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January 6, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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January 6, 2012
 

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PAGE 4A by Andrew Silow-Carroll NJJN Editor-in-Chief From Irene's winds to autumn's snow, The past year put on quite a show. An earthquake made us all lose focus. What's next? A plague of swarming locusts? Or maybe just a rain of frogs. Like Sarkozy, if that name jogs A memory of public gaffes When he and POTUS shared some laughs And said what everybody knew About Binyamin You Know Who. A tip for parents and for tykes: Don't tell the truth near open mics. In truth it was a rocky year Between Barack and the premier. We wondered how the prez could let a Trusted aide like Leon Panetta Lecture Israel while on a visit. A "family feud," they said, or is it? At least when my folks disagree They try to keep it off TV. HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 6, 2017 2011: Rhymes and misdemeanors In Tel Aviv there were events That showed its people were in tents, With protests that would soon inspire Many a foreign Occupier. With pressure building, Bibi found A need to speak on friendly ground. After looking hard and long, res- cue came from the U.S. Congress. From Tripoli to Tahrir Square The Arab Spring was in the air; Said every emir, king, and sultan: "Look, our people are revoltinY The West looked on with fear and glee Rooting for democracy And worried that the ballots would Benefit the Brotherhood (And not the kind you find in shuls But those who love Sharia's rules. Our guys -- or at least my hunch is -- Much prefer their bagel brunches). The news was twisty, dark, and weird, And that's just Matisyahu's beard. When he announced his plans to shave it, Millions called on him to save it. Had this hasidic king of reggae Become a secular shmeggegge? "God forbid," he told his buffs. "And don't forget to buy my stuff." The year just past was tough on ritual And customs that we find habitual. In San Fran it was hit or miss Whether they would ban the bris, While Holland's folk rose up in order To ban the right to kosher slaughter. It's not the Jews, opponents said; It's just the things they do instead. Our enemies loomed far and nearier, From Lebanon to Assad's Syria, To Tehran, where Islamic morns Have visions of atomic bombs. But no foe, never mind his crimes, Scared us like The New York Times, As if Tom Friedman and his advice is Israel's single biggest crisis. But let's not end with disagreement. Instead consider the achievement Of folks like Gabby Giffords who Beat the odds and soldiered through. Or Debbie Friedman, rest in peace, Whose music gave us sweet release. Greet the year with fresh demeanor, And never mention Tony Weiner. Andrew Silow-Carmll is Editor-in-Chief of the New Jersey Jewish News. Between columns you can read his writing at the JustASC biog. Letter from Israel Things to ponder By Terri Susan Fine, PhD For the first time in its history, Florida's Jewish Republicans will truly matter in a criti- cal presidential nomination. It sounds like an outrageous statementand likely untrue, but it isn't. The complex nature of the nomination process has largely excluded Florida's Jewish Republicans not because they are Jewish or Republican, but because they live in Florida. Florida's registered voters have been part of a political schizophrenia that has made them both important and disposable--during the nomination process, Florida's votes have been disposable, while in the general election, Florida's votes have been crucial. Yet in 2012, it is Florida's registered Republicans whose votes will matter. Among Jewish Republicans, those votes will be magnified. In the 2012 nomination process, it is Jewish Republican votes that will ount in Florida in a way that they have not before. Jan. 31 marks Florida's second effort at an early primary. Until 2008, Florida held its presidential preference primary sometime in March, after the Southern regional primary (called "Super Tuesday")and, in more recent times, after California. The primary and cau- cus schedule results from a dance, as it were, among several entities including the national and state parties, and the state legislatures. Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures the power to make election laws absent national election laws. For example, there is no national law that requires voter registration, but for those states that do require it (all but one), national law forbids states from requiring residency in any state beyond 30 days in order to be eligible to vote in that state for a particular election. Adding to any state's power is that political parties and, by extension, any activity inwhich political parties engage, such as nominating candidates for public office, are mentioned nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. Finally, in the early 1970s, both national parties changed their rules so that there would be no primaries or caucuses before January 1 in presidential election years, and the ratio of caucuses to primaries has changed such that two-thirds of all states held caucuses as late as 1968 while about 80 percent of all states now host primaries. Taking all of these factors together helps explain why the Iowa caucus (Jan. 3, 2012) and New Hampshire primary (Jan. 10, 2012) happen so soon after Jan. I while Florida continues its efforts to remain relevant by holding its primary early. An early primary insures that Floridians will enjoy more than lip service in the nomina- tion process by having their say before all but one candidate has dropped out due to lack of voter support, campaign funds, or both. In 2012, just one major party is holding primaries and caucuses, as no one has stepped up to challenge President Obama for the Demo- cratic nomination. It is on the Republican side where the outcome of the primaries and cau- cuses will shape the 2012 presidential election. We have already witnessed dramatic entrances and exits from the Republican nomination, including Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain (perhaps more by press time), accompanied by highs and lows, such as Michele Bachmann's decision to be the first among all Republicans to formally file her intent to run for president only to be upstaged and out funded by better known candidates including Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. The Florida legislature's decision to schedule its primary in January 2008 resulted in both major parties threatening that Florida would lose half (if Republican) or all (if Democrat) its representation at the national nominat- ing conventions in August 2008 if it moved forward with its Jan. 26, 2008 primary, which it did anyway. President George W. Bush's low approval ratings in 2008 made it unlikely that the 2008 Republican presidential nominee would get elected. By association, positive views toward any political party create advantages for mem- bers of that same party come election time. The opposite is also true. This means that, no matter when Florida scheduled its 2008 primary, the eventual nominee would likely