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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 16, 2017 By Jonathan Feldstein into the sea and slaughter its Jewish citizens. And miraculous it is indeed, with the odds so Every time I see the movie "Titanic" I hope deeply stacked against Israel, while the Arabs that there will be a different outcome. I hope falsely blamed U.S. and British intervention that the captain will successfully avert the on Israel's behalf, they missed giving credit massivelceberg.Ihopethattheshipwon'tsink, to the One who truly stood by Israel with His that so many of its passengers won't perish. I divine intervention. The awakening of Jews and hope that "Jack" will live to write his strongly Christians who understood God's protection worded letter to the shipping line. makes this chapter of Israeli history a must Despite knowing the outcome, that's the read if only to give Him praise. same feeling I got when reading "Six Days of I decided not-to be intimidated by the sheer War" by noted historian and former Israeli size (446 pages, of which 118 are notes and the ambassador to the U.S., now Knesset member index) and to dig right in. I figured that even Michael Oren. Leading up to the 50th anni- if I didn't learn anything new, then at least it versary of the Six Day War, I thought it was would be a good refresher on the historical finally time to read the book gathering dust milestone of the 50th anniversary of the war on my shelf for years. As I read the first half, itself, and specifically the 50th anniversary recounting the weeks leading up to the war, I of the reunification of Jerusalem. While that couldn'thelpbutthinkthatthereweresomany is celebrated according to the biblical Jewish instances that war could have been averted, calendar on the 28th of Iyar the war began on If only Egyptian President Nasser hadn't done June 5, 1967 and Israel's liberating Jerusalem's one ofanyofanumberofthings. IfonlyJorda- Old City was complete on June 7. nian King Hussein heeded Israel's warning to An historian will have a field day with this stay out of the war and avoid being attacked, book as it recounts a wide array of Israeli, If only the combined armies of the Arab world Arab, American, Soviet, and UN officials that and Soviet Union didn't promulgate lie after make it challenging to keep track of all the lie. If only the UN stood fast and retained its players, even for someonewellversed in Middle troops in Sinai, or had reacted aggressively East history. Names and places of battles and to the Egyptians brazen aggression. If only strategic significance, whether parts of urban Israel hadn't felt so very isolated as the Arabs Jerusalem today or distant desert locations, threatened to annihilate the 19-year-old Jew- are also noted in great depth. The sources, ish state. If only. research, and time to put this book together "Six Days of War" is filled with incredible are laudable, as is its historical objectivity. historical detail that brings the reader a concise Not to be a spoiler, but the war ended with a and objective look at what led up to the war, ceasefireonJune 11withIsraelcompletelyvan- and then follows day by day the miraculous quishing the armies of itsArab neighbors, and Israeli army routing of armies of its neigh- takingcontrolofallofSinai, the Golan Heights, boring Arab countries, lusting to push Israel what's commonly called the West Bank but is historically biblical Judea and Samaria, and of course the reunification of Jerusalem. "Six Days of War" is one of the most authoritative and best sources of historical documentation of the war, yet ,there are many other sources of information and personal perspectives from the Six Day War. (Please write and I will be happy to share a list of others.) Following Jerusalem's liberation, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan made a statement that was at once historic and celebratory, but conciliatory at the same time. He reflected a common feeling then among israeli leaders. that Israel's victory was a new opportunity for peace. "This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holyplaces, never to part from it again, To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour--and with added emphasis at thishour--our hand inpeace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other peoples' holy places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity." One point of difference I have with the book is use of the loaded term "Palestinian." While Letter from Israel the PLO was founded in 1964, use of that word implies, as it has become common to do today, that somewhere along history there was a country called Palestine that Israel occupied. The term may be correct today only if because of how commonly it is used now, but in June 1967, Jordan controlled all of what's today called the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, and Egypt controlled Gaza. "Palestinian" identity was hardly well established, except as a foil for Israel and as a vehicle and excuse for terror and war. Use of this term today, that was not invogue then, to describe apopulation as this could have been chosen differently, or noted that while unavoidable, it emphasizes an historical bias and is possibly not entirely accurate, something the author certainly tried to avoid. As documented in "Six Days of War," two weeks before the outbreak of the war, UN Secretary General U Thant met with President Nasser in Egypt. Also attending was General Indar Jit Rikhye, commander of the UNEF forces in Sinai until they were expelled a week earlier. Maybe it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out, but Rikhye's comments fol- lowing the meeting (p.86) were prophetic. "I think you're going to have a major Middle Feldstein on page 15A Y leadi aid By Ariel Ben Solomon is to blame for Palestinian refugees' plight, JNS.org they view funding UNRWA as "a Western responsibility because the West backs Israel." Why aren't Muslim countries leading givers IJNRWA bias to the Palestinian cause? The question has Critics of UNRWA say the international renewed relevance upon a United Nations dollars invested in the U.N. agency serve agency's recent release of its list of donors, to perpetuate the Palestinian conflict with The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Pal- Israel, particularly due to anti-Israel bias in estine Refugees in the Near East claims to UNRWA's school curriculum and its broad provide aid to around 5 million Palestinian definition of what constitutes a Palestinian "refugees," a number that is disputed by the refugee. pro-Israel community because UNRWA also Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of serves refugees' descendants. Published this the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East month, UNRWA's list of donors for 2016 says nonprofit and the co-author of "Religion, Western countries and Japan are the most Politics, andthe Origins ofPalestine Refugee significantcontributorstotheagency'sbudget, Relief," told JNS.orgthat ifPalestinians gave while the only major Muslim givers are Saudi up their identity as refugees, "it would feel ArabiaandtheUnitedArabEmirates.Further, as if they were giving up their Palestinian the Muslim nations' giving lags behind top identity" as a whole. donors such as the U.S. and European Union "The perception within the