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April 4, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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April 4, 2003

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H. ERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 4, 2003 Economy Continued from page 1 these times of crisis that Mayor Eli Moyel proudly considers his success in securing the benefits just last week as the centerpiece of his tenure as mayor. As Israel braces itself for an imminent U.S.-ledwaragainst Iraq, residents are more con- cerned about their sagging Pocketbooks than about don- ning gas masks or finding plas- tic sheeting to seal emergency rooms. A poll released by the Israel Forever Foundation indicated that nearly twice as many Is- raelis - 20 percent - are con- Cerned about the economic situation as about a possible Iraqi attack (11 percent). To remedy Israel's eco- nomic implosion, Netanyahu's Plan is designed to cut the ever-decreasing fat in the na- tional budget If cuts already .l~Ssed in December 2002 are Included, Israel's per annum budget will be sliced by about $4 billion dollars, or some 8 Percent of the total budget. Every ministry but the De- fense Ministry will lose 2 to 3 Percent of its budget. The protracted war with the Palestinians, plus breakneck Preparations for a possible at- tack from Iraq, have sent the defense budget soaring while knocking the economy into recession. According to Netanyahu's plan, the public sector will be hit hardest. With a progres- sive salary cut ranging from 6 percent for low-wage earners to 12 percent for higher earn- ers, no one will be spared. The plan also reportedly in- cludes mass layoffs, and tens of thousands of public sector employees could lose their jobs in coming years. Netanyahu has particularly targeted the Education Minis- try, reducing the number of administrators and teachers and amalgamating certain positions and authorities. The cuts also will reduce social security and child benefits, while raising the pension age to 67 Even before the cuts are approved, the country faces a social services gap that some people are trying to fill. "You see," said Moshe Levkowitz, director general of "Meir Panim," Israel's only chain of soup kitchens, "the State of Israel has no system of soup kitchens." Each one, he explains, is independent and ad hoc. Levkowitz, whose blue eyes, ruddy cheeks and sandy hair give him the appearance of a cherub with a beard, prides his organization for "not only filling their bellies with food, but their hearts with pride." Meir Panim, named after founder David Kochmeister's PAGE 19 Bush Continued from page 1 Is not among the organization's core group of itary liaisons. Hoenlein, execu- of the Con- of Presidents of Major Jewish Organiza- administration look for is anti-Israel?" that close ally of the States is natural." A spokesman was an excellent for the job because of experience with re- ~truction issues in the ~ r~er Yugoslavia. "That's what his detractors be focused on," Still, 'There are lots of other do this that aren't in the which JINSA is rnernber of." Arabs are con- that Garner will push newleadershipin Iraq thatwould foster a relationship with Israel, a state they see as an occupier and enemy of Arabs, Ibish said. Leaders of the Iraqi National Congress, which operates out of London and has close ties to the Bush administration, have been working with American Jewish groups in the past few months, expressing an interest in building relationships with the Israeli government. Entifadah Qanbar, the INC's Washington office director, told JTA last October that he be- lieves that good relations with Israel are possible under a new regime because, he said, Saddam is the one who has a problem with Israel, not the Iraqi people. Others dispute that analy- sis, saying that decades of fiercely anti-Israel indoctrina- tion mean it will take time be- fore the Iraqi public, under any government, would be willing to accept Israel. In any case, the INC is just one of several groups seeking a share of power after Saddam is son Meir, who died of a rare "Peoplewillcallandsaythey additional four branches in job due to an inability to con- pancreatic disorder at age 13, want to sponsor 10 or five or Israel's poorer cities, part of centrate. operates in the fashion of a 100 meals. Others say they an effort to better serve "pe- "l am not stupid, butsimply home-style restaurant, have a bed, or a fridge, or an riphery cities" like Sderot. cannot function like everyone By keeping its premises oven, even sewing machines In addition to food, the or- else," he said. "But the govern- clean and "restaurant-like," it to give away," he said.ganization provides legal ment has forgotten me." Turn- aims to remove any feelings of During lunch hour Mon- counsel and medical services ing to comrades munching on shame fromacceptingdonated day, the day before Purim, the twice a week. donated chocolate-covered food. scene was both amusing and But there are many Israelis eclairs, he said,'`we don'twant "Because of a policy that surreal. Fervently Orthodox who fall through the cracks people'sdonations.Wewantto requires respect, we get about men, joined by Israeli Arab and find themselves unable to be able to support ourselves." 