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PAGE 2 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS APRIL JTA Weekly Summary Following are Jewish Telegraphic Agency's news briefs for Tuesday, April 27, 2004. Kerry marks Israel's Independence Day Sen. John Kerry said the United States "should never pressure Israel to compromise its security." In a state- ment honoring Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, the Massachusetts senator and presumptive Demo- cratic nominee for president said Israel should not be coerced into peace negotiations without a credible Pales- tinian partner. He also said the United States should work to help Israel's fight against terrorism. Kerry called his support for Israel "unwavering" and said the United States' relationship with the Jewish state should be strengthened. Money for Sudanese victims The American Jewish World Service is collecting money for humanitarian relief in Sudan. The Sudanese govern- ment reportedly has armed Arab Muslims who killed as many as 100,000 black Muslims in the past several months. The violence comes after a civil war in the country that has pitted Christians against Muslims during the past several years. Money can be sent to the American Jewish World Service, 45 W. 36th St 10th Fir New York, NY 10018. Fans want to boycott hoops in Israel Some Italian fans are calling for a boycott of this week's European basketball championship in Israel because of security fears. A note on the Web site of a Skipper Bologna team fan club called for fans to stay away from the Euroleague Final Four, which starts Thursday. "How many would be willing to leave their hotels and venture into the city using public buses?" the Web site asked, according to The Associated Press. Monte Paschi Siena and Skipper Bologna will play in one semifinal, with CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Tel Aviv playing in the other. Rome to get Holocaust museum A Holocaust museum is being built on the site of Benito Mussolini's former residence in Rome. The mu- seum will be built over a series of Jewish catacombs, city officials told Reuters. The museum will feature audiovi- sual material collected by Steven Spielberg's Shoah foun- dation as well as interactive displays recounting some of Rome's World War II tragedies, such as the Nazi massacre of 335 Italians, many of them Jews, in reprisal for Italian partisans' killing of 33 German soldiers. By Dina Kraft RAMAT EFAL, Israel (JTA)--The large living room is packed with opinionated Likud Party members, sitting in white plastic chairs that have been assembled to ac- commodate the crowd. As the April 22 meeting in this upscale Tel Aviv suburb heats up, each member seems to have a different opinion on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw Israeli settle- ments and troops unilaterally from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. The group of some 50 party faithful have gathered to hear Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stump for Sharon's disengage- ment plan ahead of a May 2 Likud referendum on the plan. The members represent Likud branches from central Israel "This is no regular meet- ing; it carries real weight, for we are on the verge of a diffi- cult decision," said Shabbatai Yosef, of Likud's Holon branch. Passage of the referendum had seemed increasingly likely following Sharon's trium- phant return from Washing- ton two weeks ago with a let- ter in hand from President Bush supporting the plan. Bush also said in the letter that Israel should be able to keep some West Bank land in a future peace deal and that Palestinian refugees from Israel's 1948 War of Indepen- dence should not be allowed to return to Israel. But after an initial swing toward Sharon's plan from some of the party's leaders who were ambivalent about the idea, the party's 200,000 mem- bers appeared sharply divided. A poll in Ha'aretz last week showed that 47 percent of Likud voters who planned to cast a ballot in the referendum were in favor of the pullout plan, with 40 percent against. A poll of Likud members generally showed an even closer split, with 44 percent for the plan and 40 percent against. If the referendum passes, Sharon will have succeeded for the first time in commit- ting Likud--the party that his- torically has championed the cause of Greater Israel--to the withdrawal of settlements from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. But the Palestinians have rejected the plan, saying Is- rael will use it as an excuse not to withdraw from sizeable parts of the West Bank. There was little consensus at the members' meeting. Yitzhak Dadosh, from Or Yehuda, said opinion on the plan was split even within his home. His wife was for the plan; he is