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March 28, 2003

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PAGE 4 Bornstein Good news on agency relations Maybe you heard the scuttlebutt and maybe you didn't regarding the recent controversy between the Jewish Community Center and the Hebrew Day School. It seems [he Day School wants to start a transitional kindergar- ten. Meetings were held between the two agen- cies, and an understanding was hammered out. Or so everyone thought. When the Day School presented the concept to its board for a vote, certain points (at least in the eyes of JCC supporters) had changed. The class wasn't go- ing to be offered solely to "age appropriate children" (kids who are 5 by Sept. 1), but also to 4-year olds who were deemed ready for early advancement. And the program was going to be marketed accordingly. By Carl Alpert Iraq? The economic problems take precedence HAIFA--While the Iraq situation may be rations today owned by the government should more dramatic in its possible effect on Israel, result not only in more efficient operations, this country is at the same time facing a major but also in a flow of billions of shekels into the threat to its economic stability. The sharp rise national treasury. Among the many companies in the national deficit, the growth of unem- concerned are El AI, Zimshippinglines, theOil ployrnent, the slowdown in industrial develop- Refineries, Bezeq phone company, Israel Air- ment, the drop in foreign investments and the craft Industries, the Electric Corp Bank Leumi absence of tourists, among other factors, as and many others. Plans for such sales have well as the continued terrorism, constitute a been on the books for some time, but no very real menace to Israel's economy. The previous governmentshave made much head- surprise appointment of Benjamin Netanyahu way, in large measure because of the opposi- as Minister of Finance, moving him from the tion of the respective employees. Foreign Office, where he had been doing an The previous administration had already excellent job, may be seen as a desperate effort drawn up plans to float an international loan of to solve the internal problems. The responsi- 10 billion dollars, but favorable interest rates bility is so great that one commentator refers could be obtained only if the loan carried reli- toNetanyahu as the de facto Prime Minister for able guarantors. Economic Affairs. Washington is being asked to provide such Netanyahu's acceptance of the post and the guarantees, in addition to an outright grant of challenge is a great gamble on his part. A quick up to 4 billion dollars for defense purposes. survey of Israel's recent history reveals that the There is little doubt that Israel will be asked to position of Minister of Finance has very often make major concessions to the Palestinians in served as the political graveyard of its incum- return for such American support. bents,andonlynaturallyso.TheMinisteristhe Plans to stimulate the economy call for in- man who is supposed to balance the national centive grants to encourage foreign investment, budget, and in doing so he must say "no" to all as well as reduction in the domestic income tax. who seek financial support from the govern- As indicated earlier, almost all of the pro- ment, whether the army or social welfare, grams to effect savings are meeting with oppo- education or commercial development, sition from vested interests. The Histadrut has Further, when funds run out, he is the one not hesitated to threaten a nation-wide strike if who must ruthlessly impose new taxes on the there are to be mass dismissals of employees. public, hardly a task that would contribute to Haredim, the ultra-Orthodox, will not be quiet his popularity, if there is any cutback in the now generous ThenewFinanceMinisterhaslostnotimein allocations to yeshivas. Will there be a reduc- facing up to the immediate specific problem of tion in the aid to the settlements? The political a startling rise in the national deficit, and an stability of the government could well be en- economy falteringon several fronts. Operating dangered. deficit? He has already announced plans to cut If Netanyahu succeeds in solving all these over 11 billion shekels from the national bud- problems he will be saving Israel from eco- get. Vigorousopposition isalready beingvoiced nomic disaster. Industrial leaders who may not by those government operations which will be agree with his views vis-a-vis the Palestinians, affected, primarily the defense forces, which heartily support his economic program. In- launched a national campaign not only oppos- deed, when news of his appointment was first ing cuts, but seeking additional financial help announcedtheTeiAvivstockexchangezoomed in the interests of national defense. Netanyahu by 4.4 percent. has already overruled the military Budget cuts The full package, which calls for fresh taxes, mean wholesale dismissals of marginal em- mass dismissals and other painful points, has ployees, and the Histadrut is already up in already been called a bombshell, and is now arms. The proposals to scale down various under closescrutiny. Public relations andeco- social welfare benefits and to dismiss many nomic battles will be fought out in the coming hundredsofteachers havealsoarousedastorm, weeks and months. There is no doubt that the The master plan, just announced also calls outcome will be no less crucial to Israel's for new sources of income, future than the effects of war in Iraq and the Privatization of the numerous large corpo- confrontation with the Palestinians. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. I O CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE O O O ISSN 0199-0721 W'mner of 36 Press Awards F.~tor/P~iis~r Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Gene Starn " Kim Fischer HERITAGE Florida.lewish News ( ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $34.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($41.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101,Fern Pork, FL32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: Soday Editor Gloria Yousha Elaine Schoopmg Clrcuhflon Rachel Hughes Account Exe~utivts Barbara do Carton Marci Gaeser Sara Crusade Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Carl Alpert Tim Boxer DavidBomstein Gail Simons Production Department David Lehman Teri Marks Rachel Levy HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 28, II JCC staff and lay leaders got upset (to put it mildly). Not only did this transitional class threaten to pull kids from the J's pre-k pro- gram, but it was perceived that an agreement had been broken. Letters, e-mails and asper- sions flew back and forth. The subject came up at community events, at a Federation board meeting, behind closed doors. The Federation was asked to intervene and moderate, and thanks to Neal Crasnow's leadership, it did. That's the story in a nutshell. An interpretation of the incident, and its outcome, are far more interesting. It became appareflt to me early on, as I got sucked in as an advisor and confidante, that the respective agencies believed that the Federation has significant power over its constituent agen- cies, is willing to use it, and THEY WANTED THE FEDERATION TO USE IT. At the same time I saw how reticent the Federation was to bully agencies, and how unsure of its power it was. It startled me that our agencies are scared of the Federation's muscle, and the Federation is equally scared of offending and hurting its partners. You see, the agencies involved are tenants and get not-to-be-dismissed allocations from Daddy Fed, and the Federation relies on the good will of and good word from the com- munal agencies to raise community dollars. The inherent contradiction here surprised me. Truth be told, itwould take massive unethical conduct for the Federation to threaten an agency's allo- cation, and in our community, where fundraising is always a challenge, the agencies are crazy when they badmouth the parent Federation, because it comes back to bite them in the form of a down campaign. President Neal called a special meeting to resolve the matter. The first issue put on the table by agency execs, was "bayit shalom," peace in our home, and everyone quickly agreed that peaceful cooperation and working together was far more important than continued con- flict. Matters of mutual trust and respect were discussed, as was the need for greater partner- ships in the future. And the overriding ques- tion of JCC-HDS competition for the souls of 4- year olds was put to bed. The following memo was immediately re- leased: The Hebrew Day School of Central (HDS) will offer a transitional kindergarten program for age appropriate children, those born on or before Sept. 1 of the given year. It is understood that the HDS and the JCC Early Childhood Education department are posi- tively linked to each other. The JCC Early Childhood Learning Center is a natural feeder to the HDS kindergarten program. A symbi- otic relationship that exists between the agen- cies has resulted in positive growth for both of the programs. As.such, it was agreed that: beginning immediately, the staff of the HD$ and JCC will work together in order to inves- tigate joint programming between the agen- cies that serve these youth populations. This will include regular meetings between the staff of the agencies. Let's look at the behind the tion. Both the Day School and the JCC have taken on additional debt in order to get ex- panded facilities. Because of this, they're both nervous about enrollment. The JCC could start a kindergarten (and it has been asked to many times), but it won't because that's the Day School's purview. The Day School could target four year olds (and it's been asked to many times), but it won't because the