40 percent women here. This volunteers, acted like stereo- take aid even from groups like The group has refused to leave is totally unprecedented in typical Jewish mothers,MeirPanim. thearea, technicailydesignated soup kitchens, where often bouncing from table to table "We represent those as a city park, and has issued women feel too ashamed to cajoling "clients" to eat more people," slurred Mark Elazar, rather nebulous demands. go," Levkowitz said. and constantly ladling addi- one of the 30 or so residents of "Something has to change, There aretensofthousands tional food onto people's a trash-filled camp called the government has to recog- of hungry people in Israel, but plates. "Bread Square" in Tel Aviv. nize our existence," Elazar not everyone who comes to "Take this," one of the Arab The new residents of Bread said. the soup kitchen is necessar- workers said, shoving a loaf of Square - officially Tel Aviv's Across the street from bak- ily starving, Levkowitz said. breadintothearmsofahome- swank "Ha'medina Square"- eries catering to Tel Aviv's "Many people are either less man already laden with are a ragtag group of the most expensive tastes, and mentality ill, or have no one leftovers, chronically ill, former addicts stores such as Armani and whornightpreparethemahot "But I don't need it," the and simply the very poor with Poio, liesa refrigerator. lunch," he said. man replied, clutching his nowhere else to go. "The fridge is empty - we Meir Panim, a non-profit take-away soup. They live in tents and a pair want work," reads the sign on inspired and run by fervently "Just take it, its good for of abandoned buses, spray- its open door. Orthodox Jews, has grown tre- you,"thevolunteer responded, painted with graffiti, that have Back in Sderot, before trot- mendously - largely, and un- still holding the loaf.been there since July. ting off with her friends, a fortunately, due to increasing Unlike most of Israel's for- Elazar was stabbed in the world-weary Avraham con- demand, Levkowitz said. profit businesses, Meir Panim neck in 1982 by an escaped cluded,"Here it's ailabout the Meir Panim soup kitchens is growing. By the end of the criminal. Since then he has bottom line. That is what's now feed some 2,500 Israeli year it is slated to open an been unable to hold a steady really scary." adults and 800 students a day in five national centers. While the organization re- Seeds ceives only 6 percent of its Continued from page 3 '~rheadultsinthelocalSeeds young and old. We are sure funding from the government, of Peace Chapter are working that it will be both entertain- 85 percent of Meir Panim's Camp.Only450wereaccepted so hard to make the first An- ingandenlightening.Thepro- recipients are referred to its duetothelimitedspacesavail- nualGalaoftheFloridaFriend's cess of putting this event to- soup kitchens by state social able for the three camp ses- Chapter asuccess on June lst" gether has been both for me. workers, sions.Thirty of these teens are says Tara Gordon, President of The bonds that I have made Funds come from dona- from the United States. Two RollinsCollegeJewishStudent during the time that I have tions, Levkowitz said. Central Florida teens will be Leagueandco-chairofthePic- been working on this project chosen to attend the first ses- turesofHopeCelebration.'We gave me an opportunity to get sionofcampthiscomingJune, wanted to take our own steps to know people of other cul- one from the Jewish commu- toward building a foundation tures that I may never have had removed from Iraq. The group nity and one from the Arab for youth through our Florida thechance to meetotherwise." does not have a large following community. "We are so ex- FriendsYouthChapterofSeeds Formoreinformationabout in Iraq, and it's unclear how cited over the idea of having of Peace. The purpose of this this event, Seeds of Peace and prominent a role it will play. our very own Seeds." says event is two fold, first to raise thelocalFloridachapterplease Bryen says it's too early to Tracey Amar, coordinat~ for funds for scholarships to the