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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 18, 2018 Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images Gino Bartali in 1954. By Ben Sales JERUSALEM (JTA)--Gino Bartali had already won the Tour de France once and the Giro d'Italia twice when he started taking the most dra- matic bicycle rides of his life. Bartali was an Italian cy- clist who grew up in a Tuscan village and whose champion- ships in the mid-1930s were the pride of the nation--and Benito Mussolini's fascist government. But the admira- tion was not mutual: Bartali refused requests to dedicate his Tour de France champion- ship to the dictator, and later began working to undermine fascism and save its victims. In the early 1940s, Bar- tall worked secretly as a cou- rier for the Italian resistance. Nicknamed the "Iron Man of Tuscany," Bartali was famous for hours-long training rides through the Tuscan Hills, and hewould hide documents in his bicycle frame and ferry them between resistance bases. When the Nazis occupied northern and central Italy in 1943, Bartali began trans- porting fake identity papers for Italian Jews. His efforts earned him the designation of Righteous Among the Na- tions at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, in 2013. And on Wednesday, in a cer- emony at its museum, he was posthumously given honorary Israeli citizenship. "His legend is unique be- cause he used the very same pedals to win many competi- tions, but one [victory] was the most beautiful, the richest, the bravest of all," Gianluigi Benedetti, Italy's ambassador to Israel, said at the ceremony. "The greatest victory that Gino Bartali brought home was the one against evil." The ceremony was part of the lead-up to the Giro d' Italia, one of cycling's three major races along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta de Espana. The Giro takes place mostly in Italy, but is hold- ing its "Big Start," the race's opening three stages, in Israel this year for the first time. The first stage will be dedicated to Bartali's memory. "There is nothing more symbolic than dedicating our participation in the Giro to the man who won the Giro and saved so many," said Ran Margaliot, head of the Israel Cycling Academy team. "We have a special connection to him, a psychic connection, human connection, national connection." Born in 1914, Bartali was a devout Catholic, and was married by Archbishop Elia Dalla Costa of Florence, who also aided in hiding Jews dur- ing the Holocaust, according to a biography provided by Yad Vashem. When Bartali began aiding Jews during the Holocaust, he worked with the Florentine Rabbi Nathan Cassuto, who operated the network of hidden Italian Jews. Cassuto was killed by the Nazis. For a year, Bartali ferried false papers for Jews, enabling them to escape to safe places like Switzerland. He also hid a Jewish family in an apartment he owned in Florence. He would avoid capture by asking police not to touch his bike, which he said was configured specially for his racing. But his activities raised suspicion in 1944 when no races were tak- ing place because of the war and he was arrested. "He was a very generous person," his granddaugh- ter, Gioia Bartali, said in a speech in Italian at the citizenship ceremony. "He saved human life. He was a man of peace." After the war, Bartali re- fused to speak about his activities out of humility, so the exact number of Jews he saved is not known. Years later he told his story privately to a relative of Cassuto, and since then it has been pieced together by survivors and acquaintances. Bartali went on to win the Giro d'Italia in 1946, the first year it was held after World War II. He won the Tour de France in 1948, a dozen years after his first title. He died in 2000. "He did it because he could not accept the injustice that exists in the world," Benedetti said. "He kept his heroic acts a secret for many years because, as Gino Bartali said, 'Good should be done, and not said.'" Giro d'Italia provided flights and lodging to JTA. By Batya Jerenberg World Israel News It was the signature deal of Barack Obama's presidency, and President Trump's dra- matic announcement Tuesday that he was withdrawing from it engendered very sharp reac- tions from both the former president and his secretary of state, John Kerry, who oversaw the negotiations with Iran. Obama reiterated the main argument he made when Congress was debating in 2015 whether to agree to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name of the nuclear accord. "Without the JCPOA, the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East," he said, adding that a nuclear Iran"could embolden an already dangerous regime; threaten our friends with destruction; pose unaccept- able dangers to America's own security; and trigger an arms race in the world's most dangerous region." He also invoked the up- coming US negotiations with North Korea as another reason why the president's decision was "so misguided." "The consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to, risks eroding America's credibility, and puts us at odds with the world's major powers," his statement continued. What Obama left out of his statement is that the JCPOA was an international compact that was entered into by the United States only through an executive agree- ment signed by Obama. It was never a treaty ratified by Congress. The White House deliberately constructed it differently since a treaty needs to be approved by two-thirds of Congress, a hurdle which many believe the JCPOA never could have overcome. Indeed, over 50 senators voted to disapprove the deal the three times they tried, while in the House of Repre- sentatives the various reso- lutions introduced against different parts of the deal were handily won by deal's oppo- nents. However, the require- ment in this case was to get veto-proof and filibuster-proof majorities to kill the accord, and this could not be done. Kerry claims withdrawal hurts Israel Kerry's condemnation of the pullout perhaps surpris- ingly mentioned Israel spe- cifically as being a potential loser from Trump's move, even though Jerusalem has always stood firmly against the accord and praised Trump unstintingly for keeping his campaign promise to get America out of the "horrible deal," as Trump repeatedly called it. "Today's announcement weakens our security, breaks America's word, isolates us from our European allies, puts Israel at greater risk, empowers Iran's hardlin- ers, and reduces our