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April 10, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 10, 2009 Netanyahu From page 1A all the powers necessary for self governance, but not the handful of powers that could endanger Israel's security," Dermer said--such as an army, airspace rights, heavy weaponry or treaties with states like Iran. Whether or not such an entity is called a state is an issue of terminol- ogy, not ideology, he said. Now that he has taken of- rice, Netanyahu may not be able to keep up his balancing act--offering nuggets to placate critics on the left and right--for long. But doing so may be crucial to keeping his coalition intact. Even before the February election, Netanyahu made clear he wanted as broad a coalition as possible if he won. But his refusal to sup- port a two-state solution or agree to a power-sharing deal with Kadima's Tzipi Livni cost him the support of Israel's largest political party in coalition negotiations. For a while it appeared that Netanyahu's only allies were on the right--enough to form a government and become prime minister, but not enough to keep him safe from a no-confidence vote if he were interested in sub- stantive progress in Israeli- Palestinian negotiations. And a narrow, right-wing coalition certainly would not have won Israel much favor overseas. But when Netanyahu suc- ceeded last week in bringing the center-left Labor Party into his camp and promised to be a "partner for peace," his government became more palatable to left-wing- ers in Israel and to allies abroad. Others, however, blasted Labor for providing what they described as a fig leaf for a right-wing Netan- yahu agenda. Netanyahu has yet to publicly endorse a two-state solution to the Israel-Pal- estinian conflict--putting him somewhere to the right of both Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush. The new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, wants to redraw Israel's borders to exclude Israeli-Arab population cen- ters and require loyalty oaths to the Jewish state in a bid to limit the voting power of Israeli Arabs. And the Ortho- dox Shas party, which holds 11 seats in the coalition, has promised to withdraw from any government that in- cludes Jerusalem in negotia- tions with the Palestinians. At the same time, both Lieberman and Shas have voiced support for land- for-peace swaps with the Palestinians. In Europe, leaders say there is no room for ambigu- ity on the issue ofa Palestin- ian state. "Let me say very clearly that the way the European Union will relate with a government that is not committed to the two-state solution will be very, very different," EU foreign policy chiefJavier Solanawarned in mid-March. PAGE 19A Given Netanyahu's his- tory and the composition of his government, the onus is on the new prime minister to demonstrate to skeptics abroad that his new government--com- prised of Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Labor, Shas and the religious Zionist Jew- ish Home party--will not shift course away from the pro-negotiation policies of Israel's last government or adopt positions that will alienate Israel's allies in Washington and Europe. "On substance, there is not a big gap between Ne- tanyahu's position and the international community's position--certainly not those that are friends of Israel," Dermer insists. When it comes to President Obama, veteran Israeli po- litical commentator Nahum Barnea wrote in the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot, there are two questions: "Whether Obama will be able to subject his agenda to Israel's, and whether Netanyahu will be willing to accommodate the American president on a series of issues, topped by the negotiations on the es- tablishment of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu will be able to draw out the negotiations; it is uncertain whether he will be able to fool his rightist partners. "It is not exactly the government that the voters of Kadima, Likud, Labor or Shas dreamed of, but it is a legitimate government," Barnea wrote. "It must be given a chance." Future From page 3A the survey on providing a welcoming Jewish com- munity, doing outreach and performing long-range planning, and also knows that in the current econom- ic downturn "tough choices have to be made." The Feder- ation's evolving role, he said, is to be "a purchaser, not a provider" of many services and programs, whether they originate within one of its agencies or elsewhere. "Our community doesn't plan very well," said Cras- now, and acknowledged that the Federation had conducted several efforts over the years: "We've been over the same ground with long-range planning." "We need to know what success looks like, and what our goals are." He doesn't think these have been clearly de- fined in the past, and "every plan gets redone." From recent board dis- cussions, six priorities for the next 15 to 24 months Sharkansky have emerged, subject to revision as