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February 14, 2003

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PAGE 4 David Bornstein Mourn the Columbia? As I write this column our community just stay home with my wife and children and concluded a memorial ceremony for the Co- write my answer. lumbia astronauts, including, of course, Ilan As is often the case, the question begged Ramon, the Israeli pilot, hero, and other questions. Were we mourning because a crewmember who died aboard the shuttle. I Jew was on board? Would we have held the didn't attend, not out of disrespect or disre- ceremony if he wasn't? What did we do as a gard for the event, but simply because, when community when the Challenger exploded I asked a simple question, I came up with no (honestly I don't recall)? Why don't we mourn good answer: Why are we having this service? at a public ceremony whenever a terrorist And when I asked the question, I decided to attack kills tens of Israelis? Why don't we cry By Carl Alpert Those who weren't elected Editor 'S note: This column was scheduled to run last week. The Heritage contacted Carl Alpert after the Shuttle tragedy for his corn- meets which pre-empted today's column. i~dFA---This is being written before the Israel election results were announced. By the time this appears in print the electoral achieve- ments of Likud, Labor, Shinui and other more or less well known parties will already be in the headlines. Twenty-eight parties originally sought the support of the voters, including four Arab lists, but at the last moment two Jewish parties withdrew. Based on past experience I would venture to guess that from 12 to 15 of them gathered sufficient votes to give them repre- sentation in the Knesset. Who were the others? What did they stand for? Were they worthy of more support than they got? We look at a sampling of those that, from all advance indi- cations, did not succeed. e. The Men's Rights Party. Their platform demanded equal rights for men in divorce cases, the right of fathers to prevent unwanted births, the linkage of alimony to rise in pay, and not to the cost of living index. Working with the party was the Association of Taxi Drivers who fought against restrictions on their operations. Yisrael Aheret (A Different Israel). This was a party against politicians - all of them. The leaders demanded that all posts in the govern- ment cabinet be filled by professionals quali- fied by talent or experience in their fields, and not by politicians. On general issues they advo- cated unilateral separation from the Palestin- ians, privatization of government-owned in- dustries and separation of state and religion. The Social Justice Party campaigned jointly with a bloc seeking to advance the interests of the Negev. Their campaign slogans included "Social revolution," "Return the rule to the people," "Defend the citizens from the authori- ties," and "Separate the people's representa- tives from the capitalists." Ahavat Yisrael (Love of Israel) was founded by the grandson of the 106-year-old Kabbalist rabbi, Yitzhak Kaduri, who was in open oppo- sition to the large haredi party, Shas. Kaduri's promise that voters for his party would be rewarded by the Almighty with wealth, happi- ness and, where appropriate, with a proper spouse, was censored out of the publicity by the national election board, but somehow kept showing up. Moreshet Avot (Heritage of the Fathers) was headed by the colorful and flamboyant figure, Yosef Ba-Gad, a former member of the Knesset, who had been a clowning figure there. He demanded that Ministers in the govern- ment cabinet should serve voluntarily and give their salaries to social causes. The day before the elections he withdrew his party from the poll. Tsomet (Crossroads) was the party of Rafael (Raful) Eitan, former ChiefofStaffofthe military forces and a former member of the Knesset and a government Minister, but he took no part in the campaign. The platform w~s secular and right wing. Its slogan: "Zionism always needs you". Citizen and State Party. All of its campaign publicity was in the Russian language, and presumably sought to attract the votes of Rus- sian immigrants. Its call to the Russians was to take over the government and save Israel. Lehava (Flame) undertook to represent the unemployed, the handicapped and the single parent families. It also called for reducing the power of the banks. Liberal Progressive Party (Leader). The party called for an international campaign against terror, encouragement of aliyah and adoption of a constitution which would sepa- rate religion from the state, but its publicity was nowhere to be seen. Hamercaz (The Center). This party had originally been the great hope of those who sought to bridge the gap between right and left in Israeli politics. It made a grand entry into the previous Knesset but quickly disintegrated and was abandoned by most of its leading members. Its present attempt to make a return faltered, and only two days before the polls it announced withdrawal. The Green Party had an environmental program to combat air pollution and destruc- tion of the beaches, and to preserve Israel's green areas from the destructive activity of building contractors. It also stood for social justice and civil liberties, nice generalities, like motherhood, that no one could oppose. So obviously the Israeli voters had a wide choice. From the beginning itwas obvious that most of those listed above had little chance. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. O CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE O ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 36 Press Awards FLORI Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Caeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer HERITA GE Florida Jewish News ( ISN 0199-0721 ) is published weekly for $34.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($41.