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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 31, 2013 Haredi draft debate spurs Lapid threat to bring down government JERUSALEM (JTA)-- Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid threatened to bring down the Israeli govern- ment if a bill requiring the enlistment of haredi Orthodox men does not include imprisonment for avoiding conscription. Lapid, who serves as fi- nance minister, made the threat on Monday during a party meeting follow- ing marathon talks the previous night of the Peri Committee, also known as the Knesset Committee for Promoting Equal Share of the Burden. The committee became deadlocked over a dis- agreement between its chairman, Science and Technology Minister Yaa- kov Peri, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon over whether to imprison haredim who dodge the draft. Ya'alon said the final decision should be left in the hands of the defense minister. In a Facebook post on Monday, Lapid wrote, "We will not sit in a government not willing to move on the issue of an equal share of burden. There is an historic opportunity to right an historic wrong, a bleed- ing wound in the heart of Israeli society. Whoever is out to compromise this op- portunity in order to make political gains undercuts Israel, Zionism, the IDF and every young Israeli who has ever entered an induction center." On Sunday night, the committee decided to extend the service of na- tional religious soldiers - at hesder yeshivas, which combine military service and religious studies, from 16 to 17 months instead of the originally suggested 24 months. The panel rejected a Yisrael Beiteinu party pro- Wikipedia Yair Lapid posal requiring the con- scription of Israeli Arabs. The Peri Committee was set up last year and charged with integrating the haredi Orthodox community into Israel's military after Is- rael's Supreme Court ruled in February 2012 that the Tal Law, which had allowed haredi men to defer army service, was unconstitu- tional. Peres, Abbas call for peace at World Economic Forum JERUSALEM (JTA)--Is- raeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mah- moud Abbas called for peace at the World Eco- nomic Forum in Jordan. Peres in his address Sunday evening said, "I am here to express the hope and desire of the Israeli people to bring an end to the conflict and a begin- ning to a peaceful new age. I hope that this forum will voice a timely call against skepticism. I pray that it will allow for tomorrow's horizon to shine bright--a horizon that will illumi- nate the fruits of freedom, science and progress." Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking earlier in the day, said his people want peace, and that it only be achieved with the creation of an independent Palestinian state. He said young Pal- estinians had lost hope for a two-state solution. "We want to achieve the two-state solution. Two states that will live side by side in peace," he said, adding, "The opportunity is still there for making this peace. Come, let this make this peace a reality achieved on the ground, so that our current and future generations would reap its benefits." Abbas said the P.A. would not agree to a resolution that calls for temporary borders, saying it would prolong the conflict. He thanked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts to restart the peace process. In his speech to the fo- rum, Kerry called on Israel and the Palestinians to continue the peace process through to the end, asking: "Do we want to live with a permanent intifada?" Kerry also announced the possible formation of a $4 billion private economic plan to help expand the Palestinian economy. Peres and King Abdullah II of Jordan in a meeting earlier in the day on the forum sidelines discussed ways to revive peace nego- tiations in the region and how to overcome obstacles facing the peace process. They agreed that a two- state solution is the only viable solution to end the conflict. Chief Palestinian nego- tiator Saeb Erekat called on Peres to convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netan- yahu to make peace with the Palestinians based on the pre-1967 borders. Israelis say they were verbally attacked at Ber- lin Beyonce concert BERLIN (JTA)--An Is- raeli soldier said he was among 10 young Israelis who were subjected to an anti-Semitic verbal attack before a Beyonce concert in Berlin. The soldier, Nathanel Zerad, told JTA that the incident last weekat the 02 World Stadium left him and his friends fearful. Spokespeople for the Berlin police and the concert organizer, Go-On Promotion, said no inci- dent had been reported. The incident was first re- ported in the Israel Hayom newspaper. Zerad said the Israelis had come to Berlin for a long weekend, which started with the Beyonce concert on May 23. Stand- ing at the head of the line to enter the venue, Zerad said the Israelis were ver- bally attacked by a group of about 50 Germans who wanted to move ahead of them. "Some of them noticed that we were speaking Hebrew," Zerad told JTA. "One of them said, 'You stink, you should go back to Israel.' A girl said, 'You guys smell so bad. Why didn't he die in the Holo- caust?' " The young Germans be- gan to shout at the Israelis to "go, go, go," he said. They accused the Israelis of pushing, "which was not true because we were first in line. We had no need to push. We were there already. "So they started push- ing us; they said 'You are Jewish, go back to Israel, we wish that the Holocaust would succeed so you all die,'" Zerad recalled. "One guy came up to me and said, 'Don't mess with my girls, I will hurt you,' and things like that." Zerad said the Israe- lis reported the incident immediately to nearby security personnel, "But the security guy believed the Germans; he said, 'You are 10 and they are 50," and "The Germans told us that you are pushing and if you continue we will send yOU out.'" The Israeli concert-goers moved back in the line to defuse the situation, the soldier said. London family robbed of $30,000 in Judaica while sleeping (JTA)--Judaica arti- facts worth approximately $30,000 were stolen from a Jewish family in northern London. Unidentified burglars took menorahs, a seder plate and silver cups, among other items, from the Palmer family home in Edgware in a nighttime robbery while four family members were asleep, The Jewish Chronicle reported. Howard Palmer said the items were "totally irreplaceable." Two of his five children were at home during the robbery. In addition to the Juda- ica, an iPod and computer also were stolen. Hackney police said the robbers gained entry through a patio door, which had been locked but was taken off its runner. L.A. day schooler an 'awesome' prom date, supermodel Agdal tweets (JTA)--Jake Davidson, a Jewish day school student from Los Angeles, attended his senior prom with a supermodel--just not the one he anticipated. Davidson escorted