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April 13, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 13, 2012 Livni From page 1A Livni's rapid climb to power--comparable to the political careers of Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak--was remarkable. Just two years after leaving her commercial law practice to become a Knesset member in the Likud Party, Livni was given a ministerial portfolio. By 2006 as foreign minister, she was second in command of Kadima, Israel's ruling party, and in the 2009 general election--just a decade after entering politics--Livni led Kadima to garner 28 Knesset seats, one seat more than the second-largest party, Netan- yahu's Likud. Livni, who admitted in an interview with Yediot Achro- not to being a Mossad agent in Paris in the early 1980s, grew up in an ardently right-wing household. Her father and mother were members of the prestate Irgun, a paramilitary organization affiliated with Ze'ev Jabotinsky's Revisionist Zionist movement that was the ideological precursor to today's Likud. With some other leading members of Likud, she came to believe that Israel had to cede control over areas popu- lated by Palestinians in order to remain a Jewish state. Livni joined Prime Minister Ariel Sharon when he left the Likud to form Kadima in November 2005 in the wake of his Gaza disengagement. She advanced within the party's leadership as a result of a series of upheavals that included Sharon's paralyzing stroke in January 2005, just months before the March 2006 general elections, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's July 2008 announcement that he would resign in the wake of corruption allegations. At a time when Olmert's ordeal was making headlines, along with the rape charges against President Moshe Katsav and a corruption case involving a finance minister, it was the Israeli public's perception of Livni as honest and clean--a Time profile of her in 2010 was titled "Israel's Mrs. Clean"--that boosted her status. "Under the immediate circumstances, Livni's was an alarming anointment, effectively implemented by a well-known advertising and PR firm that had more to do with appearances than with substance," said Amotz Asa- El, a Hartman Institute fellow and a former executive editor of The Jerusalem Post. "They played up her Mrs. Clean image, emphasized her femininity, changed her hairdo and dressed her in elegant business suits. But she was a shallow politician who could not seriously debate anything," he said. "She was no match for Bibi." The beginning of Livni's downfall was her inability after the 2009 general elec- tions to form a coalition, despite winning a plurality of the votes. A bloc of several religious and right-wing par- ties made it much easier for Netanyahu to form a coalition. Meanwhile, left-wing par- ties Labor and Meretz, which had lost votes to Kadima, declined to support Livni because they were concerned she would form a coalition with Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beiteinu. Negotiations for a rotation government that included Likud and Kadima fell through in part due to Livni's opposition to the idea. Ironically, if the deal had been finalized, Livni would have started her stint as prime minister last week. Instead, Kadima remained in the op- position. Kadima, a party originally built around the dominating persona of Sharon and politi- cal pragmatism, lacked both a clear agenda and an ideologi- cal tradition, which made it particularly ill equipped to weather a long period of exile from the governing coalition. "Many in the party simply refused to reconcile them- selves to remaining in the opposition," said Nachman Shai, a Kadima Knesset member and Livni supporter. "They wanted someone who they thought would give them more of a chance to return to the coalition." Livni also managed to make many enemies within Kadima. In one incident caught on camera, Livni re- peatedly interrupted Mofaz as he attempted to present his diplomatic plan for solv- ing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Kadimalawmakers in November 2009. "Shaul had worked hard on that plan, going into great details on all the key issues from borders and security arrangement to Jerusalem and meeting with [Palestin- ian Authority Prime Minister] Salam Fayyad," said Ronit Tirosh, a Kadima Knesset member aligned with Mofaz. "Shaul does not know how to work without people, she does not know how to work with them," Tirosh said, regarding Livni. "She has a deficit in emotional intel- ligence." Before the primaries, fewer than half of Kadima's Knesset members were openly aligned with Livni. Tirosh and others within Kadima also attacked Livni for failing