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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 8, 2019 PAGE 5A HERITAGE encourages readers to send in their opin- ions for the Viewpoint column. They must be signed; however, names will be withheld upon request. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit, if neces- sary. Opinions printed in Viewpoint do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the paper. The Jewish Academy is a jewel in our midst By Lisa Sholk tions in many capacities, both as a lay leader and profession- I have been a part of the al. As an educator, mother greater Orlando Jewish corn- and Jew, I have always had munity for 31 years. Over a particular affinity for the those years, I have servedour Jewish Academy of Orlando, many community organiza- formerly the Hebrew Day School. And in my continued support of the school, I have returned to a board position, in spite of my empty nest status. Recently, I have had the opportunity to be in school for some volunteering and I was so moved by what is going on there. Under the leadership of Alan Rusonik, head of school, there is a renewed dedication to Jewish learning and values. From a first grader I did not know, who stopped me in the hall, noticing a boot on my foot for a broken bone, and wished me a speedy recovery, to the third graders working with a special young adult employee from the RAISE program in the art room, I saw caring children everywhere I went. I felt so excited by the energy and spirit of Monday morning services led by Ru- sonik. All of the children sang prayers with joyous melodies, engaged in Mr. Rusonik's d'var Torah, and helped lead the services. Additionally, there has been a movement to celebrate holidays together, both Jewish and secular. Students and staff attended services for the second day of Sukkot at Temple Israel, and Simchat Torah at Ohev Shalom. The students had such an enriched holiday experience. And, the community response was overwhelmingly positive, as having 80 children be a part of holiday services added renewed joy to the beautiful holiday observance. When it came to MLK day, students came to school to have a groundbreaking ceremony for a Community Kindness Garden, and spent the rest of the day participating in age- appropriate service projects, both on and off of the campus. The infusion of Jewish values into almost every aspect of daily learning is what sets the Jewish Academy apart from all other schools in the Orlando area. The value of the Jewish Academy often gets over- looked as an answer to the complicated, stressful and often cruel world our children face every day. It is a place where we can give our chil- dren the ever-important tools they need to be successful in life, both academically and emotionally. I can't think of a more important start to a child's long academic life than an educational environment that fosters creativity and curiosity while infusing their daily lives with the incredible joys of being Jewish. This iswhy I continue tobe an active leader and donor to the Jewish Academy. I urge more community members to come take a tour of the school and see what's going on. You won't be disappointed! Lisa Sholk lives in Long- wood. By Emily Aspinwall evidently resisted the porous authority of UNIFIL, due to While the United Nations their active construction of Interim Front in Lebanon has elaborate tunnels under the emphasized Israel's protec- Israeli border. tion from Lebanese militant Hezbollah, a Lebanese- group Hezbollah, newfound based terrorist organization, evidence has demonstrated is heavily backed by Iran fi- otherwise. UNIFILis an inter- nancially and militarily.While national peacekeeping effort the establishment has made created to initiate Israel's recent strides in obtaining withdrawal from Lebanon seats in the Lebanese parlia- in 1978, but has evolved to ment, it is not an accurate promote stability within the reflection of the government. Lebanese and Israeli govern- The organization's violent, ments. However, Hezbotlah, Shiite militant attitude not an internationally recognized only seeks to terrorize Israel, terrorist organization, has but the United States and much of the Western world, as well. Overwhelmingly, Hezbollah's military contin- ues to increase in influence over Beirut and continues to act as its own separate entity rather than a representation of the Lebanese people who are greatly affected by the organization's destruction. While the idea of construct- ing tunnels under Israel's border may seem harmless, the threat of such actions are a massive threat to Israel's na- tional security andwelfare for Israelis. The border separat- ing Israel and Lebanon, also ceptable excuse nor a goal that will serve the democratic and Jewish ideals that are the TRUE underpinnings of the Jewish nationality enterprise. These individuals must be vocally opposed at every corner and if Bibi still insists on partnering with these so called 'ireligious parties" (imposters more accurately), and if the Israeli Election Commission permits them to run, then they and the PM must likewise be opposed vociferously and actively for the sake of Am Israel. Racism, hatred, homopho- bia and support for intimida- tion activities against Pal- estinians are NOT Jewish ideals and while they are being advanced by men who look religious on the outside, their dark hearts and sick and twisted ideologies are in direct contrast with the same Torah they claim to represent. They and their supporters like the PM himself must be stopped by the only means available to a civil society the ballot box. Aaron WeE Executive Director & CEO Central Florida Hillel Letters To The Editor We are a diverse community and we welcome your letters and viewpoints. The views and opinions expressed in the opinion pieces and letters published in The Heri- tage are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Heritage Florida Jewish News or its staff. The Heritage reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, content, and accuracy. And respectful of lashon hara, we will not print derogatory statements against any individual. Please limit letters to 250 words. Send letters to P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to news@ orlandoheritage.com. Otzma Yehudit party unfit to be in Knesset Dear Editor: Jewish Home Party isas repre- I am a proud and ardent hensible as it is condemnable. Zionist and have dedicated If they succeed, this will much of my adult life to serv- bring into the Knesset, the ingthese ideals and advancing inheritors of a racist ideology these goals because I believe that was outlawed in Israel that ultimately thiswill better and condemned by a growing serveALLofIsrael'scitizenry, number of important