JCC offers a quality program for that age group. That's community. On a going forward basis, if the Day School gets more involved with JCC kids, especially the Judaic Gan Rishonim classes and special Jewish holiday celebrations, and the JCC posi- tions itself as an advanced educational system (with Day School support) that feeds directly into the excellent HDS program, we've got a win-win. The JCC gets the advantage of Day School tutors and an enhanced Judaic pro- gram, and the Day School gets the strong~ feeder it craves. That's the direction the agen- cies need to head. Out of controversy a new spirit of collaboration was borne. Let's hope this was the first of many such steps. The opinions expressed in this column are the writer's, and not those of the Heritage or any other Jewish organization. That's the good word until next week. Write the Heritage, or e- mail your comments, critiques, and concerns to Jim Shipley The uncertainty of uncertainty By Jim Shipley By the time you read this, one of the uncer- tainties will have been decided. The U.S. will be at war with Iraq. It is not that this war was ever uncertain. The trio of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to convince Bush the younger to avenge his father no matter what. The only uncertainty was when. Nowwe know. In any kind of war, many people will die. Of that, there is no uncertainty. Wars tend to have that effect. But, what about after? Iraq of course, was never really a country. It was put together, as so many nations were, by the British by drawing lines on a map. Ancient and historic, the area is eons old. But never as a nation. Fragmented by tribal, ethnic and religious differences, if it were not for the oil, the Brits probably would have left the whole area alone. And that is where this uncertainty comes in. As we have seen time and time again the after shock of Colonialism tends to be strong and deadly. Rwanda, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Viet Nam - you name it. In so many areas of the world, religious, tribal and ethnic differences outlive the rule of the Colonialists and bring death and devastation to the indigenous popu- lation. In Iraq, the uncertainty is about what the U.S. will do once the country starts to come apart at the seams. In 1991, the Bush 41 admin- istration encouraged the Shiites in the south of Iraq and the Kurds in the north to revolt against Saddam. They did. And as soon as Bush 41 and his State Department blew the whistle telling our troops to come home, the two groups were left in the lurch. The Shiites were massacred by the Sunni and Baathists in power. The Kurds were driven into a mountain area where they faced starvation and more killings. The American Government turned its back on both groups. Only when CNN, CBS and the other news organizations sent video of hun- dreds of thousands of Kurds living in the open on the mountainsides was there a reaction. Calls and letters flooded the Congress and the White House. Bush 41 sent Jim Baker to see what the truth was. The truth was that live video does not lie. Only then did we send tentS, bread and supplies to be air dropped on the mountainsides. Only after Saddam's remain" ing planes bombed the innocents did we create a no-fly zone.- This time. The uncertainty is who will be killing whom and how soon. Shiites versus Sunnis, Kurds attacked by Turks, clan against clan. Will the American public stand for their sons holding two opposing groups at bay, nei- ther of whom loves us anyway? Or, will the military government which Bush 43 envisions really hold? And at what price? "Peoples of Iraq, you will be told by your leadership that we come to destroy your reli- gion. Do not believe it! Reply that we haVe v' b come to restore your rights. George W. Bus in 2003? Not quite. Somewhat paraphrased, this was Napoleon to the people of Egypt in 1798. And Egypt was a lot more homogeneoUS than Iraq is today. There is plenty of uncer" tainty there. Plenty. And Israel? The Sharon government says that the danger to Israel is "little if any." But the kids have the gas masks; the rescue units are on even higher alert than they are not" mally. The uncertainty that is Saddam Hussein lurks. With nothing to lose, with his adminis" tration going down in flames, what does have to lose? Strike this blow against the "Zion" ist Entity" and die a true martyr. We do not want to even contemplate such things. there lies the uncertainty. There is no question that America's place it the world will be drastically changed by what happens qver the next weeks and months. We have decided to go it alone. This has before with mixed results. The whole idea the United Nations was to provide a forum for international discussion wherein when a crisi~ arose, the nations of the world, acting in con" sensus, could take action. It has worked mag': nificently at times and failed miserably at timeS. See "Shipley" on page 19