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May 19, 2017

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 19, 2017 0 @ mlrers amon Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images FBI Director James Comey preparing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, May 3, 2017. By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)-- "You make us better," James Comey told the Anti-Defama- tion League in his final public speech as FBI director. Judging from the applause in the conference room at the venerable Mayflower Hotel here, the feeling was mutual. Mired in investigations of the scandals of 2016 (Hillary Clinton's relationshipwith her email server) and 2017 (Don- ald Trump's relationship with Russia), not a lot of love ended up being lost between the FBI director and either party. Democrats called for Com- ey's firing last year when a week and a half before the election he reopened the Clinton case because ofemails found on the laptop of former congressman Anthony Weiner in an unrelated case. President Donald Trump, who repeatedly praised the FBI director as a candidate, fired Comey on Tuesday, ostensibly because Comey treated Clinton unfairly last July--he excoriated her for her email habits in a news con- ference, but recommended against legal action. The firing was drawing at- tention for its timing: Comey is delving into ties between the Trump campaign and transition officials who may have had ties to Russia. Among the folks whose business it is to keep Jews safe--like those gathered Monday in the Mayflower for the ADL's leadership sum- mit--admiration for Comey was fairly unequivocal. To a degree greater than most of his predecessors, he made the Jewish story central to the FBI mission. Comey required all FBI staffers to undergo a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Good people helped to murder millions. And that's the most frightening lesson of all," he told a museum dinner in 2015. "That is why I send our agents and our analysts to the museum. I want them to stare at us and realize our capacity for rationalization and moral surrender." Comey, already known as a persuasive speaker, was especially adept at under- standing what moved Jewish Americans. In his ADL speech this week, he recalled meeting a man who was not far from the scene when a gunman opened fire last June at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. "My name is Menachem Green and I'm Jewish," Comey quoted the man as saying, pronouncing Menachem im- peccably, and went on to say that Green was pleased to tell him that he ran toward the shooting alongside a police of- ricer he learned was a Muslim. "We were Jew and Muslim and Christian and white and black and Latino running to help people we didn't know," Comey recalled Green saying. Comey also noted the "Muslim activists who raised over $100,000 to repair Jewish headstones in St. Louis and Philadelphia--that makes us better." The now former FBI chief also embraced one oftheADL's signature issues, improving reporting of hate crimes by local authorities. "We must do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our country so we can stop it," he said. Just a week earlier, Comey was due to receive a recogni- tion award from the Secure Community Network, the security affiliate of the Jewish Federations of NorthAmerica. Paul Goldenberg, the SCN director, said Comeywas to be recognized for his work with the community in tracking down the perpetrator of doz- ens of bomb hoaxes on JCCs and other Jewish institutions. "Director Comey put in extraordinary resources and showed tremendous com- mitment to the American Jewish community," Gold- enberg said, noting that the FBI had deployed agents to Jewish communities across the states. Comey could not personally accept the recognition, and SCN delivered it to asurrogate, because Comeywas on the Hill testifying to the Senate about how he handled the email and Russia scandals. In his testimony, he noted one of the FBI triumphs of recent months as a defense of the agency--helping to solve the JCC bomb threats. "Children frightened, old people frightened, terrifying threats of bombs at Jewish in- stitutions, especially the Jew- ish community centers--the entire FBI surged in response to that threat," Comey said in his opening remarks Wednes- day to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In March, an Israeli-Ameri- can teen was arrested in Israel on suspicion of calling in more than 100 bomb threats. Last month, the U.S. Justice De- partment charged the teen, Michael Kadar, with making threatening calls to JCCs in Florida, conveying false in- formation to the police and cyberstalking. "Working across all pro- grams, all divisions, our technical wizards, using our vital international presence and using our partnerships especially with the Israeli national police, we made that case and the Israelis locked up the person behind those threats and stopped the ter- rifying plague against the Jewish community centers," Comey said. Comey may be gone, but the shock among Democrats-- and some congressional Re- publicans--at his departure means his memory is unlikely to fade anytime soon. "We must have a special prosecutor," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the minor- ity leader in the Senate, said in a statement delivered at a briefing for reporters late Tuesday. Schumer said he told Trump in a phone call that firing Comey was a "very big mistake." Trump fired back on Twit- ter, recalling that Schumer had said recently that he did not have confidence in Comey. "Then acts so indignant," Trump said, calling the New York lawmaker"Cryin' Chuck Schumer." Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House of Representa- tives Intelligence Committee, which is also probing the Trump campaign's Russiaties, said there was no contradic- tion between being appalled at Comey's handling of the Clinton case and at his firing. Schiff noted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from the Russia investigation because he had metwith a Russian dip- lomat during the transition, had signed off on the firing. "The decision by apresident whose campaign associates are under investigation by the FBI for collusion with Russia to fire the man overseeing that investigation, upon the recommendation of an attor- ney general who has recused himself from that investiga- tion, raises profound ques- tions about whether the White House is brazenly interfering in a criminal matter," he said. 0 By Ben Sales NEW YORK (JTA)--Ten days before Donald Trump was inaugurated, Israeli Jus- tice Minister Ayelet Shaked visited the Jewish settlement in Hebron. A community of several hundred ensconced in a city of 150,000 Palestinians, He- bron's Jewish residents are considered to be among the By Ben Cohen An Israeli veterans orga- nization has released a hard- hitting new video attacking Breaking the Silence--an Israeli NGO that publishes what it says are the anony- mous testimonies of Israeli soldiers who participated in abuses against Palestinians-- for "lying" about an incident in which a Palestinian prisoner was allegedly beaten uncon- scious. The group, Reservists on Duty, said that the original Hebrew version of the video had garnered one million views, triggering their deci- most extremist and contro- versial Israeli settlers. Shaked, 41, wearing black jeans and a loose fleece, had come to support them. "No more excuses--in 10 days we need to keep build- ing in Hebron!" she wrote on Facebook, referring to Trump's swearing-in. "We need to build again, to develop Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Because this is our tell sion to release it in English as well. "Organizations promoting BDS such as Students for Justice for Palestine use testi- monies provided by Breaking the Silence to further their agenda of demonizing Israel and attempting to curtail Is- rael's right to defend itself from murderous terror," said Reservists on Duty Executive Director Amit Deri. The video focuses on the claim of a Breaking the Si- lence activist, Dean Issacha- roff, who claimed at a protest rally that he was compelled by his commanding officer to tie up and beat a Palestinian home. This is our right." Like other opponents of a Palestinian state, Shaked cheered Trump's victory in November, viewing it as an opportunity to discard the United States' axiomatic support for the two-state so- lution. She had reason to be opti- mistic: The 2016 Republican platform removed any men- tion of a two-state solution. vid prisoner while his soldiers watched. "I grabbed him by the neck and started to knee him in the face and chest until he was bleeding and unconscious," Issacharoff claimed. The soldiers in the video, who servedwith Issacharoffin the army, strenuously deny his version of events. A number of them are filmed looking directly into the camera and telling Issacharoff, "you're a liar." Another soldier asks, "Where do you come up with this stuff?" "Your soldiers trusted you and you spat on them," says another. Trump's advisers on Israel included Orthodox Jews who had opposed Palestinian state- hood. He had also pledged to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in what some viewed as a tacit endorsement of Israeli claims to the city. Six months later, Shaked may have reason to be disap- pointed. Ahead of a planned visit to Israel later this month, Trump has become commit- ted to achieving what he has called "the ultimate deal." He dispatched his negotia- tor, Jason Greenblatt, to the region for apparently sympa- thetic talks with all sides. The president called it "an honor" to meet last week with his Palestinian Authority coun- terpart, MahmoudAbbas, who the pro-Israel right insists continues to incite Palestin- ians against Israel and pays salaries to terrorists and their families. And that embassy move? It has yet to happen. But Shaked's hope is not yet lost. Becausewhatever Trump says, she doesn't believe a peace deal is possible. "I think we're in the midst of a historic opportunity, that there's an administration that really loves Israel," Shaked told JTA in an interview Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked casting her vote in preliminary parlia- mentary elections in Jeru- salem, April 27, 2017. Sunday at The Jerusalem Post Conference here. "I believe that when they study the is- sue deeply and really, really see what's happening, they'll see that the gaps are too wide. And if they understand that, I think they'll really be partners in thinking outside the box about other solutions." Shaked is a rising star in Israeli politics. She entered Knesset in 2013 as a bridge builder, a secular woman from a posh neighborhood of northern Tel Aviv represent- ing Jewish Home, a religious Zionist, pro-settler party. But living in Israel's liberal mecca hasn't pushed Shaked to the left: Along with oppos- ing Palestinian statehood, she is opposed to letting Af- rican asylum seekers stay in the country, supported a bill to define Israel as the nation- state of the Jews and backed a measure requiring (largely left-wing) nongovernmental organizations to declare foreign government funding. She won Jewish Home's internal primary ahead of the 2015 elections, placing her in the No. 2 spot behind Naf- tali Bennett, the party leader. Later that year she was made the justice minister shortly before her 39th birthday--the youngest woman ever in the position. The post makes her the head of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which advances orblocks bills. She is also the only woman on the security cabinet, which votes on military action. Appearing at events like Sunday's conference, in front of an American Jewish audi- ence, is a longstandingway for up-and-coming Israeli politi- cians to raise their profiles. But though Shaked offers the usual platitudes about Shakedon page 15A