have lost the presidential election. The situation is quite different in 2012. Holding an early Republican primary in 2012 gives all Florida primary voters a magnified voice in the nomination process. Knowing this, why do Jewish Republicans matter more than other Republican primary voters? Because Jews demonstrate high vote r turnout compared with F/he on page 19A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. O O  CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE O O O ISSN 0199-0721 W'mner of 4O Press Awards Elishor Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Mike Etzkin Kim Fischer HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- Society Editor Bookkeeping dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Gloria Yousha Panlette Harmon Kim Fischer Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage Account Executives paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Contributing Columnists Fern Park, FL 32730. Jim Shipley Ira 8harkansky Tim Boxer David Bomstein Terri Fine Ed Ziegler MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Production Department Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 David Lehman David Gaudio Teri Marks emaih news@orlandoheritage.com Loft Apple Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosky By Ira Sharkansky Lots of news. Less clarity. It's worth thinking about the details, and whether they amount to a watershed inviting a heroic decision. Khaled Mashaal, the senior leader of Hamas, has ordered his forces to cease attacks on Israeli targets. Mashaal's expression of non-violence has something to do with the peace agreement claimed to have been reached (once again) between Fatah and Hamas, but anyone seeking to check this out with Mashaal may have trouble locating him. Hamas has abandoned its Damascus headquarters in yet another sign of Syrian shakiness. It is not clear if Mashaal has decided to move in with party colleagues in Gaza, or to seek another location beyond Israel's reach (maybe)in Cairo, or some- where in the Gulf. All this may depend on current and future winds produced by Arab Spring. Who knows how far Mashaal's reach extends through the alphabet soup of Palestinian clusters that smuggle arms, assemble and fire rockets, and re- cruit suicide bombers. The list expands and contracts, and has included Izz ad- Din al-Qassam, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance, Popular Front for the Libera- tion of Palestine, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Jihad fibril Brigades, Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and whatever claims the label of al-Qaeda in Gaza or the West Bank. The Sudanese General heading the Arab League delegation to Syria provided a "reassuring" first impression of the situation observed. Yet one commenta- tor calls him "the world's worst human rights observer.., likely stinks of either a voluntary whitewash or an example of how the observers are being stage man- aged by the Syrian regime .... What does one expect from an Arab League mission headed by a loyalist of President Omar al-Bashir, currently wanted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity?" A senior Palestinian representative in the United States has written an op-ed piece for The Washington Post in which he admits a Jewish history in Palestine. His claim of an ancient Palestinian lineage is mythic, but so is the story of Abraham and some of the other Jewish forebears. Ron Paul has denied being an anti- Semite. He affirms his opposition to U.S. foreign aid to all countries, but views Israel as "one of our most important friends in the world." The print edition of Ha'aretz has a front page story that the head of Mossad "hint- ed" to a meeting of foreign ambassadors that "a nuclear Iran is not necessarily a threat to Israel's existence." The newspaper also reports that the Palestinian Authority is saying something about removing a demand for a settlement freeze as a condition for resuming talks with Israel. In return, it is asking for the release of more Israeli prisoners, perhaps 100, and perhaps including some old timers rather than just the recent iconic terrorists. Netanyahu's initial response is: Nope. No conditions for negotiations means no conditions. Is it time to break out the hard stuff and begin a New Year celebration? Not without reckoning with the recent liquidation of one Palestinian in Gaza and the wounding of several colleagues, said by Israelis to be on their way to doing something ugly near Eilat. This was followed by missiles fired into Israel, then Israel's bombing of targets in Gaza, and a senior IDF person saying again that continued rocket attacks require preparations for a major attack on Gaza. " Israeli sources seem to be admitting reports the air force has attacked convoys in the Sudan carrying munitions from Iran in the direction of Egypt for Gaza. On some purely domestic issues, the Chief Sephardi Rabbi is about to issue a halachic ruling as to whether a woman can deliver a eulogy at a funeral. In Pope-less and pyramid-less Rabbinical Judaism, that distinguished rabbi's ruling will only go so far to quiet anything. The police are moving cautiously against those who spit, curse, insult, and otherwise harass women doing what the harasser thinks is improper. Rabbis and the IDF are in a fuddle about requiring soldiers to remain in the audience when a female sings at a military function. A prominent Israeli economist with ties to the Finance Ministry has published his own fatwa that families with 8 or more children are statistically likely to damn their children to lives of mediocrity with- out academic, professional, or economic accomplishments. His focus is the ultra-Orthodox, and somewhat less on Arabs who are actu- ally reducing their feoundity (with the exception of Bedouins). He further noted that Haredim who insist that their children study nothing but sacred texts consign them to ignorance, poverty, and dependence, and harm the state that is responsible for protecting us from evil and directing the economy toward progress for us all. What to do about all of this? Some of you may disagree, but it seems to me that the positive signs suggesting impending salvation are neutralized by scepticism about them, and even moreso by negative signs also appearing in the "media. MoreoVer, they do not add up" to the kind of situation faced by Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakai, or David ben Gurion. The first responded to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem by establishing Rabbinic Juda- ism without the rituals of the Temple that no longer existed, and began a long period of Jewish passivity with respect to great powers. The second seized a moment in the lee of World War II and declared the State of Israel. If such times come once in 1900 years, we're not due for another until the year 3848. Jews are good at pondering. We began at least a half-millennium before Rabbi ben Zakai, have published some provocative stuff along the way, and are still at work. Ira Sharkansky is professor emeritus, Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He may be reached at irashark@gmail.com.