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June 16, 2017

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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 16, 2017 / ! .~I~ ,,., Micha Han/GPO via Getty Images Israeli troops advancing against Egyptian troops at the start of the Six-Day War on June 5, 1967, near the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. By Ben Sales NEW YORK (JTA)--If you've been reading the opinion pages of America's major newspapers recently, you probably know the Six- Day War broke out 50 years ago this week. The war's broad, profound and lasting effects have been rehashed time and again: Is- rael decisively defeated itsArab enemies, vastly expanded its territory, gained control of Judaism's holiest sites and began its ongoing occupation of the West Bank. More than a few articles have noted that the purportedly brief war has, in some senses, lasted five decades. There has been no short- age of op-eds by famil- iar names that largely repeat the traditional talking points of the Palestinians, the pro- Israel left or the pro-Israel right--unabashedly con- demning the war or celebrat- ing Israel's victory; mourning the occupation, denying its existence or absolving Israel for its persistence; providing a blueprint for a better future. Here are six pieces that challenge those narratives, or that highlight fresh aspects of the war and its influence. Most of them are also from voices that tend to be heard less often in public discus- sions of foreign policy in the U.S.--women, younger writ- ers and Palestinians. The settlements are nor- mal now Discussions of the West Bank settlements tend to de- pict them as geographically and even culturally distinct from Israel proper. But as it turns out, most Israelis don't know where the settlements end and Israel's pre-1967 bor- ders begin. In this fascinating dive in the Washington Post into what life today is like in the West Bank, reporter Dan Ephron shows how, 50 years after Israel took con- trol of the West Bank, many settlements are more like middle-class suburbs than rugged outposts. But the truth is that most settlers now live in middle- class communities thatwould feel familiar to suburbanites anywhere in America, with single-family homes, strip malls and cul de sacs. One of the homes I stayed in, a two- story structure with a chiseled facade in the settlement Ofra, had a small swimming pool in the yard. In Dolev, I spent the night in a wood cabin with a loft and a hot tub. The Airbnb entry for the cabin touted a nearby horse ranch and bicycle rentals... Most settlers who offer their homes on the site don't men- tion that their communities exist outside Israel's interna- tionally recognized borders ("15 minutes drive from Je- rusalem," as one put it). Have Palestinians become more religious since the war? How did Israel's conquest of the West Bank and Gaza change Palestinian religious life? Maysoon Zayid, a Pales- tinian-American comedian and writer, says some Pales- tinians have opposed Israel with more assertive displays of faith, while others remain secular. In Gaza, she writes, Hamas' Islamist regime has constrained Palestinians' religious freedom, while the West Bank is more religiously diverse. Zayid's essay is one of sev- eral in this Atlantic feature on how the war changed the three major monotheistic religions. In 1967, it wasn't odd to see women strolling in miniskirts in Palestine. It also wasn't odd to see my grandmother standing next to her wearing a floor-length, long-sleeved, cross-stitched dress and a long silky veil covering her hair. Some say that Palestinians have become more religious than they were when they were first occupied ... The sense that shrines like the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem are under siege has, it seems, strengthened some Palestinians' religious enthusiasm. Ramadan and Christmas have always been a big deal, but as Palestinians fight for their existence, the festivities have gotten even grander. Before the war, these American Jews were left- ists---now, they're Israeli settlers American Jews are dispro- portionately represented in Israel's settler population. While American immigrants comprise just five percent of Israelis overall, they make up 15 percent of settlers In "City on a Hilltop," a new book on Americans in the settlement movement, Oxford professor Sara Yael Hirschhorn de- scribes how many American settlers began as 1960s left- wing activists. This recent interview with Hirschhorn is part of 50 Voices 50 Years, a project that gath- ers 50 different perspectives on the war. The most interesting find- ing in my research though was about the politics of this group. Contrary to the popu- lar conception, these people were not neoconservatives or right-wing in their politics in the United States. These were "tree-hugging hippies" who were involved in and certainly aware of the leftist social movements of the 1960s and 1970s--the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Vietnam campaign--who moved to the Occupied Territories as a way of continuing their activism--but in the sense that this time they wanted to pursue Jewish civil and hu- man rights and turn inward in their rights campaign. How the Six-Day War led to the Arab Spring Part of the reason the war's anniversary is getting so much attention is that its effects reverberated far be- yond Israel's tiny slice of land. The war shook the countries that lost, destabilizing their governments and shifting alliances in the region. In this essay, also part of 50 Voices, Brookings Institution fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes posits that the war allowed the United States to become the dominant force in the Middle East. Decades later, popular discontent led to a backlash against the dictators who benefited from their alliances with the U.S. There is a direct line from the outcomes of the 1967 war.., to the regional order that came after. Egypt's turn