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March 28, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 28, 2003

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 28, 2003 PAGE 15 Grandma, Grandpa Come with me to a Sedert Sunday, April 6 -- 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. RSVP: 407-644-7593 Grandparents Connect- a project of Jewish Family Services By Fredy Rom ZURICH (JTA)--Swiss leg- islators are calling for the dis- missal of a senior Foreign Min- istry official who wrote a letter that appeared to sanction ter- rorist attacks against Israel. In his letter to the Swiss- ased group "Pro-PLO," the cad of the ministry's Middle TEaSt department, Ambassador homas Kupfer, described Pal- estinian suicide bombers as "resistance fighters" who did not "obtain the necessary suc- Cess." Kupfer, who is Jewish, added in the letter to the Swiss- based group "Pro-PLO" that such "acts of resistance are COunter-productive and only Provoke Israeli acts of exces- sire force, from which only Palestinian civilians will suf- fer." Coming from such a high official, some wondered if the letter represented a change in SWiss government policy. Switzerland routinely con- demns Israeli anti-terror ac- tions because of their alleged violations of Palestinian hu- man rights, but such criticism generally has been balanced with denunciations of Pales- tinian bombings as terrorism. The Israeli Embassy in Bern is trying to clarify the matter through diplomatic channels, an embassy spokesman told JTA. Simon Hubacher, a spokes- man for Foreign Minister Micheline Caimy-Rey, con- firmed that the letter, which was posted on the Palestinian group's Internet site, was au- thentic. The minister will launch an investigation into the affair, Hubacher said. Political observers in the Jew- ish community told JTA that the fact that a government official would write to the Palestinian group -- which opposes Israel's existence and praises attacks against it --- is scandalous. Some members of Parlia- ment are recommending that Kupfer be dismissed from his post. The uproar over the letter comes after a wave of recent anti-Semitic statements con- nected to the U.S.-led war on Iraq has rattled Swiss Jewry. Some organizers of Carni- val celebrations in Basel re- cently compared Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Hitler. Others said that Jews in Switzerland fight for the right of kosher slaughter, while in Israel they simply slaughter Palestinians. After an outcry from the Basel Jewish community, the city's leading daily newspaper asked readers if the community's complaints we re justified. Over 80 percent said no, adding arguments such as, if the Nazis had succeeded, Swiss Jews wouldn't be able to protest now. One reader wrote that Swiss Jews should go to Israel; an- other wrote that Hitler was far less dangerous than Sharon; while a third wrote that the Jews should just keep quiet. U.S. officials have noted a huge increase in anti-Ameri- can rallies connected to the anticipated war against Iraq. One Israeli diplomat told JTA that recent anti-Israeli and anti- Semitic statements may be a sort of revenge for the pressure that American officials put on Switzerland and its banks in the 1990s to provide restitu- tion for Holocaust victims. While most Swiss Jews sup- ported the U.S.-led alliance dur- ing the last war against Iraq in 1991, the situation this year is different. A significant segment of the community wishes the United States well in its efforts to oust Saddam Hussein but pre- fers not to do so publicly for fear of an anti-Semitic backlash. Fear Continued from page 2 victims as possible." Such con- Cerns reached as far away as SOuth America, where Jews eXpressed mixed feelings about the U.S. attack. thorities about security at Jew- ish institutions, including schools, according to Rabbi Reuben Poupko, chairman of the Montreal Jewish Commu- nity Security Coordinating Committee. "We have never lived In France, Interior Minis- roughawarupcloseinBra- ter Nicolas Sarkozy an- Zll. Wars on TV look like Hol- nounced last week that secu- Y ar?d," Sao resident rity would be heightened at Paulo cia Sasson said. But awar more than 700 Jewish institu- that involves the Unites States tions across the country if war also involves all of us, and par- ticularly the Jews for our con- nection to Israel. "My heart will be torn apart When I see that some soldier surnamed '-berg' or ',man' was killed in this war, and I'll be mpletely sympathetic to his amily in the U.S saying Kaddish for him," she added. Particqlarly worrying to Brazilian Jews was the poten- tially radicalizing effect the War could have on the large .COncentration of Arabs living la the area where Brazil bor- ers Argentina and Paraguay. Xtremist Muslim groups are known to have strong bases there. The Brazilian community has been in close contact with authorities to increase secu- rity at Jewish sites. "In general, our Jewish i!m.munity lives peacefully th the Arab community re, but it's always prudent be alert," university stu- nt Frances Baras said. "I have heard - and I don t doubt it. that" local Arabs "might react