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March 15, 2013
 

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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS March 15, 2013 4 Nissan 5773 56 Pages 'I" Editorials ................................ 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ................................. 6A Synagogue Directory ............... 7A B'nai Mitzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A Classified ................................ 2B Orlando, Florida Single Copy 7S Miriam Alster/FLASH90/JTA Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) leads the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday at his office in Jerusalem. Netanyahu, with team of rivals, puts together a government By Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA)--He's had to bite a few bullets to get there, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lead Israel's next government. .  Barringa last-minutesurprise, Israel's new governing coalition was to be sworn in this week: a center-right grouping of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud-Beiteinu faction, the centrist Yesh Atid party, the religious nationalist Jewish Home party, the center-left Hatnua led by Tzipi Livni and the tiny, centrist Kadima. In total, the coalition will include 70 of the Knesset's 120 members. The government's priorities will be to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, enact budget reform, expand Israel's mandatory military conscription and lower the cost of living, according to Netanyahu. "Above all," Netanyahu said at his weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, the next government must address "the major security challenges that are piling up around us." The coalition deal is a bittersweet victory for the prime minister. He won a disappointing 31 seats at the ballot box in January. That divided vote has turned into a divided government that he'll have to lead with ambitious rivals by his side. The divisions have grown more intense since the election, as Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and Jewish Home leader Naftali .... Bennett formed an al|iance after the vote. "He's a much weaker prime minister," said Hebrew University political science professor Shlomo Avineri. "We see the emergence of two popular leaders who are not constrained by internal party institutions and can dictate to their own parties whatever policies they wish." By forming the coalition days before his final deadline of March 16, Netan- Rivals on page 18A Obama to Jews: Peace is essential By Ron Kampeas butprospects are bleak WASHINGTON (JTA)-- President Obama believes prospects for Israeli-Pales- tinian peace are "bleak," but he still will urge both sides to avoid unilateral actions that might further damage a process he hopes will be back on track within a year. .,-,a- _ .,q =- _= . n . o : 8 : o That was the message Obama delivered last Thurs- day in a meeting with about 25 Jewish community figures at the White House to discuss his planned trip to Israel later this month. Obama was especially engaged, participants said, when it came to discussing how he might best convey to the Israeli people his enthu- siasm for Israel and its Jewish history. Participants were under strict instructions to speak to news media only in the most general terms, and most of the participants contacted by JTA hewed to that stricture. Two participants, however, shared notes on the particulars and a third confirmed those ac- counts. According to the partici- pants, Obama appeared weary and was emphatic about not bringing any "grandiose" plan for Middle East peace to the region. He said he would, however, counsel the parties against making "unilateral" moves. He did not elaborate, but U.S. references to uni- lateralism generally refer to Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and Palestinian attempts to achieve statehood Official White House Photo by Pete Souza President Barack Obama, left, talking with Chief of Staff Jack Lew, center, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as they walk on the Colonnade of the White House, shortly before the president announced Lew as his nominee to replace Geithner as Treasury Secretary, Jan. 10. recognition. Obama reportedly rejected an entreaty from one partici- pant to stake out a harder line on Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, emphasiz- ing that a military option was still on the table even though he preferred to first exhaust diplomatic options. Officials from the major powers, led by the United States, are meeting with Iran in Istanbul later this month to negotiate terms for making Iran's nuclear program more transparent. Obama said he would not engage in "chest beating" to make people feel better. He also said it's natural for the United States and Israel to have differing assessments of how advanced Iran is in its nuclear quest. Such differ- ences are a matter of interpre- tation, the president said, and Essential on page 19A What hapened to WaUenberg? One of the unsolved mys- teries of the Holocaust is "what happened to Raoul Wallenberg?" The Swedish diplomat, creditedwith saving up to 100,000 Jewish lives, was detained by Soviet authorities in 1945 and subsequently disappeared. As intriguing as his death may seem, the choices he made on behalf of others raises even more questions. What would cause a young man to risk everything--his reputation, his safety, and ultimately his life--in order to rescue strangers? Why would he, but not other diplomats in similar situations, choose to defy danger? That courage in the face of danger will be explored during the Holocaust Center's Yom HaShoah program on Sunday April 7. Keynote speaker will be Louise Borden, author of the new book "His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg: Courage, Rescue and Mystery During World War II." According to Borden, Wal- !enberwas.encouraged from !} an ely ae to find a purpose in his life. His natural abilities and his interest in the broader world made him a man with a strong moral compass. Borden says she found Wal- lenberg's character particu- larly engaging. She wanted his story to become accessible to young readers in a compelling yet informative way. She says that she spent many years on the research road trying to find the details that would make Raoul Wallenberg's very complicated story under- standable as well as inspiring to a young audience. "Courage is something that I've written about in some of my other books," she says, Louise Borden "whether fictional or true stories. I like to write about ordinary people who made a difference in the lives of oth- ers, and in the world.., people who believed in themselves and in their vision. Borden says that, "one of the most important lessons for all of us is that indeed, one person can make a differ- ence in the world. Raoul was a leader - he inspired others not only with bold action and courage but with kind- ness and humor. His interest in the larger world and his respect for human rights as well as his courage continue to inspire me." The Yom HaShoah event will be at 4 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center at 851 N. Maitland Avenue. The general public is welcome, and there is no admission charge. The program will also include traditional music, candle lighting, and awards for the winners of the 2013 Yom HaShoah Student Creative Arts Contest. For more information see www.holocaustedu.org or call 407-628-0555. By Ron Kampeas and Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA)--When President Obama visits Israel next week, Gavriei Yaakov wants him to jump-start the peace process. "I'm excited," said Yaakov, 67, sitting in a Tel Aviv mall. "I want negotiations to get to an agreement on a long-term peace with the Palestinians." Yaakov said he trusts Obama, but his friend, Yossi Cohen, is more skeptical. "I'm not excited," said Co- hen, 64, who charged that the president supports Islamists and "hasn't done anything" to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. "No one has helped," Cohen said. "Whoever thinks there will be peace, [it will take] another 200 years." Their views reflect two of the president's overriding concerns as he prepares to embark on a three-day trip to Israel next week. Obama remains deeply unpopular in Israel, with approval ratings of about 33 percent last year, and Jewish leaders and local analysts are urging him to try to improve his relationship with the Israeli public. But the presi- dent also is seen as wanting to promote a renewed effort at Middle East peace, though administration officials, wary of a top-down push for peace, have emphasized that the president is leaving such ini- tiatives up to the parties there. In a meeting with Ameri- Trip on page 18A 6 IIIl!!!!!ll!!!!!llll Obama's trip: No grand initiatives