.
The trouble with this scheme is that it would gain no international support and be vigorously resisted by the Palestinians and the Arab world.
The lack of international enthusiasm for unilateral solutions and the fact that by definition they do not include an end to the conflict has spawned solutions based on the international community imposing its will on both parties.
Left-wing Meretz leader Yossi Sarid wants to see an American mandate in the Palestinian territories, nursing the Palestinians to statehood and peace with Israel along the lines of the Saudi peace initiative.
The new mandate, which is also being backed by former Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, would have U.N. sanction and would automatically replace the Israeli occupation.
American or NATO soldiers would be stationed between Israel and the Palestinian territories to protect both sides. This view is gaining momentum in some diplomatic circles, especially in Europe.
Jerome Segal of the University of Maryland's Center for International and Security Studies adds a precise set of conditions the Palestinians must meet for statehood, including recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and accepting international weapons inspectors.
The advantage of the imposed solution is that it is final and underwritten in the most emphatic way by the international community.
The question is whether outside countries would be prepared to make the commitment, and even if they did, whether they would be able to impose their will on both sides.
What would they do if the terror persisted and if some of it were aimed at their own forces?
When Powell arrives in Israel later this week, he and Sharon may find themselves out of sync.
Powell will be trying to revive the incremental approach, while Sharon seems to have moved on to a unilateralist mindset.
The result could be an American leap of faith to greater international involvement, first to cool the situation and then, some time down the road, to impose a solution.
One idea being considered is the convening of a 1991 Madrid-style international conference of all major players and all Middle Eastern countries.
Leslie Susser is the diplomatic correspondent for the Jerusalem Report.
Encountering the Second Commandment
"You shall not make for yourself a sculpted image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth." (Exodus 20:4)
For centuries, Jewish art has been confounded, confronted, or provoked by the Second Commandment. Encountering the Second Commandment, which comes to the Starr Gallery as part of its national tour, seeks to respond to this complex and ancient notion in Jewish history.
The exhibit focuses on the concept that while Jewish art may have been hampered by the Second Commandment, it has not precluded its production. The exhibition, which was originated by the American Jewish Museum of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, is a wide-ranging argument over the meaning of this directive. Juror Robin Cembalest, ARTnews Executive Editor, chose 43 emerging and established artists from eight countries, out of the 1,500 entries received from 25 countries. These artists have responded in some way to this idea of proscription against the making of graven images, and how it has impacted the history of Jewish art and culture.
A wide range of art is represented, from fine silver Judaica by Italian jeweler Luigi Del Monte, to compelling etching by Argentine artist Mirta Kupferminc, and mixed media works by Indian artist Siona Benjamin. Included in this mix of artists are several Boston area artists - metal artist Cynthia Eid, and painter Amy Ross, who has been receiving much recent media attention for her sacrificial animal series.
As part of an ongoing program, "Curating Kids," the exhibition includes a special workbook that leads children through the show. An accompanying educational curriculum geared for middle school students, which was developed for the exhibit under the guidance of the Jewish Museum in New York and the Jewish Education Institute in Pittsburgh, will be available when the exhibit is in the Starr Gallery. There will also be a computer in the gallery with a link to an interactive educational website created especially for the exhibit. A full-color catalogue is available with essays by juror Robin Cembalest, and Gabriel Goldstein, curator of the Yeshiva University Museum.
The exhibit opens April 21 and will continue until June 30 at the Starr Gallery in the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center, 333 Nahanton St., Newton Centre. There are several special related programming events planned, including an opening reception and panel discussion on April 21. For gallery hours and more information, call 617-558-6484 ext. 485.
Small Canvases Explore Big Ideas
The Cape Ann Historical Museum is presenting an exhibition of small paintings which offer viewers an opportunity for reflection on the Holocaust. "Have We Gone Too Far?" runs through April 2002.
The project was the idea of two women. Gloucester artist Susan Erony is an American Jew whose father was a Ukranian refugee from political imprisonment and the pogroms. Erika Marquardt grew up in Berlin during World War II, the daughter of a Wehrmacht officer and train engineer. When they were introduced in 1994, the two women found that they were both fascinated and repelled by the war and that they needed to explore the subject in visual language. By 1996, their conversations became art. They worked in separate studios to create 5 by 7 inch canvases, passing them back and forth, so that both women had a hand in each painting.