somehow. That's why I o ndemn any war." Numer- Jewish communities said ey had discussed their secu- rity Concerns with authorities. sn Argentina, the justice and elcurity minister, Juan Jose r .Varez, said security had been [ mforced alon the country's rders " and at Jewish com- Unal buildings. ,c, In Montreal, Jews were in =Ose contact" with all levels Ofpo hce and government au- broke out. In Italy, security at Jewish institutions has been tight for years - community sources said some 74 police in Rome, or about one officer for every 200 Jews, are assigned to pro- tect Jewish interests - and events such as an Israeli film festival were to go ahead as planned. Security in Serbia already was high because of the state of emergency imposed after the assassination of Prime Minster goran Djindjic last week, but it was raised even further around synagogues and other Jewish sites. Rabbis in England and South Africa acknowledged the strong anti-war sentiment in their countries. They hoped that the war, once begun, could be con- cluded quickly and with mini- mal loss of life. "Clearly there is moral jus- tification for getting rid of the totally evil regime of Saddam Hussein by means of war," SouthMrica's chief rabbi, Cyril Harris, said. "The United Na- tions was far too slow. The only alternative - a diplomatic solution - could have taken years and years." But, he added, "Everyone is praying that it's going to be very brief, with a minimum of casualties." Else- where, Jewish reaction re- flected each community's par- ticular historical experience. A Holocaust survivor in Budapest said she was horri- fied at the thought of Israelis Live On Stage OBITUARIES I REDA FISHKIND there from 1952. She moved PARKER to Miami in 1949. Fishkind Parker, of She is survived by her sons, 11 ,diedTuesdayMarch Kenneth Parker of Atlanta, Ga. 85years old. and Richard Parker of AI :rs. Parker was born in Longwood; daughter Alyce Ce ha, Pa. She moved to Mordler of Atlanta, Ga.; 10 , traIFlorida from Jackson- grandchildren and four great- *me 10 years ago after living grandchildren. cowering in their gas masks under attack by poison gas. In Argentina, the president of the DAIA umbrella organiza- tion noted that while this war on an Arab dictator had begun on Wednesday night, Argentine Jews had been suffering from the war with Islamic terrorism for more than a decade. "For us, the war started in 1992, with the terrorist attack against the Israeli embassy, followed by the bombing of the AMIA" community center in 1994, Jose Hercman said. The attacks killed 29 and 85 people, respectively. In Serbia, Jews who lived through the 1999 NATO bomb- ing campaign sympathized with the Iraqi people. "Since we were attacked, we know that there will be inno- cent victims and casualties among innocent people," said Davor Salom, secretary of the Federation of Serbian Jewish Communities. Serbia's own transition to democracy had shown thatwar is not the way to overthrow a dictatorial regime, Salom said. "You cannot remove people from power this way," he said. Serbian President "Slobodan Milosevic was removed from power not by the NATO bomb- ings, but by the people. We believe the overthrow of Saddam Hussein could be done in a very peaceful way, such as through education." The his- tory of the Czech and SIovak republics gave Jews there a different view, however. "Any normal person is against war, but not at any price," said Fero Alexander, executive chairman of the Cen- tral Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Slovakia. '%Ve had a bad experience with ap- peasement in Czechoslovakia with" British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain before the start of World War II. Jan Munk, president of the Czech Federation of Jewish Memorial contributions may be made to: VITAL of Central Florida, 5151 Adanson St Or- lando, FL 32804 or Multiple Sclerosis, 3659 Maguire Blvd. Suite 110, Orlando, FL 32803. Services were entrusted by American Family Funeral Cen- ter, Inc, Fern Park. Communities, said he was sorry that civilians and sol- diers would die in the war, but added, "the regime of Saddam Hussein has to be taken down. I think that Saddam Hussein's regime is definitely a danger for all Jews around the world, and especially for Israeli Jews." Munk also referred to the un- successful attempts, at Czechoslovakia's expense, to appease Hitler in order to avoid war. "The same attitude led to the Munich Agreement," he said. "And we all know what happened afterward." JTA correspondents Ruth Gruber in Rome, Philip Carmel in Paris, Jonathan Fisk in Brus- sels, Magnus Bennett in Prague, Florencia Arbiser in Argentina, Marcus Moraes in Rio de Janeiro, Katka Kmmar in Belgrade, Serbia, Lev Krichevsky in Moscow, Agnes Bohm in Budapest, Moira Schneiderin Cape Town, Claire Levy in London and Bram Eisenthal in Montreal contrib- uted to this report. TTR IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT Repairs Timers Pumps Rain Sensors Broken Pipes System Revamps Pool Revamps Plumbing Repairs Handyman Services Flat Rate/No Hourly Fees/10% Off With Ad Major Credit Cards Accepted. 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