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May 11, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 11, 2012 Support From page 1A by the previous GOP nominee, John McCain. The AJC's new findings are similar to those of the Public Religion Research Institute in March. That poll showed Obama scoring 62 percent of the Jewish vote, as opposed to 30 percent for a GOP can- didate. In theAJC poll, respondents identified the economy and health care as by far the two most important election is- sues. Among respondents who attend synagogue at least once a week, only 52 percent said they would vote for Obama, likely reflective of the more conservative leanings of Or- thodox voters. The 11 percent of respon- dents who were undecided in the AJC poll said they leaned toward Romney and Obama in roughly equal numbers. Romney, for his part, struggles with high negative ratings from Jews, with 57 percent saying they have an unfavorable view of him. He is, however, far more popular with Jews than his previous top two GOP primary oppo- nents; Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are each viewed unfavorably by approximately three-quarters of Jews. AJC Executive Director Da- vid Harris says the results show that both Obama and Romney have their work cut out for them with Jewish voters. For Obama, he said, "the concerning news is that you dropped about 17 points from where you were in 2008 and if it's going to be a close election, especially in key swing states." "You're going to have to do more to recoup," Harris said. "You will have to spend more time emphasizing the national security, pro-Israel aspects of your record." It's a lesson the Obama campaign already seems to have taken to heart. Obama has spoken three times in the past six months to Jewish audiences and emphasized Israel's security, whatever the forum--whether it was the Union for Reform Judaism in December, the American Is- rael PublicAffairs Committee in March or the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in April. Obama also has made his na- tional security record a robust element of his campaign. Last week, his campaign released a web ad featuring the still popular President Bill Clinton dramatically narrating the ac- count of Obama's decision to kill Osama bin Laden. The approach appears to be paying off among Jewish voters. The AJC poll showed Obama scoring 58 percent approval in how he managed the U.S.-Israel relationship and 69 percent in how he handled national security. Last September, just 40 per- cent of respondents to an AJC poll approved of his handling of the U.S. relationship with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu also saw a spike in approval for his handling of the U.S.-Israel relationship, to 70 percent from 54 percent in September. Then and now, the economy seems to be the most im- portant factor influencing voters. Just 37 percent of Jewish respondents approved of Obama's handling of the economy in September. That climbed 20 points to 57 per- cent in this poll. Harris says that Romney needs to understand the focus of Jewish voters on the economy in making his case to the community. "If you are Governor Rom- ney and you are making the economy the centerpiece of your campaign, understand that Jews care about the economy as much as others do," he said, noting that much of the GOP pitch to Jews has been focused on Israel and national security. Asked about the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weap- ons, 89 percent of respondents said they were concerned, with 64 percent supporting a U.S. strike should diplomacy and sanctions fail. Majorities of respondents said they preferred Demo- crats over Republicans on every issue on which they were queried. Democrats beat Republicans most decisively on social issues: 81 percent preferred how Democrats handled abortion, and 74 Olmert PAGE 19A percent preferred how the party dealt with church-state issues. Republicans won their highest marks on U.S.-Israel relations, where they were favored by 40 percent as op- posed to 57 percent support for Democrats, and the Iranian nuclear issue, where they were preferred by 37 percent to 60 percent for Democrats. The gender gap in the general electorate was reflected among Jews: Obama had the support of 67 percent of Jewish women as opposed to 55 percent of Jewish men; Romney had the support of 34 percent of Jewish men and 22 percent of women. The online poll, adminis- tered March 14-27 by Knowl- edge Networks, surveyed 1,074 respondents who had previously identified them- selves as Jewish. It had a mar- gin of error of 4.8 percentage points. From page 1A critic of Olmert in the audi- ence, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) activist Dr. Alan Mazurek, interrupted him by yelling "go home" in Hebrew. Olmert noticed, and responded, "I went home. I just wonder whether those who replaced me are making the right decisions." Mazurek told JointMedia News Service, "I couldn't contain myself, and I had to speak up." "I thought that one can have differences of opinion about the way one should handle the problems that Is- rael faces, but one can't have differences of opinion about the facts," Mazurek said. Olmert said Israel should not engage in a peace process that includes "lip service" and the repetition of "empty slogans," a statement repre- senting one of what Mazurek called Olmert's "thinly- Shepherding veiled attacks" on Benjamin Netanyahu's government. The former prime minister also posed the question of whether having a neigh- borhood such as Abu Dis in Jerusalem is "worth the energy" of Jews who fight for it, asking "Is it that part of Jerusalem that Jews were praying for, for 2,000 years?" Currently, Abu Dis is under joint Israeli-Palestinian con- trol, meaning that Olmert's statement "clearly called for the division of Jerusalem," according to Mazurek. "This is part of Jerusalem," Mazurek said. "If you're go- ing