global leverage to address Tehran's misbehavior, while damaging the ability of future Adminis- trations to make international agreements," Kerry said in his statement. Earlier in the week, Trump condemned Kerry for con- ducting "shadow diploma- cy" over recent weeks with both the Iranians and fellow- signatories in Europe to try to preserve the deal, calling his meetings "possibly illegal." Kerry's spokesman rejected the accusation in a written statement. "I think every American would want every voice pos- sible urging Iran to remain in compliance with the nuclear agreement that prevented a war Like America's closest allies, he believes it is impor- tant that the nuclear agree- ment, which took the world years to negotiate, remain effective as countries focus on stability in the region," stated Kerry's spokesman. t a nuclear Iran "could em- bolden an already dangerous regime; threaten our friends with destruction; pose unac- ceptable dangers to America's own security; and trigger an arms race in the world's most dangerous region." He also invoked the up- coming US negotiations with North Korea as another reason why the president's decision was "so misguided." "The consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to, risks eroding America's credibility, and puts us at odds with the world's major powers," his statement continued. What Obama left out of his statement is that the JCPOA was an international compact that was entered into by the United States only through an executive agree- ment signed by Obama. It was never a treaty ratified by Congress. The White House deliberately constructed it differently since a treaty needs to be approved by two-thirds of Congress, a hurdle which many believe the JCPOA never could have overcome. in By Sean Savage (JNS)--Reactions from American Jewish and pro- Israel groups poured in fol- lowing U.S. President Donald Trump's decision on Tuesday afternoon to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. Among mainstream Jew- ish organizations came both strong support and tepid ap- proval for the decision. World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder lauded Trump for his "un- mistakable message to Iran that its threats will not be tolerated." "Iran is a rogue nation ruled by a regime that cannot be trusted to honor its word, and even more so with nuclear capabilities that would enable it to wreak havoc on the world and cause a catastrophic arms race inthe region," said Lauder. B'nai B'rith International also commended Trump on his decision. "B'nai B'rith is encouraged that the president recognized the deal's many weaknesses. We urge our European part- ners to join the United States in pressuring Iran to curb its nuclear activity. The reimposition of sanctions would send a clear message that the existing agreement cannot stand, and an Iran with nuclear weapons will not be tolerated," President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin said in a statement. The Conference of Presi- dents of Major American Jew- ish Organizations said ithopes that Trump's announcement will allow for an agreement "would ensure that Iran never obtains a nuclear-weapons ca- pability that would augment its ability to create mayhem in the region through its support of terrorism." Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg and executive vice chairman/CEO Malcolm Hoenlein added: "We hope that a more comprehensive arrangement with stricter compliance rules, a prohibi- tion against the development of long- and short-range ballistic missiles, any wea- ponization program, and, of course, human-rights viola- tions will become a reality. Sanctions targeting banking and energy sectors of the Iranian economy should be imposed." Similarly, the American Jewish Committee, despite noting its past opposition to the agreement in 2015- which the Jewish group said did not contain provisions on Iran's ballistic-missile development, destabilizing regional behavior, weakness in the inspection regime and dangerous sunset clauses-- said it had hoped to see "the deal 'fixed,' not 'nixed,' at this stage of the game," said AJC CEO David Harris. "We can only hope that to- day's action by the president, significant as it is, will not end the effort to find common ground," said Harris. "The last thing anyone should want is a wedge driven between the U.S. and our European partners, as Iran would inevitably become an unintended beneficiary. And given Iran's current and future threats to regional and global security, that should be an outcome no one in the U.S. or Europe wants." The Anti-Defamation League also took a more measured approach, neither praising or condemning the announcement. "With or without the JCPOA, the administration, Congress and the internation- al community must cooperate to reach an end that all desire: to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, its aggres- sive militarism across the re- gion, its direct threats against Israel and other U.S. regional allies, and its unaccept- able, systemic human-rights violations against ethnic and religious minorities, women, LGBTQ, activists and other groups inside Iran," said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. In 2015, the ADL expressed "deep reservations" about the Iranian nuclear deal, calling its shortcomings "too great a risk to the U.S. and for our critical allies like Israel." However, Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of left-wing "pro- Israel, pro-peace" group J Street, came out squarely op- posed to Trump's announce- ment."It's avery sad day when the United States abdicates leadership, reneges on its word and walks away from a deal that has successfully blocked all of Iran's pathways to a nuclear bomb." Orthodox Jewish groups voiced support for Trump's decision, with the National Council of Young Israel call- ing it "historic and heroic," while the Orthodox Union said it will "support the president's coming actions to bring true and lasting security to the Middle East and beyond." Christians United for Israel, with more than 4 million members and purportedly the largest pro-Israel group in the United States, also applauded the decision. "This deal was flawed from the beginning, and largely backed by those far more focused on securing an agreement than preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," said CUFI founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee. "No agreement based on Iran's lies and the Obama Administration's half-truths was going to withstand the test of time."