The artists have collaborated on 1,000 of these paintings, one "grave stone" for each year that Hitler had planned for his Third Reich. Neither Erony nor Marquardt had done collaborative work before this project, and both women continued to produce individual work outside the project. Working sequentially on the same canvases, however, required that they develop a deep understanding of each other's style and ideas. Although their stories are told from different perspectives, each small canvas reflects their empathy as artists and friends. Hung closely together, these paintings form a colorful mosaic of great power and intensity.
The exhibition at the Cape Ann Historical Museum includes more than five hundred of the "Have We Gone Too Far?" paintings, along with the artists' self portraits and a large work by Erony called "My Father's Coat."
The title is literal in that Erony has incorporated pieces of her father's coat in the painting. Her father fled from the Ukraine to the United States after four of his brothers were killed in anti-Semitic violence. After he died, Erony wore the coat herself until it started to fall apart. In giving the painting to the Association, Erony explained that her father had spent his life looking for a place to be safe and that having this painting at the Museum would be a symbolic haven for him.
The Cape Ann Historical Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in downtown Gloucester. Regular Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call 978-283-0455.
United We Stand
On two Sundays in March, the North Shore Jewish community stood united in its support of Israel. Our Jewish community can take great pride in the events on those two days.
On March 17th, David Olesker, an Israeli communications analyst, spoke on how to be an advocate for Israel. His talk stressed the importance of countering the negative press sometimes appearing in the American media as well as how to present positive reports of Israeli life and policies. Mr. Olesker's visit to the North Shore was a cooperative effort of Temples Shalom, Sinai, Ner Tamid, B'nai Abraham, Beth El, Israel and Emanu-El with strong support from the Jewish Federation and the Cohen Hillel Academy.
The next Sunday, March 24th, an estimated 260 North Shore Jews met at Temple Beth El to hear a program of local speakers and a broadcast from Israel that movingly demonstrated how the havoc created by Palestinian suicide bombers affects life in Israel. What came through from the Israeli speakers, particularly Prime Minister Sharon, was the determination to try to maintain a normal lifestyle through the haze of terror.
Two Sundays in March, the most recent expression of how North Shore Jews stand firm with Israel.Herb Belkin
Russian Chorus Needs Help
Seven years ago, our community of nearly 4,000 people was struggling for the lack of our cultural life. So we organized our Russian- Jewish chorus "Fargenign" (Happiness for Everybody).
All the members of our chorus are volunteers. Often we perform to entertain the elderly at nursing homes, senior citizens centers, and synagogues. Our concerts are always welcomed by our age groups (50+). Our music is international. We sing in different languages (English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, etc .) The people look forward to our performances because they find them to be so joyful. Music, anecdotes , poems and dances were shown in homemade creative costumes.
For years, Ms. Mitchel, the director of the program for the elderly from Greater Lynn Senior Services, was our greatest supporter. She helped us find the place for performances and with little money to pay the piano player. Now the funds are down, and we won't get such help any more. Does it mean the end of our work? There are hundreds of people who are expecting to see us with our new programs.
But we do not have any money to pay the piano player, and we have no place for our performances.
We all believe that you will help to save the existence of our chorus. We need a place to rehearse, and financial aid to pay our wonderful piano player.
Could you please respond to our request? Many people are waiting for your answer.Sincerely,
Community of Lynn.
Contact: (781)598-1391 (Lina)
The Passover Haggadah instructs that the youngest child (or anyone) should ask the Four Questions. The oddities of the seder meal are meant to prompt questions and promote dialogue so that the people will discuss the going out of Egypt and the story of Passover. There are four places in the Bible that instruct us to tell our children about the Exodus from Egypt and the Haggadah says that this corresponds to four kinds of children: wise, wicked, simple and the one who does not know to ask. The Haggadah says that we must talk to all our children whatever the type and, more than that, get them to talk to us. "And as for the child that does not know to ask, you open him up."
When Steven Lynch of Danvers made his outburst against Cardinal Law at a church mass right before the Cardinal's speech, the Cardinal totally ignored this deeply agitated son of the Catholic faith and pretended that he was literally non-existent. The offender was escorted by a plainsclothesman who was stationed in that South End "police-church" for the purpose of making sure that such people are kept quiet. As many as five cruisers were called to the scene to arrest the non-violent man for his misdemeanor. Old habits die hard. The whole reason why there is such a flood of victims of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests is because of Cardinal Law's hushing of complaints. Lynch told reporters that he was sorry for his interruption but that there was no other way that he could get time with the Cardinal.