Palestinian and countries, larger Arab world is that the Palestinians have Ronen Yizhak, head of the Middle East a divine right to return to Israel and that no Studies department at Israel's Western Galilee leader has the mandate to ever give this up," College, told JNS.org the discrepancy between said Romirowsky, who is also a fellow at the Western and Arab-Muslim giving to the Pal- Middle East Forum think tank. estinians "has been the case throughout the Romirowsky said there is international history of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict." pressure to keep the funds flowing to UNRWA On the Arab-Muslim side, "there is a lot of despite shortcomings in the program, such talking, but little actual deeds," he said.Yizhak as anti-Israel incitement in school textbooks pointed out that after the 2014 Gaza war, the and alleged associations with Hamas. international community pledged $5 billion to The refugee issue, according to Romirowsky, rebuild the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave, but is a tool used for bashing Israel. much of the money pledged by Arab stateswent "UNRWA says they are needed until a resolu- undelivered, tion of the conflict," he said, "but in fact they Daniel Pipes, a historian and president of are gatekeepers that ensure there will be no the Middle East Forum think tank, explained resolution, withPalestinianrefugeesbeingthe the funding discrepancy by noting that given only ones in the world kept in their position Arab and Muslim leaders' belief that the West for perpetuity." THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ~ ~ CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ~ ~ 1SSN 0199-0721 Winner of 45 Press Awards HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, lhc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 emaih news@orlandoheritage.com Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Stare Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore By Ira Sharkansky He says that he wants to settle things between Israel and Palestine. His initial venture outside the U.S., to the Middle East, may indicate the importance that he assigns to it. There was also a business deal with the Saudis, that will bring more work to American industries. Along the way to that, he got some positive words from reigning Arabs about shared interests against Iran, and their inten- tions to help bring peace to Israel and Palestine. Perhaps all are on board except the Pales- tinians. We're hearing about Trump's temper against Palestinians for incitement toviolence, and Abbas' waffling in defense about what he's been doing. It's not hard to find both Palestinians and Israelis, among those holding high office and the simple folk of both nations, who are intense against any deal that sacrifices what each sees as essential to their beliefs and survival. There's room between the two camps of extremists for the acceptable arrangements achieved to date, but that doesn't please others who want a final solution (forgive the expres- sion), and the many who can find detailed problems in what has been achieved. We're back to the reality of a small country and competing claims wrapped in murky or reliable history, together with the unspoken starting point that possession is nine tenth of the law. Understanding politics is never easy. Disin- formation, distortion, fake news, bobbing and weaving, saying different things to different people are all part of the tradition. They're justified or required by the multiplicity of interests, loyalties, and beliefs. All countries are complex places. There's some overlap with the norms of business, but government is different. The list of what is forbidden varies from place to place. Trump is the first American to succeed in moving from close to the peak of business to the peak of government. The cancellation, perhaps temporary, of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, has gotten mixed reviews. They include disappointment, charges about deception, same old game, expressions that it doesn't affect anything important, acceptance of the explanation that it'll make negotiations easier, and a long yawn. Why should anyone care? Some believe the established nonsense that providing for a Palestinian state will ease the problems of the Middle East. Those still on board sqaould consider the millions killed and turned into refugees across the Muslim world from North Africa to the Philippines, many of whoseperpetrators and victims could not find Israel on a map. There are also those who view the Palestin- ians with a near monopoly of justice, accepting their claims of being an ancient people, having to put up with Jewish lies of having a history in Jerusalem, and generous is wanting only what they had prior to 1967 along with a return of families to their historic homes taken from them without justice by the Jews. Ratcheting way down from these myths are the realities of people co-existing. Not peace- fully, but managing. There are Israeli Arabs who concede that their communities live as well or better than those of any Muslim country, including op- portunities for education, health, and political expression. Gaza is headlined as an intolerable place, made a prison by Israel. But its problems owe a great deal to occasional attacks against Israeli civilians, and its economic profile does not suffer in comparison with much of Africa. Some of what bothers Israel's right wing, e.g., the increasing Arab population of Jeru- salem, may be seen by other eyes as the appeal of an Israeli residence for Arabs, and the ability of two people to live together with no greater friction that marks inter-group relations in many other places. Trump's first five months have shown him a failure in getting major health and migration reforms accepted by Congress and American courts, and falling afoul of established rules pertaining to managing secrets, using com- munications, and staying within the norms of key allies. Trump's turnaround on the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem has troubled Israelis. Those in the government are saying that,it will harm rather than help Trump's peace process by encouraging Palestinians to escalate their demands beyond reason. What Israelis are not say so loudly is that Trump's action will harm his peace process by destroying his credibility among Israelis. It's shaping up to be a long 4 or 8 years, producing varieties of political humor and cynicism at least equivalent to what Barack Obama produced for another cluster of those who jeered. And just as Obama had a constituency who thought he was the most enlightened Chief Executive since Abe Lincoln, Trump has those who see an amateur who breaks the rules as what it takes to make America great again. We can wonder if those who cheer Trump as outsider bringing new views to old politics would also choose a fresh MBA to manage their portfolio, an intern to operate on their innards, or a new lawyer to defend them against an allegation that could put them in prison. What Trump and his predecessors--no mat- ter what their government experience--are likely to have incommon is to leave office with Israelis and Palestinians dealingwith one another more or less like they've been doing since the beginning of their time. Hopefully, our reasonably good days will continue to outnumber the others. Comments welcome. Irashark@gmail.com.