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June 8, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 8, 2012 PAGE 19A Scramble From page 1A was a three-night package with a different quality ho- tel for each night and she urged the region to promote this tiered concept to the market, particularly dur- ing the off-peak summer season. Arab Spring unrest took a heavy toll on Middle Eastern tourism last year as unrest erupted in major regional tourism desti- nations like Tunisia and Egypt as well as Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. While international tourist arrivals grew by 4 percent worldwide in 2011, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region they dropped 8.8 percent, with the worst-hit countries re- porting double-digit drops, Sacred according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Egypt&apos;s Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdul Noor said last week that airport fees would be cut and new tourism projects such as eco-tourism were being launched to lure Chinese, as well as Indians, Russians and Japanese. In Israel, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of Chinese tourists. Last year alone saw a 29 percent increase over the previous year. While that number was just 17,157 out of over 3 mil- lion incoming tourists to Israel, it is growing. In the first quarter of this year, 6,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel, an increase of 14 percent over last year, Israel's Tourism Ministry figures show. "Two years ago we opened an office in Beijing where all it is doing is promoting Israel as a destination," Pini Shani the head of the Overseas Department at Israel's Tourism Ministry told The Media Line. Shani said guides were being trained who spoke to the Chinese in their own language. He said hotels and airport staff were also briefed on how to accom- modate and host the Far East visitors. "It is natural that the Chinese will start to travel. The income in China is growing. They see what is happening in the West and their curiosity is growing to see the outside world," Shani said. The UNWTO has predict- ed that within the next five years China, with a popula- tion of some 1.3 billion, will be the number one country in terms of both sending and receiving tourists. Professionals at the conference in Dubai said that desert safaris and shopping were priorities with designer goods high on the shopping list of the brand-conscious Chinese travelers. They added that while twin-bedded rooms were the number one request, an essential in that room was a kettle to facilitate the preparation of hot instant noodles or rice. With nearly 485 million Chinese with access to the Internet, they also sug- gested that effective use of social media and the In- ternet was essential to tap into the potential Chinese tourist market. Dubai announced on May 28 that it would also be issuing multiple entry visas for Chinese and other tourists who were arriving by cruise ship, thus reduc- ing fees and encouraging more arrivals. Sean Staunton, vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free, said that while Chi- nese travelers made up less than 4 percent of the total numbers of visitors, they accounted for 18 percent of the duty-free company's annual turnover of $1.46 billion. This included 42 percent of watch sales, 32 percent of cosmetics and 20 percent of sunglasses. The China Tourism Acad- emy said they expected Chi- nese will spend as much as $80 billion abroad this year. This is amazing consider- ing that outbound Chinese tourists were virtually non- existent just two decades ago. Thanks to their mas- sive population and rising incomes the number of Chinese traveling abroad is expected to continue its rise. While the bulk of Chinese tourism is headed to the Far East, the Middle East is expected to attract quite a few. "Israel can offer many things that can't be found elsewhere," Shani said, cit- ing the Dead Sea, Christian holy sites and a swank Tel Aviv. "The Chinese are also very curious of the Jewish brain and can find many ex- amples of it in Israel and we know that their satisfaction rate is very high for tourists that come from China to Israel," Shani said. "China is one of the sources (f growth of tourism to Isra 1 and we will see the results in the coming years." From page 2A spective people's commitment and sense of holiness about their lands could be at risk. "We don't own the land," Dennis said. "It's a Western concept of marking the land and water. It becomes a property. In the future we could lose sight of the sacred- ness of the land." "How do we keep the fire burning?" he asked. "Is something inherently holy? Only if a community takes it as such," said Rosen- feld. "Fifty-nine percent of American Jews have not been to Israel." Historically, Navajos and Jews have long had some ties. In the 19th century, Solo- mon Bibo, a Jewish immigrant from Poland and New Mexico trader, "was the only white man ever to be the chief of a Navajo pueblo," Bronitsky said. And before the event Broni- tsky, standing before a photo display of Miss Navajo contest winners, pointed to the photo of the secondwinner, in 1954- 55, Ida Gaff Organick. "She was married to a Jew- ish doctor," he said. Bronitsky believes it was unlikely that the Navajo had their own term for Jew. Now they do. Touring Eastern Europewith aNavajo choral group, Bronitsky had worn his kippah during side trips to Holocaust memorials. At the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, awaiting the flight home, he wondered if the singers could come up with a word for a Jew. "Bich'ah yazhi dineh'eh," was the phrase one of them coined, "people who wear little hats," he recalled during the Shabbat discussion. Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. Contact him at edmojace@ Test From page 4A markets and possibilities for partnerships and business in addressing the needs of the world's poorest nations. Avraham Infeld, a seasoned professional who has headed Hillel International and sev- eral foundations and serves as a mentor for Reut, empha- sized that the Tikkun Olam program is "a 'must have,' not a 'nice to have' plan" in terms of moral imperatives to alleviate human suffering and in shifting the current Jewish discourse from "an ethos of victimization and isolation" to one "embracing empow- erment and engagement," according to the proposal. Still, the initiators of the plan recognize that at best, it will take two to three years to get it off the ground. Gidi Grinstein, the founder and president of Reut, said the immediate goal was to intro- duce the concept and discuss how to have a high-level con- versation in the Jewish com- munity about implementing it. Then comes what he called "the long journey of branding the vision" through present- ing the proposal to groups and individuals in large and small forums, and identifying allies and partners for the ac- tion phase. Anti-BDS Campaign A Model In an interview this week Grinstein pointed to a Reut success story in introducing a major new way of thinking to the Jewish community and having it accepted on a large-scale level: his group's effort several years ago to come up with a systemic campaign to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by identifying key problem areas, creating a strategy, explaining it far and wide until important groups un- derstood and bought into the plan, and then implementing it through diverse partner- ships. In the BDS case Reut worked with a number of Jewish organizations in London and San Francisco, where the problem was par- ticularly potent, as well as the government of Israel and Abuse From page 5A apology that the ideology of da'at Torah, which accords great rabbis sole authority over communal decisions, can make the problem of abuse worse: Laypeople can consult rabbis for advice if they suspect abuse, but the rabbis are unqualified to offer such advice. Psychologist and activ- ist David Mandel has co- edited, together with Yeshiva University professor David Pelcovitz, "Breaking the Silence: Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community" (Ktav). Aimed more at edu- cational and mental health professionals, this book manages to be accessible without losing its clinical and academic value. Its 12 chapters analyze interviews with abuse victims; suggest ways in which abuse can be prevented before it occurs; debunk the suggestion that there is a halachaic problem with reporting abuse; and offer analysis of clinical treatments for perpetrators. One argument is particu- larly startling: It recommends that when a suspected abuser cannot be convicted and imprisoned, the Orthodox community should not expel the suspect, lest he simply continue his predatory be- havior elsewhere. Instead, the community should keep him within its confines and away from children, and maintain a close watch. But the most surprising of these recent books, and perhaps the most important in the long term, is addressed to kids themselves. The Haredi publishing house ArtScroll- Mesorah has teamed up with Agudath Israel to produce a new children's book called "Let's Stay Safe." Each page presents an attractive, col- orful illustration and short rhyming poem--instructing Orthodox children to wear a bicycle helmet or not talk to strangers--the usual ABC's of child safety. Then, however, come two surprising pages. "Even some- one we know/And like very much," they say, "Shouldn't touch us in ways/We don't want them to touch./ And if I'm not sure/If the touch was right or wrong/ I'd ask my daddy or mommy/And not wait too long!" The illustra- tion shows a child sharing with his parents his concern about an unpleasant interac- tion behind abunk at summer camp; the concerned parents are shown listening to and supporting the child. The magic of this book is the way it broaches the topic of sexual abuse without mak- ing a big deal about it. While avoiding a debate over who is to blame, ArtScroll quietly acknowledges that friends, teachers or camp counselors may be predators and sug- gests that the solution to the problem is straightforward, honest information. The change is coming slowly, but there is no doubt that it is in progress. Dr. Yoel Finkelman lives with his wife and five children in Beit Shemesh, Israel. He is the author of"Strictly Kosher Reading: Popular Literature and the Condition of Contem- porary Orthodoxy" (Academic Studies). This article was first published by Jewish Ideas Daily <www.jewishideasdaily. com> and is reprinted with permission. national and international Jewish organizations like the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federations of North America. Today the Reut approach--using the concepts of "broad tent" and "red lines" in responding to attacks on Israel's legiti- macy-is widely accepted in the pro-Israel community in marginalizing the dele- gitimizers and re-engaging Jewish groups that had been pushed aside. In one respect, the Tikkun Olam project takes the pro- Israel response to the BDS campaign to a higher level by creating what Grinstein calls "a legitimacy surplus," raising Israel's standing in the world through its humanitarian programs to help the needy at a time when its legitimacy is being questioned. Grinstein said Reut, acting as a catalyst, has learned to create a critical mass of play- ers-government officials, organizations, universities, philanthropists, businesses, etc.--who embrace the con- cept of a proposed plan and are prepared to act on it on their own. "At some point the logic becomes irresistible, and they want a piece of the action," he said. That's what he expects to happen with the Tikkun Olam project. "You create a space and an environment and allow others to come in," he said, noting that the Israeli government, like all governments, is risk- averse and will only become involved after others have already succeeded. I came away from the round- table heartened by the sheer grandness and daring of the Tikkun Olam plan, and proud that highly talented people were devoting enormous time and energy to transforming Jewish life in a way that could benefit much of the world. But at the same time I thought back on how many creative projects have failed in our community, the victims of turf battles and small-minded thinking that results in inter- nal competition rather than wide-scale cooperation. Are we ready for this chal- lenge? A project of this scope requires the full participa- tion and leadership of the government of Israel, recog- nizing the potential benef;t it could have for the state, the Jewish people and the world. But petty politics, so commonplace in Jerusalem, could easily prevent this; project from getting off the  ground. That would be more than a shame, but not surprising. For now, it's important for the planners to let their ideas be shared, considered and debated--but only up to a point. There will never be full agreement. The key is to convince enough partners from the worlds of business, government, philanthropy and Jewish organizational life to start translating this grand vision into projects on the ground. Once they meet success, others will want to join, turning "tikkun olam" from a clich into a blessed reality.