against. Carmel Shamah, who heads the Ramat Gan branch of Likud, urged his fellow party members to vote for the plan. "It is not an easy plan, and I was personally against it be- fore we saw the letter from President Bush, and then my opinion changed," he said. A man from Herzliya who identified himself as Avigdor said that if Likud votes for the plan, the party will have lost its ideology. photo b An Israeli soldier walks past signs near downtown. lem, Monday, April 26, 'We love you has promised to unilaterally within a year and is trying to drum up support proposal within his Likud parly. But Mofaz, echoing senti- ments expressed by those in tually could lead favor of the disengagement plan, said building Jewish In a move that may settlements in Gaza is a his- toric mistake, and that ideol- ogy is positive only as long as jamin Netanyahu it served the interests of the tion Minister Limor country, both of whom opted Mofaz is one of several key port Sharon's plan Likud officialswho has heeded Bush's endorsement 0 Sharon's call to help garner mid-April--told support for the disengagementthat they plan. help campail "Because we are strong, we the can bring forward a policythat bers. will change the current real- Cabinet minister ity," Mofaz told the group. Olmert warned that Carrying out the plan, he said, would help ensure a Jew- istersdono ish majority in the Jewish for it among the state. Furthermore, he said, a torate. border with Gaza would be Sharon's staff is defensible, and in withdraw- ing from Gaza, Israel would See "Likud" on Do You Have Pre-Paid Funeral Arrangements With Another Funeral Home? We Can and Will Accept All Other Pre-Paid Plans ~lllllllllllllllllllH il 10% Discount on . I I servlces and merchandiseI on any new I I Pre-need contracts. I I L .I 640 Lee Rd. Orlando, Florida W.E. "Manny" Adams, LFD James R. Cardinal, Executive Director Michael Meyer, Family Pre-need Counselor Tzvi Halikman, Ritual Director By Joe Berkofsky NEW YORK (JTA)--As goes Reform movement leader Rabbi Eric Yoffie, so go many American Jews. At least that's the consen- sus of many observers after a surprising commentary in which the president of the Union for Reform Judaism-- an outspoken liberal---called Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon"my hero" for Sharon's plan for an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Yoffie, whose group in- cludes more than 900 congre- gations believed to represent the majority of affiliated American Jews, wrote in the Forward last week that while he once labeled Sharon a "demagogue," he now consid- ers him a "master politician" singularly situated to end Israel's occupation over the Palestinians and encourage peace. 'q(ou have to give someone creditwhen they do something right, and the prime minister is doing something I consider to be very important," Yoffie told JTA. Appearing in the days after Sharon's historic April 14 summit with President Bush, the front page Op-Ed not only struck a nerve, but also may signal that American Jews are shifting from their former sup- port for the Oslo peace ac- cords to new hope in Sharon, some say. "It's an important note of realism from the left, and I think it also reflects the rank and file of American Jewry," said Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg, president of the photo by Michael Fox Rabbi ERIC YOFFIE ad- dresses deleyates at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial in Minneapolis in November 2003. Jewish Life Network, who is considered a moderate in the modern Orthodox world. "It's a real recognition across the conventional lines that Sharon from the right is bringing some hope for disen- gagement and peace that the left cannot deliver," Greenberg said. Not all liberal Jews would go as far as Yoffie in lauding Sharon, but they do praise the Israeli leader's political acu- men. Writer and activist Leonard Fein said Sharon has "played this entire thing brilliantly. He put Bush over a barrel: With elections coming up Bush wants a Gazawithdrawal, and Sharon told him, 'You've got to give me something.' Now Sharon has told Israelis that if you vote against with- drawal, you're voting against our alliance with the United States." But American Jewish cially have backed many U.S. Jews tical about wh~ will withdraw Fein said. "I really don't want life in which I said. "I would much a pleasant ing here, I to drink champagne, be lining up." and former Americans for Though she too edged Sharon's she called Yoffie's "misplaced prais~ was she said, estinians, not whomustsi plan. Now, %vhat do the; ians bring to show vioh Dr. Men@ ecutive vice Religi and Yoffie's stance age some of the ally vote for Bush on Nov. 2 and terrorism. "When liberals thing servative, they have See "Yoffie" on