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March 13, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 13, 2009

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16;1 ................. *MIXED ADC 320 O: SMALL TOWqq PAPERS 17270 F 506 CALIFORNIA AVE SW 1 , W I S H N E W S Editorials ................................ 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ................................. 6A Synagogue Directory ............... 7A B'nai Mitzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A Classified ................................ 2B Pool Photo/BPH Images U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu pose for photographers before their meeting March 3, 2009 in Jerusalem. I,.rael on same Iran page as U.S., waiting to see on Palestinians By Ron Kampeas At stake is not simply the health "We know they are taking the issue WASHINGTON (JTA)--A month or so into the age of Obama, Israel's strategies in dealing with the new world reality are becoming clear. On the Middle East-macro--the Iranian threat--Israel is deferen- tially following the U.S. lead as tlae Obamateam lays the groundwork for increasing pressure on diplomatic outreach toward Tehran. As to the immediate neighbor- hood--talks with the Palestin- ians--Israel wants to know more as the Obama administration vows to press forward with attempts to create a Palestinian state. of U.S.-Israeli ties but perhaps the outcome of the two most pressing security and diplomatic challenges facing officials in Jerusalem. Two factors are driving Israel's willingness to take cues from the Obama administration on Iran strategy: The problem is too big for Israel to handle alone, and the White House's approach in any case appears to be as good as Israel would expect from any U.S. government. "We appreciate the review the administration is doing" on Iran, said Sallai Meridor, Israel's ambassador to Washington, in a briefing two weeks ago organized by The Israel Project. very seriously." Whatever thoughts Jerusalem had about taking unilateral military ac- tion to stop or delay Iran's suspected nuclear programwere dampened last year when then-President Bush and Adm. Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, made clear to Israeli leaders thatAmerican support would not be forthcoming. Chances of a unilateral attack dropped almost to nil without the prospect of U.S. tactical assistance and diplomatic cushion. The turn- down from the president that many Israel on page 19A Darfur still on the brain at JCPA gathering Heidi Geldhauser Eric Holder, in his first speech as U.S. attorney general to a predomi- nantly Jewish audience, told the Jewish Council for Public Affairs plenum in Washington on March 2 that the idea that protecting the nation from terrorism clashes with American ideals is "misguided." By Eric Fingerhut WASHINGTON (JTA)---The eco- nomic crisis and other issues may have far surpassed it in the headlines, but the Jewish community still cares about the crisis in Darfur. That was evident this past week in Washington as the Jewish Council for Public Affairs passed a resolution at its annual plenum endorsing the op- tion of U.S. military force in Sudan. "I think it's a statement about this community's steadfastness," 61111U!!!!II!!!UUIIIIs said JCPA's executive director, Rabbi Steve Gutow, noting that even though local Jewish communities have spent much time and effort on Darfur in the past few years, great concern remains about the genocide in the region. The plenum serves as an annual barometer of where the organized Jewish community stands on a host of issues. Representatives of JCPA's member organizations--the syna- gogue movements, several national groups and more than 100 local com- munities across North America-- come together for the event. The resolution, in addition to call- ing for intensified diplomatic efforts and the appointment of a senior full-time envoy to the Sudan, states that the U.S. government should "not exclude the option of military means if feasible, and in coalition with other countries, to protect the innocent civilians in Darfur and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid." It passed overwhelmingly after an effort to strike the paragraph on the military option garnered little support. Another resolution that achieved wide backing of public-policy advo- cates from more than 100 communi- ty relations councils and 14 national Darfur on page 18A Politics and power: The European Muslim factor This is part 3 in a JTA series: "Identity Crisis: Muslims in Europe." By Dinah A. Spritzer BRUSSELS (JTA)--Viviane Te- itelbaum was a new member of Brussels' regional legislature when she sponsored a bill in 2005 to renew the region's scientific and industrial research agreement with Israel. Legislators had frozen the co- operation pact three years earlier to protest what they said was the Jewish state's inhumane response to the second Palestinian intifada. But when Teitelbaum's proposal came up for discussion at a committee meeting, she says she was shouted down by Socialist Party opponents. "The only lawmakers who showed up to the meeting wereMuslim," re- called Teitelbaum, a Jewish member of the Liberal Party. "They screamed insults at me, saying, 'Israel is a fascist country. You will never get this passed.'" Later, at the actual vote, Teitei- baum again was shouted down. Her proposal was defeated. Ten minutes later, she said, "We voted for an agreement between Libya and the Brussels region, and everyone supported it. It was very painful for me." Although rarely discussed in Europe, the political impact and influence of the continent's grow- ing Muslim population is playing an increasingly significant role in European politics. In some cases, politicians are catering to Muslim interests and concerns with an eye toward winning votes. In others, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant political parties are capitalizing on a backlash against Muslims to expand their power base. With Muslims now roughly 5 percent of Europe's population and demographers predicting their Claudia Vieira/Creative Commons Protest in London on Jan. 3, against Israel's operation in Gaza was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative and others. proportion to double over the next 20 years due to birthrate dispari- ties, their rising political awareness and ever-growing constituent base is likely to make them a factor in Europe's political constellation for decades to come. Eventually that may translate into a tougher stance toward Israel, says Robin Shepherd, a senior research fellow at the London-based think tank Chatham House. "As Muslims become more elector- ally significant, the obvious casualty is Israel," he said. Many European politicians, par- ticularly those from socialist parties, long have been strong critics of Israel's dealings with the Palestin- ians without any prodding from European Muslims. When the streets of Europe ex- ploded in January during Israel's 22-day operation against Hamas in Muslim on page 18A Thank you, American Jews. Love, Sderot Spencer Tucker/Office of the Mayor Sderot Mayor David Bouskila (!) with Michael Bloomberg during the New York mayor's solidarity visit to Sderot in January, said in an inteview with JTA, "We flee Sderot today, and tomorrow the rockets hit Ashkeion or Ashdod." By Uriel Heilman NEW YORK (JTA)--For about a week, Sderot Mayor David Bouskila got a break from the rain of rockets upon his city. It's not that the rockets stopped falling, but Bouskilawas out of town, traveling around the United States last week on a thank you tour of Sderot on page 19A