Ecumenical seders may have taught Cardinal Law a lot about matzo-balls but he knows nothing of the Haggadah.Hersh N. Goldman
Swampscott, MA back to top
I Don't Understand
I don't understand why people are still listening to Shimon Peres. Everything he has said, every idea he has had, has turned out to be a complete disastrous mistake. Why is this man still talking? But most importantly, why are we still listening?
I don't understand why people say there is no military solution. When people are using arms to murder you, the only solution, other than dying, is a military solution. It's called a war. The people that make it impossible for the other side to kill them and their children are called the victors. There isn't any way out of this. If people are throwing bad words at you, you can sit down and talk to them, try to convince them you are right, try to compromise. But when they are throwing grenades, that's a military problem which only has a military solution.
I don't understand why people say, "There is no solution. There doesn't seem to be anyone on the other side to talk to." Hello? Who says you have to talk? Whose says that talking always leads to solutions? Remember Hitler? Remember Chamberlain? Remember all the talking that went on before Hitler invaded Poland? When there is no one to talk to on the other side and they are invading you and trying to kill you, that doesn't mean there is no solution. It means you need to wipe out the other side, or hurt them enough to convince them to accept your solution.
I don't understand why people keep saying they don't want to let our soldiers fight because things will just get worse. No. If our soldiers are allowed to fight, things will just get better.
I don't understand Jewish idiots who have targeted Arab schoolchildren in some moronic revenge attack. We don't want, or need, revenge. We need security. Revenge that has no security goal is not only evil, it's a stupid waste of time and energy. I don't want them to die. I want us to live. If the former isn't connected to the latter, there's no point.
I don't understand Jews who are still reading Michael Lerner's Tikkun Magazine of Jewish self-hatred. The man has been actively supporting Arab terror sympathizers and maligning the Jewish homeland for the entire existence of his dismal little rag. Any Jew who subscribes, who invites this person to air his sickening agenda at his organization, synagogue or community center might as well send his money directly to Yasir and cut out the Yiddel in the middle.
I don't understand Arik Sharon who knows what he has to do, but instead prefers to flatten empty buildings. Mr. Sharon, fight, or retire and let those who have the heart to do what must be done take over. Arrest Yasir and put him on trial, nullify Oslo, retake the West Bank and Gaza, jail the inciters, deport the terrorists. Stop posturing, and put an end to the grave-digging for Israeli children. The people are not strong. The people are fed up.
Naomi Ragen is a best-selling novelist and columnist for the Jerusalem Post. An American, she has lived in Israel since 1971.
Making Sense of the Non-sensical
Suddenly, friends who have until now been staunch defenders of Israel are expressing outrage at the invasion of Arafat's compound. I confess that I don't quite understand their response. I feel no sympathy whatever for Mr. Arafat and his colleagues. Whether or not they might have controlled the most recent suicide bombings, I have no doubt at all that it is their behavior over the course of these last 19 months, since the beginning of the current confrontation, that is directly responsible for the terrorism. My ears are deaf to their cries.
That said, Israel's invasion (or incursion, if that's what you prefer and if it makes what follows here more palatable) is yet another exercise in stupidity. The notion that it will buy Israel greater security is a notion without plausible foundation. Here and there, an appropriate arrest; here and there, discovery of an arms cache. But everywhere, the kind of resentment out of which suicide bombers are born.
It might have been otherwise. Israel and its supporters might have welcomed the Saudi initiative as a good place from which to start serious negotiations. Virtually lost in the shuffle of bombs, that initiative - as improved unanimously by the Arab League in Beirut - reflects a recognition that the "right of return" is not an absolute right. Specifically, it calls for Israel to "allow the return of refugees." That locution, omitting as it does the word "all," is reminiscent of the purposeful vagueness of UN Resolution 242, which calls on Israel to "withdraw from territories" it captured during the Six Day War - pointedly omitting the word "the." The 242 ambiguity, we have known all along, was intentional. We cannot say the same of the Arab League resolution. But surely it is worth exploring, since for the last year or so it's seemed that the Palestinian view of the Right of Return was firm and inflexible.