circumstances change: Financial security, "to make sure the Federation continues to exist." Community outreach Develop and implement a dynamic communication strategy Leadership development Support for local pro- grams that support the Federation's mission Continued support for overseas programs, focus- ing on the highly successful sister city partnership with Israel's Kiryat Motzkin. Crasnow thinks that with proper planning, Orlando's Jewish community in 10 years could be like Atlanta's or South Florida's, "pods of Jewish life." He also wants to empha- size that money is being spent carefully and appro- priately, even as the board is exploring new models, such as endowment funding and donor-directed funds. He's in favor of more efficient fundraising, in which the Federation looks at the cost to produce a fundraising event relative to the amount of funds raised. Crasnow wants the com- munity to know that the South Orlando Jewish Com- munity Center campus is on track for an August open- ing, and that its successful role in outreach continues to be important. He also knows that there are grow- ing Jewish populations in places like East Orlando and Oviedo: "They're out there and we have to do something for them." And there are a wide va- riety of other good causes out there, he said, but the Federation may have to more narrowly focus its goals. Even in the current fi- nancial climate, though, the Orlando Federation has fared better than some. Crasnow said there was little or no direct impact from the Bernard Madoff scan- dal on it or on most major donors, although the gen- eral downturn has affected everyone's ability to give. The community campaign stood at $900,000 when he spoke to the Heritage a few weeks ago (it stands at about $1,050,000 now). Recent previous campaigns had endedwith approximately $2 million. Crasnow wants the community to become more involved: In the past, "some of the failings of the Fed- eration became so because of the lack of volunteers." And when people perceive failure, "they don't want to get involved." Yet, "with a little bit ofhelp, I believe we can get to $1.5 million. The money will not be wasted, and it was not before." Federation board mem- bers Elaine Silver and Rhon- da Pearlman have headed this year's campaign. A few weeks ago they spoke with the Heritage about this year's focus on enhancing relationships with donors as they use the campaign to "build the community." "This year," said Peariman, "the campaign is about our donors. It's about the rela- tionship we have with them." By concentrating on Israel and the Jewish community around the world, on leader- ship development, outreach and welcoming newcomers, said Silver, the Federation does its community-build- ing. And the survey "is one more way we're reaching out," using what she and Pearlman called "e-technol- ogy" in fundraising. Pearlman spoke of the "21st century campaign" they've been organizing, and of how they and their volunteers have striven to show appreciation in meaningful ways to new and continuing donors. "If these tools work, they'll be used again in the future." It's all about being "bet- ter, cheaper, greener," said Silver. And she anticipated Crasnow by emphasizing that "the money is being put to good use." "We're doing all we can possibly do to see that their dollars are used most effectively and efficiently." In this economic climate, Pearlman and Silver know that a $2 million campaign wouldn't be realistic. "The world has changed," said Sil- ver. Members of the Central Florida Jewish community have lost jobs, and have suffered mortgage foreclo- sures, yet many donors have maintained, and some have increased, their gifts. Silver and Pearlman also cited increasing interest among donors in help- ing decide how funds are allocated. One may care most about the remnant of Eastern European Jewry, another may focus on the Jewish Agency for Israel, or on a local agency. "We're trying to reach out to donors that have supported us in the past, and our volunteers are working around the clock," said Pearlman, and she and Silver and the entire Federa- tion want them to know that their efforts are appreciated. From page 4A of something. Individuals appointed as Ministers of Defense and Justice are ex- perts in the concerns of their departments. However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will begin his task having in- suited the President of Egypt, and with a reputation as a racist. The ultra-Orthodox Bronfman politician likely to be head- ing the Ministry of Health, if he repeats the record of a predecessor, may be more interested in kosher kitchens than anything else. There is no indication that indi- viduals appointed to head the ministries of transportation, environmental protection, tourism, or housing and con- struction come to their jobs with significant expertise in those fields. Not to worry. All of the established ministries have numerous professional em- ployees, who make almost all of