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May 18, 2018

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 18, 2018 American contributors to the U.S.-Israel relationshiD JNS is proud to partner with the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C to cel- ebrate 70 of the greatest American contributors to the U.S.-Israel relationship in the 70 days leading up to the State of Israel's 70th anniversary. (Embassy of Israel in Wash- ington, D.C. via JNS)--The NewYorkTimes iswell-known for its criticism of Israel, which is what makes the work of A.M. ("Abe") Rosenthal (1922-2006) and William Safire (1929-2009) stand out all the more. When A.M. Rosenthal ar- rived at The New York Times in the 1950s, Jewish report- ers were instructed not to use their first names if these were "too Jewish." Its overseas bureaus deliberately limited the number of their Jewish writers, and the paper at times worried about appearing too partial to Jews. This changed whenA.M. Rosenthal became managing editor in 1969, and in his subsequent positions as an executive editor and columnist. A determined truth-teller, Rosenthal was unashamed about his Juda- ism and unapologetic in his support for Israel. Born in Canada and raised in a secular family in the Bronx, Rosenthal showed his Jewish consciousness with his first famous article, which appeared in 1958: "There Is No News from Auschwitz." The article exposed readers to the horror of a visit to the death camp. Over the decades, Rosen- thalwas a lucid and persuasive pro-Israel voice at The New York Times. In 1999, he pre- sciently saw that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was not committed to peace. Whatev- er his public pronouncements, Arafat, stated Rosenthal, remained bent on "Israel's defeat or the desiccation of its national will." His support for Israel never ran dry until his final column. Rosenthal's pro-Israel stance helped pave the way for his Pulitzer Prize-winning colleague William Satire, the renowned language and opinion columnist who came to the paper after leaving the Nixon administration in 1973. Possessing a razor-sharp pen, Safire could humble the mightiest for any political or linguistic slip. Yet he could also defend and praise, and he frequently did so in support of the Jewish state. Indeed, a consistent theme of his columns was the danger that terrorism posed to both America and Israel. On numerous occasions, Safire stridently called on Pales- tinian leaders to renounce violence and turn to building their society. Safire enjoyed a decades- long friendship with late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and in many inter- views with him, Safire al- lowed Sharon's opinions on Alamy Stock Photo, Richard Ellis; Associated Press William Safire (1) and A.M. ("Abe") Rosenthal. strategic matters to gain a fair hearing in the most im- portant international venue. The Safire-Sharon friendship proved especially vital during the years of Second Intifada (2000-05), when Safire, often speaking with Sharon, con- veyed the grave threat that Israel faced and the necessity of its self-defense. These two fixtures at the "Grey Lady'--America's most prestigious newspaper--con- sistently made the case that justice was on Israel's side. By Ben Sales NEW YORK (JTA)--If you're an Orthodox Jew with a mortgage from Quicken Loans, you might be in trouble. Agudath Israel of America, a major haredi Orthodox orga- nization, issued a Jewish legal ruling last month prohibiting Jews from taking out loans from the company because it is majority-owned by Jews. Quicken Loans, which claims to be America's largest mort- gage lender, also owns Rocket Mortgage, the online mort- gage agency. Jewish law, known as hala- cha, forbids Jews from charg- ing interest to other Jews. So Jews are allowed to own mort- gage agencies and lend to non- Jewish customers but they are not allowed to sell fellow Jews a 30-year fixed rate (or anything else). Likewise, if you're a new Jewish homeowner, halacha says you are not allowed to take out a mortgage with a Jewish-owned company. The same also goes for other kinds of loans. "Prominent leading hala- chic authorities have issued a [ruling] that any Jew who obtains a loan with inter- est from QL or any of its subsidiaries is in danger of transgressing the prohibition of Ribbis D'oraisa," said the Agudath Israel ruling, using a Hebrew term for the bibli- cal commandment against interest. So what do Jews do if they want to lend each other money--say, in Israel, where most businesses are owned by Jews? There is a way out. In the Middle Ages, rab- bis devised a contract called a "heter iska," or business permit, that technically trans- forms the loan into a co- investment. Instead of being a lender and a borrower, the two parties are now "business partners," where one supplies the capital and the other uses it as they see fit. Agudath Israel says Jews can keep using Quicken Loans--that is, if they sign a heter iska. On Monday, Quicken re- sponded to a query saying it was open to the idea. "Over the next 30 days, Quicken Loans will assemble a committee to quickly and efficiently dive into the is- sue of 'Heter Iska,' and once and for all attempt to find a solution that the observant Jewish community, as well as our legal and capital mar- kets team, finds acceptable. I am confident that this can and will be achieved," said a statement attributed to Dan Gilbert, chairman of Rock Holdings, Quicken's parent company. Gilbert also owns several sports franchises, including the Cleveland Cavaliers. Agudath Israel is resolute on the issue: no heter iska, no Quicken Loans mortgage. And if you're an Orthodox Jewwith an existing Quicken Loans mortgage? Too bad. You need to dissolve it and start over. "The rabbis of the Confer- ence felt an obligation to let the public know that loans can only be taken out from the company with a valid hetter iska," Agudath Israel's spokesman, Rabbi Avi Shafran, wrote in an email to JTA. "Existing loans should be dissolv- able and re-created within a hetter iska framework to permit them." Rabbi Mordechai Frankel, director of the Institute of Halacha at Star-K, a kosher certification agency, said some smaller Jewish-owned banks are familiar with using the heter iska. "There are small banks that are Jewish-owned that do have the heter iska," he said. "If the person lives in an area with a large concentration of Orthodox people, the bank will become comfortable with the concept and become more open to it." Frankel doesn't know whether Quicken would agree to the contract. But if not, he said, there are always the big banks--which are all, as far as he knows, kosher to lend money. From page IA see who could offer the most expansive plaudits as their constituents posted memes on social media describing the president in almost mes- sianic terms. Addressing the dedication ceremonyviavideo, President Donald Trump asserted that "for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious, the plain reality that Israel's capi- tal is Jerusalem." He bragged that "on my direction, the United States finally and of- ficially recognized Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel." Likely responding to Pal- estinian assertions that such recognition hampers efforts at a negotiated settlement to the conflict, Trump asserted that the United States was "com- mitted to facilitating a lasting peace agreement" and to the maintenance of the status quo on the Temple Mount. Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu thanked his American counterpart effusively, saying that Israel had "no better friends in the world" and that "by recogniz- ing history" Trump had "made history." "Thank you, President Trump for having the cour- age to keep your promises," he continued. "Thank you for making the alliance between Israel and America stronger than ever." Despite theviolence accom- panying the embassy move, Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner told attendees at the ceremony that "previ- ously unimaginable alliances are emerging" and that the U.S. would support a peace agreement in which "both sides can get more than they give." Lastweek, SaudiArabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain welcomed Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal and re- impose sanctions on Tehran. Kushner also laid the blame for the fighting in Gaza squarely on the Palestinians, stating that "those provok- ing violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution." Likewise, Netanyahu, who juxtaposed Trump's Embassy decision with the Balfour Declaration promising British support for a Jewish home- land, called Monday a "great day for peace." "The truth and peace are interconnected. A peace built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities and the truth is that Jerusalem will always be the capital of the Jewish state," he said "May the truth advance a lasting peace between us and our neighbors." Both administration fig- ures and Israeli politicians heaped praise on the presi- dent in response to the era- bassy move. At a reception organized by the Orthodox Union at Jerusalem's Waldorf Astoria hotel on Monday morning, former Sen. Jo- seph Lieberman, I-Conn one of the architects of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, told JTA that it had been "very frustrating and disappointing every time a president of the United States suspended the implementa- tion of that act" and that he was "thrilled" by Trump's decision. The Jerusalem Embassy Act recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and called for the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but Trump's predecessors declined to implement it, cit- ing foreign policy concerns. Asked if he believed that Trump's involvement would turn Israel into a partisan issue, Lieberman replied that his bill had been bi-partisan and "support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is broadly supported by members of both parties." Others present were un- restrained in their praise. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman extolled the president's "courage, vision, strength and moral clarity" The O.U.'s Mark Bane called Trump "God's messenger on this important day." Citing his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called Trump the "the [Winston] Churchill of the 21st century." This rhetoric was off-put- ting to some attendees, who decried what they saw as excessive. While there was no question that the embassy move was significant, "the fo- cus needs to be on the essence and notaboutTrump," opposi- tion MK PninaTamano-Shata of Yesh Atid told JTA. "To compare him to Churchill or to Balfour is a little exaggerated. The state of Israel and the people of Israel know that our capital is Jerusalem and the transfer of the Embassy is [correct] but let's take things in proportion. I am for our nation celebrating but we also need to be care- ful that we don't excessively praise in an exaggerated sense of euphoria and not to raise up a man in an exaggerated way," she said. Asked about how Israe- li leaders were addressing Trump, Dan Shapiro, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel under President Barack Obama, told JTA that it was understandable that they were engaging in "hyperbole" because "it's become accepted in international circles that the way to gain favor with President Trump is to engage in excessive flattery." Shapiro said he supported the embassy move but har- bored reservations about how it was implemented. He explained that Israel was do- ing "everything possible to have the best possible rela- tion with the president of the United States" and that this was "completely legitimate." However, he cautioned, "it would be advisable to bear in mind the significant number of Americans deeply who are alienated from this president on other issues" and to work on "maintaining the historic bi-partisan nature of this re- lationship." MK Ayman Odeh, an Arab Israeli who heads the Knes- set's Joint List, linked the kill- ing of Gaza protesters--who are engaged in a six-week series of demonstrations to coincide with Israel's 70th anniversary celebrations--to the embassy dedication. "The opening of the Ameri- can embassy in Jerusalem and its grand ceremony is part of the same policy that has claimed the lives of dozens of Gazans," Odeh said in a state- ment. "Today, there is nothing to celebrate. The opening of the embassy is yet another provocative step that signals the destruction of the notion of peace. The Netanyahu- Trump alliance continues to deepen the conflict." Meanwhile, in East Jerusa- lem, the mood was subdued. Near the Damascus Gate, tourists and Arab shoppers mingled, watched by dozens of police officers clad in body armor and carrying automatic weapons. Local residents, while unhappy with the American decision, seemed apathetic in the face of a real- ity they couldn't change. Inside the Old City's Arab market, a man who identified himself only as Yassir sat in his dress shop, watching news footage from Gaza. "Trump is playing with fire," he said. "There could be war all over. The people of Gaza don't care if they die." Asked why there wasn't any significant unrest in East Jerusalem, Yassir replied resignedly that it was "very difficult living directly with the Israelis" and that any young man who went out in the street would end up with a police record that would follow him for life. "It's different in Gaza, the authorities support the pro- tests," he said. In a nearby restaurant, a man named Tawfik expressed similarly fatalistic attitude, asserting that the Israelis had Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states in their pockets. Trump, he said, was "more Jewish than the Jews." The Palestinians "have to be smart," he continued, claim- ing that if Jerusalem residents took to the streets "the Jews will kill us and say we are against peace." "I'm not ready for my son to go out and die," he said.