It is worth exploring, that is, if one seeks to revive the comatose peace process. Alas, there is no evidence that such a revival is part of Mr. Sharon's purpose. Poor Mr. Sharon: His "partner" in such a process is a man whom he justifiably loathes. But prime ministers, however much they might wish it otherwise, do not get to pick their interlocutors. Nor, for that matter, is there any reason to suppose that even if his Palestinian counterpart were a Mandela or a Tutu, a Blair or a Clinton, Sharon would be any more enthusiastic or any more forthcoming. There is much talk these wretched days of Sharon's lack of an end game. But the problem is much worse than that: Sharon has no start game, either, no serious strategy for getting to "Go."
All this has nothing to do with CNN's tendentious reporting. (Just now, they've "informed" us that since the beginning of this intifada, "1100 Palestinians and 380 Israelis have been killed in various terrorist bombings.") Or BBC's. It has nothing to do with all the gratuitous hatred that is directed at Israel, or with people who reject the very idea of a Jewish state. As infuriating as such things are, they do not - or should not - affect our perception of the conflict and of how it might be resolved. It is perfectly possible to resent CNN and all the others, or to shake one's head in wonderment at the sheer ignorance of so many of the journalists covering these events, to regard Arafat as an utterly miserable leader - and still to believe that the occupation is wrong, is an incitement, is an unbearable burden on both the occupied and the occupier. How much more data do we need, how many more decades of conflict, before we finally recognize that the West Bank and Gaza are a burden, not a blessing, that Israel's retention of the territories is not only an irritant to the world community and an ongoing provocation to the Palestinians, but a sure-fire way of putting an end to the Zionist dream?
That dream was and is of a Jewish state. It is a dream, unlike most, that has been realized; today, it is being squandered, drowned by demographic realities. ThosE realities have only deteriorated since 1967: Hold on to the West Bank and Gaza, and you are holding on as well to more than 3 million Palestinians. Together with Israel's own one million Palestinian citizens, the total is 4 million - as against Israel 5.2 or so million Jews. Factor in the birthrate of the Palestinians, and very soon there's a Palestinian majority in the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Goodbye Jewish state. Ah, deny that minority political rights? Welcome, then, to the new apartheid state, and see how far that gets you. Shove the Palestinians across the Jordan River, into the Kingdom of Jordan, the idea that is euphemistically called "transfer" in Israel and has of late been promoted from the noxious notion of a lunatic fringe into mainstream debate? That's Zionism?
That is why serious Zionists know that one day, Israel will depart from nearly all the West Bank and all of the Gaza District. Israel can ill afford to postpone that day until it is enthusiastically (if belatedly) welcomed to the neighborhood. At the rate things are now collapsing - and people dying - it can ill afford to postpone that day at all.
Leonard Fein's most recent book is Against the Dying of the Light: A Father's Story of Love, Loss, and Hope [Jewish Lights, 2001].
There Is No Substitute for Victory
At this time of war between Israel and the Palestinians, half-baked suggestions for a speedy resolution are whizzing by almost as fast as bullets.
Let's review some of the more prominent schemes.
· A new Palestinian leadership:
Israel's defense minister believes that pushing Yasir Arafat out of power will bring a more pragmatic and flexible leadership to office.
· Unilateral Israeli withdrawal:
Peace Now, a powerful Israeli organization, promotes the slogan, ""Leave the Settlements, Return to Ourselves" - meaning a complete withdrawal to the 1967 border lines. (This is somewhat along the lines of the plan promoted by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and passed by the Arab League.)
· A territorial swap:
Israel's transportation minister suggests trading some Arab-majority areas within Israel to the Palestinian Authority in return for the latter giving up its claims to some Jewish-majority areas on the West Bank.
· A wall:
"A Protective Fence, the Only Way" is a newly popular bumper sticker on Israeli cars calling for an electric fence to go up along the 192-mile border between Israel and the West Bank.
· Buffer zones:
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon favors a beefed-up version of the fence option with trenches and mine fields, saying that this "will lead to security separation and contribute to the security of all Israeli citizens."
· U.S. soldiers: Thomas Friedman of The New York Times envisions that "Israel gradually withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to be replaced by a joint American-Palestinian security force." He then wants Washington "to station American troops on the ground, indefinitely, around ... Israel."