to capitalize on last summer's socioeconomic protests against the high cost of living. PAGE 19A ForAsa-El this was proof of Livni's inability to formulate a coherent domestic policy. "You can criticize Bibi for his ideas about economics, but he presented a program with a clear worldview," he said. "Livni utterly failed to join the protests, let alone lead them or even articulate any sort of domestic policy." However, Moshe Debby, the head of a public relations firm that advised Livni on strategy, insists that Livni remained more popular than Mofaz until the end, as evidenced by the polls. Rather itwas Mofaz's behind- the-scenes deal-making among Kadima members that clinched him the leader- ship vote. "Tzipi was a woman of ideology and values who was concerned primarily with the betterment of the nation," Debby said. "She did not go to bar mitzvahs and weddings, she did not call people on their birth- days, she did not engage in the internal politics of back scratching. And that's why she lost." Tunsia From page 2A without causing conflict or social discord. Educated Muslim Tuni- sians acknowledge that the Jews are a crucial part of this history. "The Jews came to Tunis and developed commerce and trade here, and many came after they were ex- pelled from Iberia," says Abdel-Hamid Larguech, a history professor at Manou- ra University. "These were factors in how Tunisia be- came more cosmopolitan." Kedya Ben Saidane, who has researched the coun- try's Berber community, claims Berbers living in Tunisia first began practic- ing Judaism nearly 3,000 years ago. Modern Tunisia has subsequently had a his- tory of moderation on Israel-related issues. In 1965, Habib Bourguiba, the president from 1957 until 1987, caused a brief crisis in relations between Tunisia and several other Arab governments when he outlined a plan for rec- ognizing Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Official diplomatic con- tact between Israel and Tunisia, established in Roundup From page 12A Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel attacked for 14th time JERUSALEM (JTA)-- Egypt's pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan was attacked for the 14th time in more than a year. The explosion occurred April 9 at the entrance to El Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula, Reuters reported. The attack comes days after a rocket fired from the Sinai struck a residential area in the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat. Mishap leaves Israeli brigade with seder meal of matzah and salami Israeli soldiers in the Kfir 1996, lasted just four years, yet Tunisia does not take as hard line a position on the Jewish state as other Arab countries. "Tunisian Israelis come here with no problem at all," says Rabbi Haim Bit- tan, the leader of the small Jewish community in Tu- nis, adding that travel to Israel is fairly routine for the country's Jews. Tunisia is also one of the few Arab countries accessible to Israeli passport holders, despite the lack of official recognition. Yet since Ben Ali's ouster, there have been hints that Tunisia's moderation-- and its moderate position toward Israel--could be eroding. In October, the Islamist Ennahda party won 43 per- cent of the vote in Tunisia's first post-uprising parlia- mentary elections, putting an explicitly religious party in charge of a country with a long-standing secular and republican tradition. Although Ennahda in late March officially dropped its demand for Islamic law in the country's new con- stitution, many Tunisians still fear that the party could take the country in an uncomfortably radical direction. Party co-founder Rached Ghannouchi has publicly praised the mothers of suicide bombers and spo- ken about "the extinction of Israel." "Ennahda's election fa- vored the emergence of a new fundamentalist section of the society, the extrem- ists," Larguech says. "And the two enemies of the democratic revolution are populism and extremism." Ennahda confirmed moderates' fears by pro- posing a constitutional ban on normalization of ties with Israel during a mock parliament held just after Ben Ali's ouster. A year later there is almost no mainstream support for such a provision. En- nahda, which has proven responsive to the criticism from the country's large secular-liberal wing, also now opposes the normaliza- tion ban. Walid Bennani, vice president of Ennahda's parliamentary contingent, says his party believes that peaceful relations with the Jewish state would be pos- sible as soon as Israel makes peace with the Palestinians. "The constitution is not the place to legislate rela- tions between countries," he says. However, Ghannouchi said April I that there could