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February 28, 2003

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PAGE 2 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY| JTA Weekly Summary Following are JTA's MORNING news briefs for Tues- day, February 25, 2003. Please remember to credit JTA if you print any of them. Short, intense war predicted A U.S.-led war in Iraq would be intense and relatively short, Israel's defense minister predicted. Speaking Tues- day during a visit to the Gaza Strip, Shaul Mofaz said the war's outcome would affect the entire region. In another development, the United States has agreed to grant Israel direct access to information from American intelligence satellites that cover western lraq, where missiles could be launched that can hit Israel, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported. Meridor spearheads contacts Israeli Cabinet minister Dan Meridor reportedly is involved in international contacts seeking a truce in the Gaza Strip. U.S European and Egyptian officials are among those involved in the effort, Army Radio reported. According to the report, the plan is the latest version of the "Gaza First" proposal, under which Israel would withdraw its forces and ease restrictions on Palestinian civilians if Palestinian security services halt terror at- tacks. The contacts come after the Israeli army stepped up operations in Gaza to stop Palestinians from firing rockets at Israeli towns. - Likud members embittered -- Israeli Prime Minister Arie!Sharon faced criticism in his Likud Party over his distribution of choice Cabinet portfolios to other coalition partners. Some Likud offi- cials reportedly believe Sharon could have brought the Shinui Party into the coalition without promising five portfolios, including the Interior Ministry. Woman named to JAFI board Carole Solomon was officially named chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel's Board of Governors. Solomon, vice chair of the United Jewish Communities and chair of its Campaign/Financial Resource Development Pillar, was confirmed unanimously by the Board of Governors in Israel on Tuesday. Solomon, former president of the UJA National Women's Campaign, is the first woman to as- sume the JAFI post. She will begin her four-year term in June, replacing Alex Grass, founder of Rite Aid. Solomon, who lives in New York, was approved unanimously Sun- day by the Jewish Agency's nominating committee, which includes representatives of UJC and Keren Hayesod, and on Monday by the World Zionist Organization. By Matthew Gutman TEL AVIV (JTA)--The ap- poin'tment of an acting mayor in Jerusalem has provided a new source of religious-secu- lar tensions in the sharply di- vided city. Last Sunday, after Jerusa- lem Mayor Ehud Olmert an- nounced his resignation so he could take a seat inthe Knesset, he was succeeded by Deputy Mayor Uri Lupoliansky of the fervently Orthodox Agudat Yisrael Party. Lupoliansky, the first fer- vently Orthodox Jew to lead Israel's capital, is likely to re- main mayor until municipal elections are held in October. Lupoliansky's appointment reflects the ascendancy of the fervently Orthodox parties in Jerusalem's City Council - of eight deputy mayors, six are fervently Orthodox- which has caused anxiety among secular Jews and officials of the liberal Jewish streams. Nevertheless, in his inau- gural speech as acting mayor, the 50-year-old Lupoliansky said people should not be "judged on the basis of their lifestyle and dress, but on the basis of their acts." "I extend my hand to all," he told the City Council, which includes a Conservative rabbi, an Is- raeli Arab and a leader of the gay community. "I will be everyone's mayor and act to reduce the feelings of discrimination and neglect" among the Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem, he said. Anat Hoffman, the director of the Israel Religious Action Do You Have Pre-Paid Funeral Arrangements With Another Funeral Home? We Can and Will Accept All Other Pre-Paid Plans [ 10% Discount on . I nnservlces and merchandise un I I on any new I I n Pre-need contracts. I I 640 Lee Rd. Orlando, Florida W.E. "Manny" Adams, LFD Marilyn J. Glenn, LFD, James R. Cardinal, Executive Director Michael Meyer, Family Pre-need Counselor Tzvi Halikman, Ritual Director mayor causes Center and formerly a Meretz legislator in the City Council, said she believes his "major test will be his attitude toward Progressive Judaism." Lupoliansky has been asked to meet soon with Rabbi David Ellenson, the president of the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College - Jewish Insti- tute of Religion. "He'll have to bite the bul- let," Hoffman said, "If he ac- cepts the meeting, then we know this is a man we can deal with, if not, there will be inter- national repercussions." Dudi Zilberschlag, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Orthodox affairs, expressed the stance of the fervently Or- thodox Council of Torah Sages when it comes to meeting with officials from the liberal Jew- ish streams. "If the council of rabbis al- lows it, the meeting will hap- pen. But we are not about to compromise on any element of Judaism. "In fact, the sages prefer to deal with Hamas or the evan- gelists than Reform. We pay and are willing to pay a very high price to keep Orthodoxy." Meanwhile, Roni Alon, a city councilwoman for the secular Jerusalem Now Party, has al- ready reached her verdict