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June 8, 2012

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FLORIDA Year 36, No, JEWISH NEWS June 8, 2012 18 Sivan 5772 52 Pages Editorials ................................ 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ................................. 6A Synagogue Directory ............... 7A B&apos;nai Mitzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A Classified ................................ 2B Orlando, Florida Single Copy 75 Israel decides to fund non- Orthodox Nehal EISherif via CC An Egyptian woman casts her vote at a ballot in the city of al-Mahalla in northern Egypt. Egyptian election promises uncertainty for ties w [th U. S., Israel By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)--The Egyptians stunned even themselves in the vote to elect their next president--and observ- ers are warning that the U.S. and Israel should be ready for continued uncer- tainty in their relations with Egypt. Two finalists emerged following the roller-coaster first round at the polls last month: Mohammed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmed Shafiq, who had been appointed prime minister in 2011 in the final days of the regime of deposed President Hosni Mubarak. Each took less than a quarter of the vote to reach the runoff, with three eliminated candidates splitting most of the remainder. Morsi and Shafiq present strikingly dif- ferent outlooks for Egypt's future: Shafiq is stressing law and order, and at least a partial return to the days of the Mubarak regime. Morsi is promising governance based on Islamic values. The runoff election is set to take place sometime before the end of June. The two finalists--one an erstwhile Mubarak ally, the other a representa- tive of the Islamist movement that was its bitter rival--are expected to make for a polarizing election. For the many Egyptians who supported the revolution against Mubarak but are wary of further empowering the Muslim Brotherhood, the runoff presents a dispiriting choice. But whatever the results of the elec- tion, many observers expect that the country will be getting a government more inclined than its predecessors to play to the Egyptian street--a state of affairs that could lead to rockier relations with the United States and Israel. "The individual result is probably not dispositive to U.S.-Egyptian bilateral relations or relations with Israel," said Michael Wahid Hanna, a fellow at the Century Foundation, a think tank based in New York. "Those relations are going Election on page 18A Bc00ck to 'kishkes': Obama defends his Isra00;,00 commitments, touts his Jewish ties By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)--The so-called "kishkes issue"-- what does President Obama, deep down, really feel about Is- rael-is now being addressed at the highest level by Obama himself. Obama dropped in on a N --- eq e,3 E" .T.- 0 - [..< White House meeting last Tuesday of lay and rabbinical leaders of the Conservative Judaism and Jack Lew, the president's chief of staff. During his 20 minutes at the hourlong meeting, Obama emphasized his affection for Judaism and Israel, and like Vice President Joe Biden last week in a similar meeting with organizational leaders, his frustration with percep- tions that he is cool toward the Jewish state. The tone, coupled with blitzes of Jewish communi- ties by Democratic leaders in recent months, reinforces the impression that the party's leadership is unsettled by Republican inroads into what for decades has been a Demo- cratic base constituency. The presidential visit was "informal," although the group of Jewish leaders knew a drop-by was likely. So when Obama walked into the Roosevelt Room, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical As- sembly, was ready with the traditional blessing for heads of state. The account of what hap- The White House President Obama, shown speaking at a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month on May 31, told Conservative Jewish leaders the previous day that he probably knew more about Judaism than any other president. pened next is based on de- tailed notes by a person in attendance and confirmed by broader descriptions by others n attendance. Obama opened by describ- ing what he said was the "overlap" between his priori- ties and those of the Jewish community, both domesti- cally and abroad. His first question was from Arnold Eisen, the chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, who asked about the role of religious leaders in the public sphere. Obama responded by speak- ing about the need to be part of a community, and he paraphrased a Talmudic injunction about Jews being responsible for one another, applying it to Americans. Schonfeld then thanked the president for his efforts to revive the economy, as well as for isolating Iran and initiating U.N. Security Coun- cil condemnation of Syria's bloody repression of regime opponents. She then asked the presi- dent how best to convey hope to Americans. Obama reiterated his thoughts about commu- nity and the obligations of Americans for one another, and described Republicans as seeing government as a negative power that un- fairly distributes wealth Ties on page 18A By Ben Sales NEW YORK (JTA)--Last week's announcement that the Israeli government for the first time will pay the salaries of some non-Orthodox rabbis represents a major victory for the Reform and Conservative movements. But it's a victory more of principle than major practical changes--at least, so far. The Israeli attorney gen- eral's office said May 29 that Reform and Conservative rabbis in some parts of Israel will be recognized as "rabbis of non-Orthodox communities" and will receive wages equal to those of their Orthodox counterparts. For now, the decision ap- plies only to Israel's regional councils--large districts of rural communities--but not Israeli cities. And the non-Orthodox rabbis, unlike their Orthodox colleagues, will have no authority over Jewish law or ceremonies such as marriage or divorce. Rather than being funded by the nation's Religious Services Ministry, they will receive their salaries from the Ministry of Culture and Sport. Even though the decision will not affect most Israeli Reform and Conservative Jews because the vast majority of them live in large metropoli- tan areas such as Jerusalem and metro Tel Aviv, the deci- sion nevertheless opens a door toward full equality with the Orthodox, non-Orthodox Israeli leaders said. "The importance of the de- cision is that it sets the model for the relations between the non-Orthodox movements Miri Gold's Facebook page Miri Gold, an Israeli Re- form rabbi, petitioned the Israeli courts to have the government fund her salary as it does for Orthodox rabbis in the country. and the government," said Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the execu- tive director of Israel's Reform movement. The Reform movement also has a petition in court to give Reform rabbis in cit- ies the same rights of those in regional council areas. According to Kariv, the May 29 decision only gives full- service synagogues with at least 50 affiliated families in regional council areas eligibil- ity for the funding. "There's no reason to adopt this in the regional councils and not in the cities, and the government knows it,; he said. It's not clear when the Is- raeli courts will decide on the Reform movement's petition, but if the petition is accepted, the change would affect vir- Reform on page 18A Mideast scrambles to adapt By Arieh O'Sullivan The Media Line Over 100 million Chinese tourists are expected to be traveling annually by 2020 and one of their preferred destinations is turning out to be the Middle East. Countries in the region are scrambling to meet the boom as the tourism trade moves to get back on its feet after the lull brought on by the turmoil of the Arab Spring. At the recent ATM Dubai Tourism Fair it was an- nounced that just last year some 70 million Chinese went abroad. Tourism pro- fessionals at the conference emphasized the significance of having tourism industry workers with Chinese lan- guage skills, as well as the food and kitchen quality and culture to lure Chinese tourists. Lucy Chuang, manag- ing director of Global Sino said the Chinese outbound market was being helped by countries being given "ap- proved destination" status by Chinese authorities. The coveted status allows Chinese nationals to travel in groups rather than as individuals. The UAE received ap- proved destination status in 2009 and more than 300,000 Chinese visited there the following year, spending $334 million, according to MasterCard survey figures. Chuang said Chinese visi- tors to the UAE have since grown 50 percent annually. Chuang stated a typical Chinese leisure preference Scramble on page 19A IlI!ll!l!!!l!lllll