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 207 O'Brien Road, Su i te 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407)'831-0507 email: Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Elaine Schoopmg Circulation Rachel Hughes Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Sara Crusade Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Carl Alpert Tim Boxer David Bomstein Gail Simons Production Dcpattmnt David Lehman Ted Harks Rachel Levy . I I when a commercial plane goes down, killing hundreds? Does it matter if a disaster occurs over the skies of the United States, Israel, or Indonesia? What is the difference between seven people dying in a space shuttle and seven people dying from cancer, or a terrorist bomb, or a car accident or tornado? Every day the Orlando obits have more than seven names. Maybe the answer is there's no difference at all. Let's face facts. There were only seven people aboard the Columbia. Each of them volun- teered for something that, while superficially routine, is in actuality a bullet slung on a bomb into outer space and returned to land through 3,000-degree heat. The real differences are media and technology related. The heart wrenching disaster made great headlines. The shuttle, loaded with links to schools and children's experiments, with a gloriously mul- tiracial, multi-religious, global crew was a snap- shot of the new America, and because of that touched many of us (though truth be told, when a plane crashes we could probably say the same). So first, callous as it sounds, our cer- emony was media created. Second, something occurs to our psyches when the routine and mundane (a shuttle mission) suddenly goes awry. The ground feels unsteady, as if we stand in the midst of an earthquake. Our faith quakes as well. Techno- logical wonders, on which we base so much of our hope for the future, no longer seem won- drous. They become fragile, complex to a fault, compromised by slashed budgets and shallow scrutiny. And so our sense of our own well being, our secure world comes into question, and we feel queasy and unsettled, as if every- thing we take for granted should now be ques- tioned. And the truth is that questions are good, but good'goes wrong, and even the most redundant systems can fail. As Jews we have prayers for almost every aspect of trivialize, but to appreciate the pects of the miracle of life. Life delicate, so perhaps the answer here is' each day taking nothing for granted. when the mundane turns macabre shaken, but our faith in the beaut~ won't break. Finally, I can only hope that our ceremony didn't occur solely Ramon was on board. I do believe people who will take care of Jews believe that we are a special, unique with great gifts that have I also believe we are only people, less than anyone else, and exalted above others. We can take pride i heritage andtraditions without heroes on pedestals. All life is cred, and so, in my mind, there is no~ tive distinction between a life between Cuba and Florida or a space miles above Texas. Both are tragic. contain heroes. Both deserve our acknowledgement. I mourn for Israel's loss, at a time so desperately needs heroes. I mourn for~ for I believe that space exploration is ai adventure thatwill continue kind. I mourn for the seven a terrible accident, and I mourn which now questions itsl I mourn I value every life lost, ever death, every day that gives us, life, hope, breath. The opinions expressed in this the writer's, and not those of the any other Jewish organization. word until next week. mail your comments, to By Jonathan S. Tobin change in the Palestinian culture of that fuels it. Israelis know Oslo was a Was America listening when Israel spoke and refuse to trade land for terror a last week? How do we know that? Because in Ariel Sharon's second consecutive election two years, the people of Israel hav, victory was noted and then brushed aside by polls twice, and each time they most of the mainstream media in this country, parties of the left a historic shellacking. On the day following the vote, most of the second vote held last week, Israeli voter5 media's attention focused on President Bush's Labor its worst-ever showing. State of the Union address and its eloquent Why? Because though most restating of the case for action against Iraq. A hard-core right-wingers, they are, few days later, it was completely forgotten as leaders of the defeated left, realists both the United States and Israelwere joined in Palestinians. But it seem shocked mourning over the tragic loss of the landslides still aren't enough for Space Shuttle Columbia with its crew of six American media to get this message. Americans and one Israeli. So what else should American But to the extent that America's chattering glean from the recentvoting? First, it is classes thought about the verdict of Israeli forget the misleading labels by which democracy, their conclusion was that the re- cans misunderstand Israeli politics. suits meant nothing. According to the wise It is no longer possible to 1~ men and women who write editorials for daily every American news American newspapers, Israel's voters can't be let has long pretended, that Labor trusted to do what is in their best interests. And moderate party of Israel's center, and their only advice for the victor was to forget words Likud and Sharon could not be what he has promised Israel's people and do as Or printed without the phrase "ril they demand. "hard-line" attached to it. Havin On the day following his re-election, the elected on a sensible combination New York Times insisted Sharon reward the security policies and centri: terrorists for their 29 months of bloodshed by possible peace plans, it is more than agreeing to negotiate concessions to them be- that Sharon's Likud is the fore they stop their campaign of terrorism, resents Israel's political center. In a similar piece on the same day, the At the same time, Labo~ Washington Post even blamed Sharon for the leader, Amram Mitzna breakdown of a peace process that had actually failed vision of the Oslo collapsed due to the Palestinian decision to centrist, it is today supported onl choose war over peace months before he was ity of bitter-end ideologues. first elected two years ago. Following the lem- Indeed, for all of the talk in the ruing-like lead of Americans for Peace Now, the media about the Israeli people's Postdemandedthatanyadditionalaidtoisrael settlements, in the new Knesset be linked to concessions, cates and sympathizers of the: The Chicago Tribune chimed in, saying it ment now overwhelmingly outnumber: understood why Israelis opted for Sharon, but who oppose their existence. lamented that this state of affairs will make it Making our peace with the Israeli difficult for Bush to press the prime minister, results will also require Americans to Defining Israeli moderation fundamental shift in our expectations One reason for this spin is the repetition of how even a theoretical step toward ambiguous poll results that purport to show happen. In his June 24 speech on the majorityofIsraelisoppose settlements and East, President Bush seemed to want peace negotiations. This leads the wise that an American policy based on men and women of the press here to conclude Israel to make concessions that that even though Likud has won again, the tinian terrorism would not brin Israeli people don't support them.The White House (as opposed to Does that make sense? Not really. State Department) was actually way Polls do say the Israeli people would trade the media in treating some settlements for real peace. But the same as the political mainstream of Israel. polls will also tell you that they no longer But Secretary of State Colin support making any concessions, let alone appears to have come to his senses permanent territorial surrender, in the ab- s enf~ ACnmple e sa n of terror .and~a ~ :~, ~ See "T~in?on page~6, ,~