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January 11, 2019

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 11, 2019 Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen at a menorah lighting at the start of Chanukah in Ramat Gan, Dec. 2, 2018. By Ben Sales (JTA)--Israeli police want him to be indicted in three separate corruption cases. He's embattled from left and right for his attacks on Gaza and his policy in the West Bank. He's made a point of cozying up to controver- sial right-wing nationalist leaders, from Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro to Hungary's Vik- tor Orban--and especially to President Donald Trump. Many American Jewish lead- ers say his policies are driving away Diaspora Jews. And if the upcoming Israeli election were to be held today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would almost definitely win for the fourth time in a row. Probably in a landslide. Why? In a sentence, it's because enough Israelis trust him with their security. To his voters, everything else is commentary. "They think that if he may have received bribes or played with Israel's telecom market to have personal gain, this has nothing to do with the way he confronts Iran or the way he handles things in Syria," said Israeli political journalist Tal Schneider, referring to some of the corruption allegations against Netanyahu. "I think in Israel, you win elections on security issues only," she said. "It's very easy to speak to people's fears because in Israel, fears are real. It's in people's lives on a daily basis." Polls ahead of the April 9 election have Netanyahu's Likud party holding a wide lead over a growing group of competitors in the opposition. Likud is slated to win around 30 seats in Israel's 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, put- ting Netanyahu in the best position to form a ruling co- alition. His closest opponents would get half that number. mm 1 2 D O 14 I T 17 S O 2O P O 23 E L 27 L E 34 35 B I 39 U S 43 B U 52 53 A Z 55 N 0 6O N 0 63 6 7 8 E B E M I L U N I 24 25 26 M O R A R O V E D lll 40 41 42 A D I L I V A N Y lll 57 58 59 E H O V I N E T O m m 12 13 R S I E O G T A 30 31 E S P E T E 46 47 P C I R C E N D I O C S 719238465 248675931 563149728 87 1963542 692854317 354712896 437521689 186397254 9254861 73 It's the security, stupid Netanyahu's international critics--the United Nations, the European Union, the former Obama administra- tion, liberal American Jew- ish groups, leading liberal newspapers--have portrayed him as too aggressive in Gaza, too cavalier with the lives of Palestinian civilians and un- willing to make peace with the Palestinian Authority. That's not to mention the protests over his policies on African asylum seekers, religious plu- ralism in Israel or the status of Arab Israelis. But in Israel, polls show that most Jews think Netan- yahu is not aggressive enough in Gaza. In November, his de- fense minister resigned, com- plaining that Netanyahu was too risk-averse in deploying the military. When it comes to the army, his centrist rivals have only tried to talk tougher than the prime minister. In 2014, following a war in Gaza that saw Israel pilloried in international forums, a left-leaning group of former generals praised Netanyahu for his "level-headed leader- ship." Jewish Israelis tend to see their fighting in Gaza as a necessary response, not a war of choice. On the diplomatic front, both Israelis and Palestinians have despaired of any hope for a peace accord anytime soon. The other topics--from minority rights to religious policy--generally don't even register as election issues in Israel. "Security is pretty much always the number-one issue for Israeli voters, and it comes before the diplomatic front when Israelis rank their pri- orities in polls," Lahav Harkov, Alfred Bader By Penny Schwartz (JTA)--Alfred Bader, a refugee who escaped Nazi- occupied Vienna as a young teen in 1938, and later became a chemist, businessman, phi- lanthropist for Jewish and other causes, and an influ- ential art collector, has died. Bader's charitable giving established a legacy for Jew- ish education in Milwaukee, including for its day schools. He died Dec. 23 at his home in the Wisconsin city. He was 94. Bader and his family foun- dation donated millions of dollars to social, medical and cultural institutions in Milwaukee, along with a senior contributing editor for The Jerusalem Post, wrote to JTA. "He keeps the focus on security and his credentials as an expert on that front, as much as possible." It's true that two former Israeli generals, both chiefs of staff, have founded new parties this year specifically aiming to oppose Netanyahu. But so far, neither is attack- ing Netanyahu directly on security issues. Moshe Yaalon, one of Netanyahu's former de- fense ministers, said his party would represent "the good, values-based, clean-handed land of Israel." Benny Gantz, a former general, has only begun to open up about his platform. In a television in- terview Thursday, he said he would leave several West Bank settlement blocs in place but that an agreement with the Palestinians would bolster Israel's security. "We need established, on- going efforts, in light of any challenge, to reach a diplo- matic accord, with the un- derstanding that this is part of our resilience, this is part of our security," Gantz told Israel's Channel 16. "There needs to be a real diplomatic effort, without being suckers and without being irrespon- sible." A fragmented opposition A chorus of other candi- dates has also failed to match him at the polls. Yair Lapid, a one-time news anchor and finance ministerwho leads the centrist Yesh Atid party, has a strong base but hasn't been able to broaden his appeal. The once-robust Labor Party, headed by former telecom executive Avi Gabbay, is mired in the single digits. If anything, the multiplicity Queen's University in Ontario, Canada--his alma mater-- and institutions in Great Britain and Israel, where his foundation funds research, treatment and care-giving innovations for people with Alzheimer's disease. Bader was born in 1924 in Vienna, the son