be no normalization with Israel, according to the official TAP news agency. "Tunisians' problem is with Zionism, not with Judaism," he reportedly said. Tunisia also has a grow- ing and increasingly vocal Salafist movement. Tuni- sia's Salafists are Islamic fundamentalists inspired by Saudi Arabia's restric- tive version of political Islam who felt oppressed by the secular, republican character of the Bourguiba and Ben All regimes. On March 23, Salafist protest- ers chanted anti-Semitic slogans in downtown Tunis, provoking a tense standoff with a group of artists gath- ered in front of Tunisia's national theater. Every major political party, including Ennahda, condemned the Salafists, whose chants included "death to the Jews." A week later, Salafists called for a ban on normalization with Israel in a protest in front of the National Assembly building in Tunis. So far, Tunisia's moderate and secular political culture has kept the Salafists on the social and political fringes while frustrating Ennahda's ambitions for an overtly Brigade ate salami and mat- zah for their seder meal after a base chef heated up the real seder food inappropriately, rendering it unkosher. The infantry brigade returned to base from a mission at the start of Passover expecting a festive holiday meal, but the base chef had begun to heat up the food af- ter the start of the holiday, which also fell on the Jewish Sabbath, and is prohibited by Jewish law andarmyrules, IsraersChannel2 reported. The station cited Israel Radio's military affairs reporter Carmela Menashe, who was contacted by the parents of some of the soldiers. The chef, a warrant officer, has been court-martialed for violating a standing military order, according to Channel 2. The food that was heated up incorrectly was thrown away on the order of the kitchen's kashrut supervisor, according to reports. Smelling a simcha: Surgeon pushing marriage with grants for nose jobs (JTA)--A Jewish plastic surgeon in Miami has offered scholarships to Orthodox Jew- ish singles for nose jobs to help them land a spouse. Dr. Michael Salzhauer, who is under an ethics investiga- tion after commissioning a Jewish band to write a song about a Jewish teen with a big nose, recently announced his outreach program to help bring couples together--a program that CNN has dubbed "nose jobs for nuptials." Salzhauer, 40, mandates that applicants must be re- ferred by their matchmakers or rabbi, who must verify financial need. The patients must meet medical, aesthetic and psychological criteria as well in order to be eligible for surgery, CNN reported. Salzhauer told CNN that he has 15 potential scholarship patients lined up. Salzhauer hired The Grog- gers, a Jewish punk-rockband, to write a song and make a music video that encourages plastic surgery in a bid to con- nect to a younger audience. Known as "Dr. Schnoz," he performed rhinoplasty on the band's lead singer, L.E. Doug Staiman. Islamic constitution. And as far as the Jews are con- cerned, Tunisian modera- tion has endured during the transitional period. In Tunis itself, Jewish life is more developed than in most other Arab capitals. Although only 500 Jews re- main in the city, it boasts a Jewish school, a yeshiva and a kosher food service--as well as the Grande Syna- gogue de Tunis, a 1930s art-deco masterpiece still topped with a colossal, gilded Star of David. The southern island of Djerba has more than 350 students in Jewish schools, accord- ing to Bittan. The post-revolutionary sense of openness has yielded one major gain for Tunisia's Jewish commu- nity: After Ben All stepped down, Lellouche launched Dar el-Dekra (Arabic for "House of Memory'), which he describes as the first Tu- nisian organization aimed at celebrating and promot- ing the country's Jewish heritage. "Ben All used to instru- mentalize the Jewish com- munity," Lellouche says. "Ben All wanted to say to France and America that the Jews live till now in Tunisia because he wants them to live here." With Ben All gone, there's a new opportunity to de- velop Jewish life in Tuni- sia without contributing to the public image of a widely despised autocrat, says Lellouche, who also is planning a Jewish museum. Still, he remains wary. "The Salafists have now chanted 'death to the Jews' during their marches three times," Lellouche says. "The first two times they were talking about Zionists. But I think the third time they were talking about the Jews themselves." Sudoku solution from page 7 58426391 7 216975843 739814562 342586791 651497238 978132654 193628475 427359186 865741329 PUT SOME FREILACH IN YOUR SIMCHA WITH THE ENERGIZED MUSIC OF BOB AND ANNETTA GLICKMAN 407-587-5948 OR 407-463-7588 DINNER SOCIAL FUNCTIONS