about the new mayor. "Lupoliansky is the worst thing that could happen to Jerusalem," she said. A fervently Orthodox mayor would ban soccer games on the Sabbath, halt funding to museums that operate on the Sabbath and not issue licenses to the few restaurants and ca- fes open in Jerusalem on Fri- day nights and Saturdays, she said in an interview with Ha'aretz. In order to allay the fears of secular parties like Jerusalem Israel By Matthew Gutman TEL AVIV (JTA)--The Is- raeli Cabinet's decision last week to find the swiftest way to bring thousands of Ethiopi- ans to Israel has reignited a controversy over how - and if- to deal with the potential im- migrants. Last Sunday, the Cabinet approved a plan to immedi- ately bring to Israel some 18,000 to 20,000 Falash Mura, the majority of whose ances- tors converted from Judaism to Christianity. In recent years, thousands ofFalash Mura left their homes in outlying areas of Ethiopia and moved to camps run by immigration activists in Addis Ababa and the northern city of Gondar, where they wait to be photo by BP Images Uri Lupoliansky, a fer- vently Orthodox member of Jerusalem's City Council, be- came the city's acting mayor at the Jerusalem city hall on Feb. 16, 2003. Now - and indeed of the ma- jority of Jerusalemites who are not fervently Orthodox - Lupoliansky pledged as one of his first steps as acting mayor to maintain the status quo on matters of religion and state in the city. A devotee of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashev, head of the Council of Torah Sages, Lupoliansky said he intends to tackle poverty in what is Israel's poorest city, a condi- tion that has become increas- ingly severe in recent years. He also plans to provide equal educational opportuni- ties for all segments of the city's diverse population, he said in his inaugural news con- ference Sunday. However, he said, he has yet to formulate detailed plans for running the city. "There is nothing easier than outlining a series of populistic plans that will win applause," he said. "All my ac- quaintances know that is not cleared for immigration, under the Law of Return, Activists concerned about "which itself is often consid- my work style." Rabbi, Ravitz, a lawmaker fervently Orthodox Torah Judaism Lupoliansky's formert called Jerusalem's "such a sweet man" he doubts change the cit "We're not closing of coffee Shabbat, vently Orthodox posed to force our other people." that Jerusalem might see a "Judaification" q "Jerusalem ish city. It is not even Tel Aviv Lupoliansky's pol reer was born when appointed him head Degel HaTorah Jerusalem in 1989. He was appointed mayor in Teddy Kol government and qu sumed responsibility munity and famil When Olmert Jerusalem's 1993 elections, Lu again elected deputy By 1998, he was Olmert's substitute mayor was ill As the ranking mayor, he was res municipal planning struction. While a con ure within the City Lupoliansky is Israel for foundin his father, the Yad ity, which medical equil~ and disabled. Started in 1976, the0 zation now has 6,0001 teersandalmost nationwide. the fate of the Falash Mura applauded the Cabinet's deci- sion, which opponents con- demned for being unrealistic, impossible to implement and contrary to Israel's Law of Re- turn. The plan, initiated by Inte- rior Minister Eli Yishai of the fervently Orthodox Shas Party, could cost cash-strapped Is- rael $510 million. When Israel began carrying out large-scale immigration operations of Ethiopian Jews in the early 1990s, many Falash Mura attempted to join the wave, claiming they were Jew- ish by ancestry. mass Ethiopian a of Return with Falash Mura, the group could be over under the Law of Entry. In the past, used citizenship to family reunification. Israel's Law of lows Immigration foJ The number of Falash Mura continued to grow, leading the Israeli government to believe they were not Jews, but just wanted to leave famine- plagued Ethiopia. Ethiopian Jewish activists have been lobbying for the Falash Mura, maintaining that many of them were forced to convert or never ~'eally aban- doned their Jewish faith. In 1998 after bringing a group of 4,000 Falash Mura, most of whom had relatives in Israel, the government changed its policy, reviewing each Ethiopian immigration request on an individual basis. According to Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein, the Falash Mura have no right to immigrate to Israel. "Not one of them is eligible" ered too liberal," he said. A spokesman for the Shas Party, Itzhak Sudri, reacted angrily. "Since when does the Ab- sorption Ministry decide who is a Jew?" he said. Shas initiated its plan to rescue the Falash Mura more than a year ago, when the party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, issued a ruling calling for "saving the souls of Israel." Unable to prove any lineage to Judaism, many Falash Mura have begun to study Hebrew and Judaism. The government has sug- gested circumventing the Law parent, along with his spouse, children, dren and their s Knesset member Massala, immigrant, concedes t Falash Mura are not. according to halachah,( ish law. ily reunification is enough to bring "Anyway," he guments about the Return are linked,by blood to Jewry. Because many pian immigrants in Israel with on] on their back version institutes ing courses, and percent grants on their immigration tion costs are The Finance mates that the $100,000 for each immigrant. See "Aliyah" on