of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, from an aristocratic Hungar- ian family. After his father died when he was 2 weeks old, he was adopted by his father's sister and raised as a Jew. He later converted to Judaism, according to the Journal Sentinel. At 14, he escaped via the Kindertransport to England. In 1940, he was among otherwar refugees deported to Canada. There he was held for nearly two years at a detention center before he was taken in by Martin Wolff, a Jewish railway engineer in Montreal and a historian of Canadian Jewish life. Wolff welcomed Bader as part of his family and encouraged him to complete his education. Bader's aunt died at the Nazi concentration camp at Theresienstadt. Facing discrimination against Jews in higher edu- cation, Bader eventually was accepted at Queen's Univer- sity and earned dual degrees in chemistry and history. In 1950, on a scholarship, of new parties may only help Netanyahu by fragmenting his opponents. The past few elections have seen sev- eral new parties spring up, all competing for the same bloc of voters. Meanwhile, the right has remained relatively united around Netanyahu's leadership. Netanyahu's opponents say the only way to beat him is by joining together. Ehud Barak, Israel's most recent left-wing prime minister, said Netanyahu would be defeated only "if, in the center-left camp, a bloc comes together." He called for Yaalon, Gantz and several other opposition parties to unite. But only the opposite has happened: A center-left alliance, the Zion- ist Union, split in dramatic fashion this week. "The center-right is com- peting to lead the state, while the center-left is competing in an internal primary to see who has the most power within its camp," Ovad Yehezkel, a former centrist Israeli govern- ment official, wrote on the Israeli news site Ynet. "In that sense, the fragmentation of parties helps the center-right win elections. And paradoxi- cally, the center-left rolls out the red carpet to the Prime Minister's office for its rivals." Corruption fatigue Netanyahu's main prob- lems of late have been the potential indictments against him and a growing aura of corruption. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (he ended up going to prison) resigned even before police recommended that he be indicted. But that has already happened for Netanyahu and he shows no signs of back- ing down. He has vowed to .q Bader completed his doctor- ate in organic chemistry at Harvard. A year later, while working as a researcher for Pittsburgh Plate Glass company at their plant in Milwaukee, he co- founded Aldrich Chemical company. It filled a void for researchers who needed a consistent source for hard- to-find, high quality chemical compounds. From the niche market, he built that company and several others into some of the world's largest, according to industry publications. The Jewish Federation of Milwaukee oversees the Helen Bader Scholarship Fund, which provides $500,000 an- nually to families to expand accessibility for children to attend area day schools, ac- cording to the Bader Philan- thropy website. The scholarship, which has donated more than $7.5 million since 1992, also es- tablished a $10 million day school endowment. The fund is named for Bader's first wife, a convert to Judaism, according to Bader's obituary in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The couple had two sons before divorcing in 1981. Bader then married Isabel Overton, his first love, who he met in 1949 and with whom he has pursued philan- thropic giving. remain prime minister even if he is formally charged with a crime. Will that cost him the elec- tion? Probably not, Harkov said. Netanyahu frequently demonizes the Israeli press (and, like Trump, often claims that negative articles are "fake news"). At this point, Harkov said, Israelis are just tired of the back-and-forth. Netan- yahu's opponents, as well as government watchdogs, have called his decisions dangerous to Israel's democracy. But if Israelis are feeling squeamish, it isn't showing in the polls. "There's so much news about Netanyahu's investiga- tions that they don't take it seriously anymore," Harkov wrote. "Yes, there are corrupt politicians who go to prison, but enough people seem to be willing to shrug the latest things off as just champagne and cigars or point to the incessant leaks to the media as a sign of bias by both the press and the police." Netanyahu's last election campaign, in 2015, also was plagued with scandal-- though he was not indicted. Leading up to Election Day, it appeared he could lose. But he pulled off a comeback vic- tory, emerging in a stronger position than before. And the longer he stays in power, Schneider said, the more inevitable his victories seem. In Israel, there are no term limits. "The people of Israel don't see anyone else in Israel who can do it," she said. "With the time passing, he's get- ting stronger and stronger because when you sit in that chair, you're the incumbent. You can use all the facilities to keep promoting yourself." In 2009, Bader Philanthro- pies began supporting Israeli social service organizations and researchers to tackle is- sues of aging, with a focus on the Jewish state's diverse cul- tural population, according to the philanthropy website. Among the programs it sup- ports are a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and programs at Israel's Melabev-Community Clubs for the Elderly. The scope of Bader's phi- lanthropy reflects his lifelong array of interests in science, history and art--subjects he mastered against the odds of the upheaval and challenges of his early life, which he and others have said inspired him to do good and leave a mark. "He had an incredible life," his son Daniel, who oversees Bader Philanthropies, told the Journal Sentinel. "He built an incredible dynasty with his business accomplishments. He has a legacy in three differ- ent areas--in art, chemistry and philanthropy." His lifelong devotion to collecting led him from an early interest in stamps to a keen eye and passion for art, notably 17th- century Dutch masters, including Rembrandt. Over decades, the Baders donated hundreds Baker on page 15A