contact Tracey Amar at 407- speculate on whether Garner's the FIorida Friends ofSeeds of Seeds of Peace Camp and sec- 691-5934 or at job will even give him an op- Peace. "When these teens re- ondlyandjustasimportant, to or portunity to work on Iraqi-Is- turn to Central Florida they invite the entire community to Tara Gordon tgordon@ raelirelations, lfso, itwouid will be the true local celebrate with us the beauty of rollins.eduortnore, informa- mean his role would move be- spokespeople for Seeds of themanydifferentculturesthat tion on Seeds of Peace, please yond humanitarian concerns Peacewhocansharetheirown share so much. This eventis visit our website and into political matters, and experiences as actual Seeds." opentotheentirecommunity, www.seedsofpeace.oig. would require an Iraqi leader- shiPties, interested in improving Tobin "If he his apolitical mission, Continued from page 4 assault on both America and dent, that our support for the it's better for people with a Israel within the United Na- warismotivatedfirstandfore- political mission to have good Islamo-fascist opponents of tions will be particularly cru- most by our love for America feelings about Israei,"she said. freedom that they will not be ciai. We can expect that fol- and concern for its safety. Garner retired in 1997 and allowed to threaten the peace lowing an American victory, American Jews, who have became president of SY Tech- of the world with impunity, the Jew-hating hypocriteswho always played a leadership role nology,aVirginiacompanythat Israel will suffer if this war ma~queradeas"human-rights onimportantpolicyquestions, provides communication and ends in a triumph for Saddam activists" will seek to exploit cannot falter now. Contrary to targeting systems for missiles. Hussein and the Western ap- the situation. Jewish groups the opinion of the anti-war It was bought last year by L-3 peaserswhohaveworkedhard can play a role in defending crowd, you don't have to be Communications, fromwhich to foil American policy. But so the values of democracy in Jewish to oppose terror and Garner has taken a leave of will the entire Middle East, bothinternationaiforumsand support democracy abroad. absence, especially Arabs who will lose the American public square. But it shouldn't stop you from Garner also helped lead a any hope of democracy. If we In doing so, we should not speaking out if you'are. humanitarian effort for Kurds prevail, the benefits will hide the fact that we love Is- JonathanS. Tobinisexecu- in northern Iraq after the 1991 equally accrue to more than rael and want the forces that tive editor of the Jewish Expo- war. just Israel. still wish to destroy it to be nent in Philadelphia. He can As the war continues, the defeated. We will at the same be reached via e-mail at challenges will be many. The time insist, as does the presi- Continued from page 2 ~lsrePorted incidents in 2002. r the past three years, van- m incidents have declined 7 rcenLAccordingtoADL, ~flecrease is a result of in-- ~ ,"~Sed:. securitymeasures,while ~a~l.d-be vandals may find out- elsewhere, like the Intemet. s While the ADL said that it could not quantify anti- Semitic activity on the Internet, the group stated that the Internet"continued to play a substantial role in the dis- semination of anti-Semism, with hate literature being transmitted through hun- dreds of sites on the Web." The states showing the largest numbers ofreportedin- cidents in 2002 were New York, with 302, down from 408 the previous year; New Jersey, with 171, down from 192; Massachussetts, with 129, up from 126; Pennsylvania, with 101, up from 61; and Florida, with 93, down from 115. Camps he currently wears, he man- productions, Mannette is the Continued from page 3 agestosqueezetimeintoteach administrator for the JCC 107.7stated,"We sin- a series of Folk Tale classes to Enrichment Academy and he appreciate the extra the younger set to begin their teaches a drama class for the your Ioveofacting,"saysBoyar.She kindergarten through sec- proudly present feels that Mannette has made ond graders. This year the in recognition alastingimpactonthelivesof seven-week and four-week way you enrich their two of her sons. "I don't know sessions of the Performing day. Thank you for anyone who doesn't adore Arts Camp will be under the an outstanding role Mark, he's the backbone of the supervision and guidance of and helping our chil- Creative Arts at the JCC, and Mannette. achieve their goals." has inspired many, many kids To register for either of the ,awonderl In over the years." performingartscampscallthe .the multiple ha~ Ip add, itiqn to the yarious JCC 407-645-5933, ext. 249. I I I Call Jeff at 407-834-8787