Jewish as well as support better rela- organizations in Israelandthe tions between Israel and her U.S.includingnoless thanthe neighbors. American Israel Public Affairs The recent decision by Committee. Prime Minister Bibi Netan- This kind of thinking has yahu to embrace the racist no place in civil society and Otzma Yehudit party along embracing it in order to win with National Union and the an election is neither an ac- known as the Blue Line, has shown to have several tunnels claimed by Hezbollah, which is an immediate violation of UNIFIL regulations and border sovereignty. UNIFIL's annual budget of $500 million does not appear to alleviate the long-standing conflictwithin the Israeli-Lebanese border. The threat of these terror tunnels to Israeli society was previously disregarded by the majority of the international community, but further ex- amination and presentation of evidence by the Israeli Defense Forces reveals the true inten- tions of Hezbollah's operation. Israeli politicians have noted that Hezbollah's territorial in- trusion into Northern Israel's border is a blatant violation of the 'United Nation Security Resolution 1701, which en- tails border sovereignty and protection against intrusion. Notably, Hezbollah has also shown to smuggle weapons and other mechanisms of terror through these tun- nels with the sole purpose of threatening Israeli society. To international dismay, the United Nations allegedly just became aware of this issue, despite it continuing for years. Within these years of continu- ation, the Israeli military can only accomplish so much for national defense, despite UNIFIL's promises to work with Israel to protect their sovereignty. These tunnels are primarily used as entryways into Israeli territory in order to orchestrate inconspicu- ous civilian attacks through Hezbollah. On Dec. 4, 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Op- eration Northern Shield, a military initiative to identify and destroy Hezbollah tun- nels constructed under the border. Operation Northern Shield was completed Jan. 13, 2019. This initiative was Israel's most recent response to the Lebanese government and Hezbollah's violations of Israel's sovereignty, and given the international com- munity's newborn awareness of the tunnel dilemma, Israel will have to continue gather- ing evidence to sway the UN's stance in their favor due to institutional bias. Although the IDF has re- cently discovered nearly four tunnels within the Northern Israeli border injustthe month of December, the tunnel tactic is certainly not exclusive to He- zbollah. Similar operations are conducted by Hamas within the Gaza Strip. The UNRWA, a refugee agency for Palestin- ians, discovered a Hamas attack tunnel underneath two Palestinian elementary schools in mid-2017,whichwas immediately relayed to the IDF. Coincidentally, these elemen- tary schools are UNRWA-fund- ed. Israel's military comeback is to install explosives within the burrow in order to rid the tunnel of any intruders or harmful devices that may make its way into Israel. Unsurprisingly, Israel has taken the construction of such tunnels extremely seri- ously, given its imminent threat to the Israeli people living just next to the North- ern and Southern borders. Evidently, the United Nations has not taken these threats as seriously, which is no surprise given their reactions to past events with Lebanon and UNIFIL. One of the IDF's many responses to the tunnel epidemic is the installation of military robots near these tunnels that not only film inside the tunnel, but also emits an explosive in order to deter enemy intrusions. Such measures lessen military ca- sualties, in conjunction with providing ample evidence to international organizations to educate the community on the severity of this situation. Despite UNIFIL's pledge to reduce belligerency between Beirut and Jerusalem, the interim front has done little to protect Israel's borders from Hezbollah's tunnel intrusion. Until recently, this issue has been largely ignored by not only UNIFIL, but much of the developed world. A major rea- son for such recent awareness is Netanyahu's announce- ment of Operation Northern Shield, which is the official military initiative against these terror tunnels. Overall, Israel has consistently priori- tized the safety and security of Israel as well as maintained open communication with the international community to allow others to gain awareness on this dilemma. As evidence shows, if the actions of Hezbollah's tunnel construction and UNIFIL's inability to deter such actions continues, the relationship between the United Nations and Israel will not improve. The UN should comply with the resolutions made with UNIFIL and be cognizant of relations between Israel and Lebanon and maintain their promise of keeping the peace. However, the future to the end of such animosity is bleak due to the United Nations' institu- tional bias towards the State of Israel. If the UN fails to ac- knowledge their institutional bias andworkwith Israel, then relations will fail to improve. Emily Aspinwall is the vice president ofUCF's Knights for Israel and the campus CAM- ERA fellow for the 2018-2019 school year. From page 4A tialsunderattack, mainstream and legal precedents in recent political leaders have again years, and it is unlikely that resent Kahane in the Knesset avoided direct repudiation of this administration would anymore; his anti-Arab views Ben Ari and other Kahanists. admonishourally for inviting now have many followers in American institutions, includ- extreme racistsintotheirgov- mainstream political parties, ing AIPAC and the American ernment. Nevertheless, the In recent days, leading Is- JewishCommitee, havespoken Kahane movement remains raeli politicians and generals, out against Otzma Yehudit, aterroristorganizationunder led by Benny Gantz and Yair but have said nothing of Ne- both Israeli andAmerican law Lapid, have come together to tanyahu's courtship of their and should be treatedassuch. form the Blue and White party support. In a close vote Rivlin, No one affiliatedwith Kahane with the intention of defeating who defended Ben Ari against belongs in the Knesset or on Netanyahu'sfar-rightcoalition. my visa ban, will be in a posi- American soil. Netanyahu has characterized tion to decide which party is The views and opinions this effort as "a new left-wing allowed to form a government expressed in this article are government, weak, ledbyLapid andwhetherthatcoalitionwill thoseoftheauthoranddonot and Gantz, with a blocking include Jewish terrorists, necessarily reflect the views majority of Arab parties." The United States has aban- of JTA or its parent company, With their hawkish creden- cloned many of its own norms 70 Faces Media.