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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 22, 2019 PAGE 15A From page 1A orchestrated low-level vio- lence, has taken a radical and sudden new direction. Israel likely to 'respond strongly' According to former Na- tional Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israel will certainly be looking to figure out who conducted the attack, but even if it does not find out for sure, it will respond strongly. During a conference call or- ganized by the Israel Project, Amidror was asked whether Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu might be swayed in his response by the upcoming elections. Amidror replied that "Netanyahu is sober enough and experienced enough that elections will not be a factor." He added that the big majority of political forces in the Knesset will stand behind him when it comes to punish- ing Gaza's terrorist factions. "There is no real argument among the Jewish parties about the need to react," he said. Asked if the attack can lead to war, Amidror acknowledged that this could happen, even though "it's not in our inter- est or in Hamas's interest. But in the past, it happened even when both sides did not have an interest, because the situation in Gaza was leading Hamas to not make the right decision." Israel's first priority, he said, is to figure out who fired the rockets because that organization should be on the receiving end of most of Israel's targeting. "I think what is important is not to react from emo- tional side but from logical side. We have to calm down, learn the event, see who is responsible and then react based on conclusions and not do something that will ignite the whole area and that is not in our interests," stated Amidror. The incident forms the first test for the new IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who has already prioritized war readiness in the south, held drills and reportedly ordered the IDF Southern Command to refresh its battle plans. In addition, earlier this week, the IDF's Military Intel- ligence Directorate opened a new Targeting Center at the Glilot base north of TelAviv on the instructions of Kochavi. The center will be the focus point of all units that need to know about enemy targets, during routine times and emergencies. It will employ artificial intelligence to help the mili- tary acquire valuable enemy targets, and Kochavi told the center to prioritize "southern areas" (a reference to Gaza), "as part of an effort to improve readiness for fighting in the Gaza Strip." This suggests that Ko- chavi will not be shocked by the rockets, and that he has already concluded long before the attack that Gaza is the most likely arena to escalate in the short-term future. From page 4A left, measured by Labor and Meretz, as getting about one tenth of the Knesset. And would the Palestinian State include Gaza as well as parts of the West Bank? Presently it doesn't seem that the two parts would agree to unite. And East Jerusalem? Would the worthies of the world force those Palestinians into an alliance with the West Bank, when most of them say that they prefer continuing their status with Israel? Origins of anti-Semitism go back before the New Testa- ment. Josephus provides an indication of it in the behavior of Greeks in Alexandria. The New Testament offers a basis of Christian anti-Semitism. Muslims gave expression to their own feelings throughout history. And now it's merged with an opposition to what Israel is said to be doing to the Palestinians, far out of proportion to what other countries have expressed about minorities. Here the Palestinians seem to be suffering from their own faults. Claiming rights of return to what refugees from 1948 and their descendants never knew. Many West Bankers and East Jerusalemites seem to have reached an accommoda- tion, belied by the actions of religious and nationalist figures claiming leadership, with Arab governments pro- viding support even while those same governments are cooperating with Israel--of- ten against the same Muslim extremists who make trouble for Israel. And in the West, leftists and rightists find Jews and Israel a convenient target, often not bothering to dif- ferentiate between Jew and Israeli. Ilhan Omar has become a symbol of this, and represents a split within the American Democratic Party about sup- port for Israel. A generation of immigration from the Middle East is making itself felt in Congress, with or without Bibi. While Bibi plays to the mood created within Israel, claiming that those not voting for him will be voting to put Ahmad Tibi in government. And with things heating up on both the Temple Mount and in Gaza, the Prime Minister- Defense Minister (one and the same) is in position to do something heroic to advance his position. Recent polls