the decisions, or guide the minister to appropriate deci- sions. Ministers of defense, foreign affairs and finance often have crucial roles in formulating and articulating major policy. The minister of transportation might have a crucial voice in selecting the route for new roads or scram- bling the choices made by a predecessor. The minister of education cannot do much of anything against the desires of the teacher unions. Most ministers find themselves restricted by whatever pro- gram initiatives profession- als in the finance ministry are willing to pay for. In wishing well to the new government of Israel, it is appropriate to hope that all will go well in the international economy that impinges so heavily on this small country, that moderate Palestinians will reconsider their rejection of whatever any Israeli govern- ment is willing to offer, that American and Europeans claiming to be our friends will keep their brilliant new ideas to themselves, and that our crazier neighbors will not decide to provoke the IDF. Ira Sharkansky is profes- sor emeritus, Department of Political Science, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. From page 5A tive. In fact, smaller start-up organizations are often better equipped to intimately reach local, niche communities in a way that larger organizations cannot. I was happy to see recently from The 2008 Survey of New Jewish Organizations that I am not alone in thinking that innovation and renaissance occur through both large- scale programs and smaller initiatives. Within the last 10 years, more than 300 Jewish organizations have been cre- ated to serve what they see as unmet needs within the Jew- ish community. Despite their diverse agendas, it is inspiring to see all of these organiza- tions working to make the Jewish community a better place. Together these orga- nizations serve the multiple perspectives of our unique Jewish community and each represents an important piece of our collective Jewish identity. The diverse needs of Jewish community will continue to evolve in the future, regard- less of the state of the econo- my. While it is important for those in the position of influ- ence, like Michael Steinhardt and myself, to encourage innovation, it is up to all of us, as members of the Jewish community, to make sure that these creative leaders have the support they need to be successful. We need to make sure that the bleak economic forecast doesn't diminish our optimism for a bright future within the Jewish community. Edgar 31. Bronfman is the president of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation. Tel Aviv From page llA Her favorite memories of her uncle, who helped plan and then run "the first He- brew city," are of the Purim parades he would lead riding his shiny, white mare. "One of the sheiks in the Negev gave him the horse," said Rivlin, 87, sitting in her one-room studio apartment in an old-age home in the Tel Aviv sister city of Givatayim. "She was quite nice, they called her Mahera," she said--Hebrew for "fast." Purim was a highlight of the year in the city in those days, she recalled, with sumptuous floats decorated in silks and greenery, bands, and much singing and danc- ing down the streets. "Those processions were beautiful," she said. "One time the Tribes of Israel were represented--people cloaked in white robes, the Levites holding small harps. "We did not have any his- tory here so we had to look far back into the past to find something to show off," she says with a chuckle. When Rivlin was growing up, Tel Aviv felt more like a village than a town, a place where everyone seemed to know each other. It also had a rural feel. Rivlin can still recall the sweet smell of the orange and lemon groves on the out- skirts of town, and the sound of howling jackals at night. Many afternoons were spent on the beach, playing volleyball and lying in the sand. For fun, Rivlin and her friends would go to the kiosks on Rothschild Boulevard, one of the city's original streets, which had soda fountains. Many of the streets were unpaved when she was a girl. When it rained, storeowners would put down wooden planks in front of their shops so customers would not track in mud. Even in its early days, Tel Aviv was never short of culture. Rivlin remembers the movie theaters--some screened films outside under the stars during the sum- mertime--and the classical music concerts that would draw overflow crowds. She recalls her mother holding onto her at a stand- ing-room-only performance of the famed violinist Jascha Heifetz. Itwas a hot night and the windows of the auditori- umwhere he was performing were open. Rivlin remembers bats flying in during the performance, swooping by the virtuoso. Rivlin was amused when one of Tel Aviv's main shop- ping streets was named after her uncle. Dizengoff Street is now one of Tel Aviv's signa- ture roads. "I used to joke to my hus- band every time we walked down it that we were walking on my street," she said.