Dan- ish Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Nina Ag- dal to his senior prom at Milken Community High School in Bel Air, Calif., on May 23. "Had such a great prom night. Thank you jakeda- vidson23 for being an awe- some date!" Agdal tweeted after their prom date. Davidson had asked Kate Upton to accompany him to his prom via a YouTube videoreleased in March that garnered more than 1 million hits. Upton told him she would "love to go" but would have to check her calendar; she later proved to be too busy to attend. Finding out that Upton was standing up David- son, Agdal called the teen and offered to step in, his mother told The San Ber- nardino Sun. Palestinian film wins Cannes prize JERUSALEM (JTA)--A film funded by the Pales- tinian Authority won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. "Omar," directed by Pal- estinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, was filmed in the West Bank and presents Israel and its military in a negative light. It tells the story of three Palestinian childhood friends. The Jury Prize is consid- ered the third most presti- gious award at the festival, which closed Sunday. Cukierman, former CRIF chief, returning to lead French Jewry group (JTA)--Roger Cukier- man, the former president of French Jewry's umbrella organization CRIF, was elected again to lead the group. Cukierman, 76, was elected on Sunday to head the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, the representative body of French Jewry, with 61 percent in the second round of General Assembly voting. He served as the CRIF president from 2001 to 2007 before being suc- ceeded by Richard Pras- quier, who has served for the past six years. Following his election, Cukierman said he would work "under the sign of a relentless, constant and determined fight against anti-Semitism and the respect of memory," ac- cording to The Parisian. "I want a CRIF stronger, strictly independent and open to the civil society as a whole," he also said. Cukierman, who is of Polish extraction, holds a doctorate in economics and is currently a vice presi- dent of the World Jewish Congress. He has served in a number of other com- munity posts. CRIF is the umbrella organization for 72 Jewish groups in France. Approxi- mately 500,000 Jews live in France. lmlsm vs. By Rabbi Rachel Esserman The (Vestal, N.Y.) Reporter Self-help books encour- age us to be optimists. If we don't actually try new challenges, we'll never know if it's possible to accomplish something new or different. The writers of these works assume that the re- sults of our actions will be positive. Of course, there is another point of view, one auren J 6_//ef/e Yfer itz Lauren Michelle Her- witz, daughter of Lisa and Lawrence Herwitz of Casselberry, will be called to the Torah as a bat mitz- vah on Saturday, June 8 at Congregation Beth Am. Lauren just finished the seventh grade at South Seminole Middle School, where she played flute in the band and was the graphic designer for the yearbook. Her main pas- sion in life is dancing. She has been dancing for the last six years and especially likes competing. Sharing in the family's simcha are her grandparents from New York and Ft. Meyers; aunts, uncles and cousins from California, Michigan and Tampa. that sees change and hope as dangerous. This idea can be found in a philosophy offered by a character in Shalom Auslander's latest novel "Hope: A Tragedy." Auslander makes a profound statement that intrigued me because it was the opposite of what one might expect: It's better to be a pessimist than an optimist, because pessimists don't start wars. If you think about this, it makes a great deal of sense. No one starts a war think- ing they, their family and/ or entire nation was going to be destroyed. One always believes and hopes that their side will be victorious. Yet, one of the funniest parts of Auslander's book (and one that may offend many people) is when the main character's psychia- trist uses a specific example to show why hope and opti- mism are so dangerous: He suggested Hitler's actions prove him the ultimate optimist. Why? Hitler believed that there could be a final solu- tion to his "Jewish problem." But how, the psychia- trist asks, can there be a final solution to anything? Beneath the humor and shock effect of his com- ment is a kind of common sense. We will never be able to cure all the problems of the world and to believe otherwise is unrealistic. In addition, the consequences of our actions can create results far different from our hopes--from the war to end all wars (World War I) that led to greater destruc- tion (World War II and the Holocaust)--to name only one of an endless list. After writing these para- graphs, I stopped working on this column for more than a month because I'd worked myself into a corner. Usually I'm able to find an optimistic spin on even the most pessimistic mate- rial. Yet, it's so difficult to counter Auslander's claim (or, to be more accurate, the character in his novel, since we don't know if the author agrees with his philosophy). Traditional Jewish thought, though, does sug- gest a different approach. For example, in "Pirke Avot" ("The Sayings of Our Fathers"), Rabbi Tarfon notes that while we don't have to complete the task (meaning performing tikun olam, repair of the world), we are not allowed to stop working for it. In simpler terms, al- though there will never be a final solution to poverty or war, we still need to work to eradicate them. No, we can't predict when we will do harm or good, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying. I was then reminded of a conversation that took place last year. A friend and I were discussing an organization I support. She noted itwas unable to com- pletely resolve the problems its clients faced. She was looking for a complete solution for each person; if that wasn't possible, then, for her, the group served no real purpose. I countered that while permanently solving the clients' problems would be wonderful, sometimes it's necessary to be content with what I called "band- aid solutions": You give the help needed now and worry about the future later. For example, it would have been wonderful if every woman who was abused moved on to a new life. Unfortunately, many of them return to their abusers. Yet, without a shelter to protect them at that moment, the result might have been disastrous. And, maybe, next time, they will gain the courage needed to leave the relationship permanently. But until that time comes, a safe space may be the best for which we can hope. And there I used the word so hated by Aus- lander's character: hope. Somehow, we have to find a balance between being overly optimistic and overly pessimistic. Where we draw that line will depend on specific situations and the individuals involved. How much simpler it would be if we could find one solution to all our problems. Yet, Jewish tradition demands we struggle with the issue, even if we find no permanent answer.