indicate the Blue-White has peaked or is declining. Gantz is not a powerful campaigner, and Ashkenazi has some problems in his background that have come to the fore. He can't seem to get away from the Harpaz- Barak issue. Moreover, the wide range of postures in Gantz-Lapid-Ya'alon and Ashkenazi have left the party with little to offer other than opposition to Bibi as Prime Minister. Two small right-of-center parties may end up being deal-makers or deal-breakers. Moshe Feiglin has a long history on the extreme right of Israeli politics. Now his com- bination of wanting a Jewish state with extreme liberalism has attracted the crowd want- ing access to marijuana And Moshe Kahlon may also find enough voters to move him over the line and into the Knesset. Both have expressed doubts about Netanyahu, as well as muddled support of his candidacy. Most likely a rebellion within Likud would lead a race, but so far that seems unlikely. Netanyahu's appeal remains strong, but perhaps not strong enough to end up with another term as Prime Minister. Comments welcome. irashark@gmail.com Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus), Dept. of Political Science, He- brew University of Jerusalem. From page 5A With the slogan of "Aim, Click and Shoot," the Video Commandos film the demon- izers as they film soldiers. The Video Commandos recently achieved a significant victory when the primar- ily Scandinavian EAPPI, an affiliate of the anti-Zionist World Council of Churches, announced that they were leaving Hebron because of the "harassment" their vol- unteers had recently been subjected to. That "harass- ment"was nothing more than turning the tables on them, presenting EAPPI with a new reality. Suddenly, the Video Com- mandos were showing exactly what EAPPI members were doing in their efforts to de- monize soldiers. That new reality and new perspective is exactly what the Video Commandos seek to do wherever where is harassment of Israeli soldiers. It is a classic grassroots effort, like Im Tirtzu itself. It reflects the desire of Israelis to p~tect those who are doing the ~rotecting. It is an effort to make sure soldiers can do their duty without having to worry about cynical, ma- nipulators who are seeking to denigrate, and yes, even endanger soldiers in the name of their ideology. At a time when IDF soldiers are being harassed by these filmers with impunity, there is nothing more fitting than to fight fire with fire. Douglas Altabef is the chairman of the board of Ira Tirtzu and a director of the Israel Independence Fund. He can be reached at douga# tabef@gmail.com. From page 5A The man who would not bow down to an enemy in humble submission is the one who encouraged Esther to similarly stand proudly and firmly, without embar- rassment or fear, and speak up on behalf of our people. "Who knows," he told her, "if not for a time such as this have you been placed in this position of rulership." Mordechai and Esther are the heroes of the Purim story because they refused to cower before those who sought to destroy our people. They spoke out against their Haman with all of their strength. It's all about the Benjamins and those who refuse to remain silent when enemies again plot "the final solution" for Israel and for our people. Maybe it isn't a coincidence that all this is happening at the very time Jews around the world are celebrating Purim. History records not only the recurring story of alti-Semites and anti- Senitism. It also confirms the )ivine intervention that has invariably assured our sur@al. And this miracle-- in f~e one biblical book in ~'lich God's name isn't mefioned even once--is a mir~le we desperately need to&: The miracle of Jews, awa~ of the threat to their survival, who put aside their differences, united in the face of a common enemy, and collectively recognize that it must've been for "a time such as this" that we are given the opportunity to partner with God. Rabbi Benjamin Blech, a frequent contributor to Aish, is a professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University and an internationally recognized educator, religious leader, and lecturer. He is the author of19 highly acclaimed books with combined sales of over a half million copies, A much sought after speaker, he is available as scholar in residence in your community. See his website at rabbibenjaminblech.com. From page 9A ropolitan, which the Le Figaro daily has ranked among the seven best French museums outside Paris, are lining up to display the work of a tailor's apprentice with no formal education. Nedjar's Sephardic father, an affluent tailor and textile merchant, and his Ashkenazi mother sought, like many parents of their generation, to insulate him from the horror that ended just two years before his birth, when a quarter of French Jews were exterminated along with