These ideas all share the profoundly faulty presumption that a century of Palestinian aggression against Israelis can be stopped either by Israeli concessions or by some clever initiative. Not one of these suggestions addresses the real problem: the Palestinians' conviction that, by continuing to hammer away at Israel, they can defeat and destroy it.
Although Arafat adheres to this ugly ambition, he is not its source and his removal will not eliminate it. Far from helping, an Israeli pull-back from the West Bank will signal weakness and thus further inflame Palestinian demands. Fences and no-man's-lands are nearly useless. (Just a few days ago, four terrorists from Jordan breached a border fence by digging under it.) Placing foreign soldiers in a hot zone is a non-starter - Americans and Europeans will not accept fatalities in some one else's war.
One can argue that the Iraqi and Afghan populations are not parties to the aggression of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and so are not America's enemies, but that's plainly wrong when it comes to the Palestinians versus Israel. Every piece of evidence suggests and every opinion poll confirms that the Palestinian assault on Israel is a wildly popular undertaking. Indeed, there is reason to believe that the "street" is more anti-Zionist than the leadership.
The implication is clear: if Israel is to protect itself, it must achieve a comprehensive military victory over the Palestinians, so that the latter give up their goal of obliterating it. Ending the Palestinian assault will be achieved not through some negotiated breakthrough, but by Palestinians (and Arabic-speakers more generally) concluding that their effort to destroy the Jewish state will fail, and so give up this ambition.
There is a war underway but nearly all observers prefer to ignore this unpleasant reality, preferring instead to suggest meaningless quick fixes. The time has come for them to face facts, which means finding ways to put a stop to Palestinian aggression.
For the U.S. government, this means halting counterproductive efforts at brokering a ceasefire and focusing on getting Israel's neighbors finally to accept its existence.
Daniel Pipes (www.Daniel Pipes.org) is director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum.
Martyrs And Victims
Israel is at war on multiple fronts. On one of them, its military power should prove eventually decisive. But on another front, only its moral power can prevail.
The military struggle is under way, with IDF forces moving to take control of the dens of terrorists who have for far too long been allowed to breed among ordinary Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza.
Their mission is clear -- to cripple Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine by incapacitating their leaders. Just as America had the duty to crush Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaida and its Taliban supporters, so must the IDF crush Marwan Barghouti and Sheik Ahmed Yassin and the successors to Abu Ali Mustafa and all their forces.
Ultimately, Israel will have to confront squarely what to do with Yasser Arafat. Despite his Nobel Peace Prize, the Palestinian leader has never for a moment given up his willingness to use terror and now seems even more intent on inflaming passions. Within hours of the vicious Passover massacre at Netanya and the subsequent suicide bombing of an Arab-Israeli restaurant in Haifa, he was on Arab television imploring "Allah give me martyrdom," and crying out for "martyrs by the millions" to march to Jerusalem.
Israel has said it does not intend to kill, harm or arrest him, which is consistent with President Bush's position and seems to keep open the only sliver of hope for a political agreement.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who recently said he regretted not having Arafat killed 20 years ago in Beirut, should not settle for anything less than exiling him permanently from the West Bank and Gaza. Having promised "an uncompromising war to uproot these savages, to dismantle their infrastructure," Sharon cannot do less.
In the crucial battle for world opinion, the terrorists have again shown that Israel is the injured party. Despite the United Nations' meaningless Security Council resolution urging Israel to withdraw - and the Bush Administration's almost incomprehensible backing for the measure - peace-loving nations must realize that movements that send suicide bombers on Passover and Shabbat deserve whatever punishment is inflicted on them.
Which brings us to the question of morality.
In coming weeks, Israel will repeatedly be tested to observe the fine line between active self-defense and the rage for revenge. The military effort will necessarily force the IDF to confront innocent Palestinians - at a time when suicide bombings make it a challenge to trust even them. Many will die and others will be wounded, and homes and other property destroyed.
Senior military leaders must make sure that troops inflict only the minimum, unavoidable damage.
In the fog of combat, mistakes will surely be made. Israel must show that it is carrying out a military mission with as much compassion and humanity as it can.
As the Jewish state, Israel has a continuing responsibility to be a model to the world. We pray it will be again in this agonizing moment of its history.