to negotiate, you don't negotiate in advance, you negotiate at negotiations. You don't give up unilater- ally part of the holy city of Jerusalem." On Iran, Olmert laid out a three-part question: "What needs to be done? Who should do it? When should it be done?" He said the Iranian nuclear threat is primarily the responsibility of the in- ternational community--led by the U.S., not Israel. Israel's conversations with the U.S. and the interna- tional community on Iran should be conducted with "quieter tones," Olmert said, consisting of sharing concerns privately rather than being seen as "giving orders" to a"powerful friend" like America. "A nation has the right to determine what it should do to defend itself," he said, but can't act irrespec- tive of the policies of other countries. There is enough time to try "different avenues of pres- sure" on Iran without a di- rect military confrontation, Olmert said, echoing recent statements by U.S. President Barack Obama. On the topic of Obama, Olmert added that Israel should respect him and "not fight with him." Israeli Minister of Envi- ronmental Protection Gilad Erdan, whose speech fol- lowed Olmert's, countered that Israel "must always be masters of our own destiny" and that the only way to stop Iran is to make the country believe that the "military option is on the table, and we aren't just talking." While Olmert said Israel should "avoid unnecessary struggles, and try to focus on the heart of the matter" with the Palestinians, Erdan said the heart of the matter is specifically what Olmert de-emphasized. "The conflict with the Pal- estinians won't be solved only with a pencil line drawn on a map," Erdan said. "Palestin- ian refusal to recognize Israel is the heart of the conflict." Responding to Olmert's statement against using "slogans," Erdan said, "We must repeat slogans again and again and again, even if the international commu- nity doesn't hear our truths." Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon also gave his take on the peace process during remarks to the audi- ence, saying that Israel has mistakenly allowed the Pal- estinian narrative to garner too much attention over the years. "Israel was not established 64 years ago,"Ayalon said. "It was established 4,000 years ago." Israeli governments, both on the left and the right, have been lax in pointing that out, he said. For peace to materialize, Israel needs to see the Pales- tinian Authority teach peace and recognition, but now all the PA teaches is "that all the land is theirs, that we are crusaders," Ayalon said. When it comes to Iran, there is "no half-pregnancy," Ayalon said, meaning the regime should not be al- lowed to enrich any uranium whatsoever. Asked during a panel discussion later on Sun- day about what lessons he learned after Mahmoud Abbas rejected his offer of virtually all of the West Bank and part of Jerusalem in 2008, Olmert said he is "not judging Abu Mazen" and will not specifically blame either Israel or the Palestinians for the failure of the peace process. Israeli ministers, Olmert added, discouraged Abbas from accepting its peace plan. Columnist Isi Leibler, for- mer head of the Australian Jewish community, said dur- ing a different panel discus- sion that it was unfortunate to see Olmert use "everything in the book" to be divisive at the conferenceand criticize the Israeli government to the extent that he did. "There's a lot we have to learn about a certain amount of restraint and dignity," Leibler said. From page 5A at Sinai, God himself. There is something about this "Abel model," Hazony suggested, something about this idea of man taking a risk, of embrac- ing personal responsibility, of going his own way--and yet, still finding time to thank his Creator--that must have pleased God. Indeed, in the Jewish tradi- tion, this is the model that ended up defining the es- sential relationship between man and God: the model of partnership. In this partnership, man certainly honors God's au- thority but also reserves the right to challenge and wrestle with God, which deepens the relationship and makes it dynamic, even unpredictable. God accepts the notion of being challenged, and we, in turn, accept the consequences of this challenge. And, just as in real life, we're never sure how things will turn out. Clearly, this is a more compellingview of civilized man than the Greek view of man beholden to an all- Sudoku solution from page 7 852164937 147593862 396827145 973645281 421789356 568312479 284956713 715238694 639471528 encompassing state. The God of the Bible, in all His glory and complicatiens and mystery and wreth and loving-kindness and legalisms and threatenng exhortations, is still a Cod that gives man a little spa:e. Space to dissent, to try to repair, to mess up, and, yes, even to show God a thing or two. While the authority in Greek philosophy is a state, the authority in Hebrew scripture is a state of being. Thus, from the biblical story of Cain and Abel, we can draw a more complex and refinedview of man's relation- ship to authority. Hazony says the Bible is full of such "big ideas," ideas that can enrich not just the world of philoso- phy, but other academic areas, among them political theory, sociology and psychology. In essence, Hazony is on a mission to put the greatest book on earth at the heart of academic study. He knows the obstacles--the Bible has suffered from the stigma associated with religion in general: blind faith, supernat- ural stories, strict obedience, fanaticism and the absence of intellectual rigor. But he's undaunted. You might say Hazony is a mod- ern-day Jerusalem shepherd who is challenging author- ity--and has no idea how things will turn out. David Suissa is president of TRIBE Media Corp.Jewish Journal and can be reached at davids@jewish Tracy Friend (age 41) has lost 18% body fat, 33 lbs. and a total of 24.75 inches! 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