much of European Jewry. "Our parents did not want to talk to us about any of it," Nedjar says in the documen- tary, referring to his sister. "I remember them always laughing and smiling." His only concern as a child, Nedjar recalls, was hiding from his parents that he liked to play with his sister's dolls--a preference he says was an early manifestation of his sexual orientation. So he would bury the forbidden playthings in his backyard. Growing up privileged and happy, nothing prepared Ned- jar for the 1956 documentary film "Night and Fog," which shocked the world by show- ing, for one of the first times in wide distribution, graphic footage from the concentra- tion camps. "It devastated me," Nedjar said. "I was one with the victims. There was a shot of a grave, and I entered that grave and I felt all those bod- ies around me." Nedjar said he realized for the first time that had he been born just two years earlier, he also "wouid've been killed for being a Jew." It was after watching the film at the age of 9 that Nedjar said he exhumed his doll for the first time as a therapeutic exercise. "Exhuming that puppet was to exhume all those dead that were inside me now. It was too heavy, too painful," he said. "You can call it therapy, you can call it an att~pt to reach the surface ancbreathe. That puppet sav( me." In way, that puppet also ma~ Nedjar a well-known artiin France. After display- ing s buried Purim puppets he Is able to present and sellis work at prestigious art dleries. 1~ it would take decades for ~djar to transform that chihood experience into thenspiration behind his tracnark technique. A~or student who flunked higschool, Nedjar was put to wk at his father's atelier, whe he completed a tailor's appntice training. Then he stand selling clothes and texles with his maternal grandmother, who taught him Yiddish, at the main flea market in Paris. Back then, it was a heavily Jewish institu- tion, with many Ashkenazi merchants. Nedjar says it was good for his development as an artist. "There was always schmattes lying around the house and at the mar- ket," he recalled, using the Yiddish word for rags. "I started working with it, sewing crazy clothes and designs from old curtains, which the hippies during the 1970s absolutely adored, so I was able to save money and travel the world." In Mexico, Nedjar lived with the filmmaker Teo Hern~ndez, who would be- come Nedjar's great love and artistic mentor. Upon leaving Mexico, Ned- jar sank into an acute depres- sion that worsened as many of his friends contracted the HIV virus that causes AIDS - the disease that in 1992 claimed Hern~ndez's life. Bereaved, depressed and considering psychiatric treatment, Nedjar's mind circled back to the puppets he buried and exhumed as a child decades earlier to deal with his grief over the Holocaust. "I told myself I needed to rescue myself with the pup- pets," he said. "I don't know why but I had this intuition." From page 10A viewers should develop a sense of humor about the holiday. Yet isn't that the same argument recently made by Bram De Baere, the designer of a carnival float in Aalst, Belgium, that de- picted Jews in stereotypically ugly ways? De Baere told a Belgian newspaper that "Carnival is a time when everyone and everything can be laughed at. If you were to forbid that, you would be attacking the DNA of Aalst at its core." Not everything is fair game for mockery, even on Purim. True, there's a big difference between a tiny, relatively powerless community poking fun at the dominant people on one day of the year on the one hand, and the majority popu- lation using their position of power to demean a hapless minority on the other. But I have to give this one to the Romans: The law of 408 wasn't anti-Purim--it was anti-poor taste. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media. From page 14A comelling, and that unity is stilbowerful." E added that "while the vot vas closer than we would hay liked, this victory in sucl a challenging environ- mert should encourage pro- Israel students across the coultry." ~hile representatives for B'nai B'rith breathed a sigh of relief, they also expressed caution. "While the vote appears on the surface to be a partial victory for those rejecting BDS, it's only on a technical- ity that it wasn't adopted," the organization told JNS in a statement. "That so many voted in favor of BDS speaks to the deeply troubling nature of pro-BDS activity on university campuses." Masha Merkulova, founder and executive director of Club Z, told JNS, "Columbia's stu- dents proved once again that when it comes to BDS, being pro-active is what works. Having a strong presence of openly pro-Israel community, and normalizing Zionism as an inseparable part of Jewish identity is what will continue to make a difference on cam- puses across the country."