from the Soviet Union to the West, the historic 1977 visit of Sadat to Jerusalem, and the 1979 Camp David Peace Ac- cords cemented a new Middle East that was dominated and protected by American mili- tary and diplomatic leader- ship, and that served interests of the United States, Israel and America's Arab partners pretty well. That Middle Eastern or- der is what fell apart in the violence that followed on the Arab uprisings of 2011. The grievances that drove the Arab uprisings were in large part due to the failures and repres- sion of the Arab leaders that prevailed under that order. Since the war, Israelis have swung to the left... One trope that colors cov- erage of Israel today is that the country is shifting to the right. And while that may be true in certain respects, on the question of territorial conces- sions Israelis have shifted left since the war. This analysis in the Forward by Israel De- mocracy Institute President Yohanan Piesner shows that Israelis are today much more willing to entertain ceding the West Bank than they were in 1967. While many point to 1967 as the high-water mark of "liberal Israel," after which public sentiment hardened, the reality is much more com- plex ... One conclusion from the data is that the readiness of the Israeli public to make concessions for peace has grown over time. In June 1967, following the war, over 90 percent of Israelis supported holding on to Jerusalem's recently captured Old City "at any cost," and more than 80 percent said the same regard- ing the West Bank. Contrast this with today's numbers, which consistently show that a majority of Israelis favor a two-state solution, including territorial concessions. ...and Palestinians have felt abandoned, but em- boldened Palestinians traditionally refer to the Six-Day War as the "Naksa," or setback. In this piece, University of Maryland professor Shibley Telhami, an Arab Israeli, says the war both galvanized the Palestinian national move- ment and led to a decline in Arab states' support for the Palestinians. Understanding that they would be unable to defeat Israel, Arab coun- tries, Telhami says, grew accustomed to the status quo, leading Palestinians to take responsibility for their national aspirations. The shocking defeat of Arab forces by Israel led to three outcomes that had particu- larly strong impacts on the Palestinian issue. The first is a creeping Arab sense that Israel wasn't about to disap- pear. The second is that, in occupying Syrian and Egyp- tian sovereign territories, Israel acquired direct levers with those states, possess- ing assets that they wanted back even more than helping Palestinians. The third is that Palestinians, disillusioned by Arab governments after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, decided to take things into their own hands. Harriet Vogel with her book, "Sad Is Not Bad: It's How We Grieve After We've Loved.' Vogel met her current love online at age 73mafter grieving sufficiently to be open to someone new follow- ing the death ofher husband. By Deborah Fineblum After her husband Jerry died, Harriet Vogel started writing letters to him. "I began doing it because it was therapeutic and corn- forting," says Harriet, a grief counselor who has worked with New York-area hospice programs. Ten years later, those let- ters to Jerry form the back- bone of her book "Sad Is Not Bad: It's HowWe Grieve After We've Loved,'which includes guidance and advice derived from Harriet's life and her years of counseling those who have also lost spouses. Five years ago, at age 73, Harriet met her current love online--after grieving sufficiently to be open to someone new. "It's absolutely wonderful to love and be loved again," she says. Harriet is convinced grief needs to be approached with as much courage as possible. "When you embrace your grief and don't dodge the hard work, you can come out healed," she says. "You still miss your spouse, but you can let go of the anger and depression." The next step, even at an advanced age, can be deter- mining when one is ready to love again. "It came as a cb' i*nplete sur- prise," says Harris Jaffe, 74, who did not expect to marry again after his first wife died. "But I'm so glad I [remarried]. We had a deep and profound love, and wanted to do this before God. That's the only reason we would go through the mishegas (craziness) of getting married again and blending families." "[My secondwife had] been through a bitter divorce, but for her the past was in the past," he says. "We had awon- derful five years together. She was my blessing even when she was so ill and probably didn't feel like a blessing. She taught me that love can happen at any age." Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz, an expert on Jewish mar- riage who teaches at the Ohr Somayach yeshiva in Jerusalem, recommends to "allow yourself the time to work through the grief before attempting love again." Synagogues and other Jew- ish institutions can help with the bereavement process. At the Shira Ruskay Center, a program of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Ser- vices in New York, eight-week groups help seniors through what can be a challenging and painful time. The sessions tap into the rich trove of Jewish mourning traditions with a prayer or Torah teaching, designed to provide comfort and inspiration. "Each discussion of Jewish mourning traditions leads to sharing and support," says Miriam Herscher, a chaplain and social worker who is part of the center's team of clergy and counselors. "What we do is 'normalize' what they're feeling," she says. "We walk with them part of the way on their grief journey." Jaffe, a graduate of the Rus- kay Center's program, says he signed up the year after his second wife's death in part because it was something he didn't make the time for when his previous wife had died many years earlier. "Back then I had a young daughter who needed me and a demanding job--I know I suppressed my own grieving," he says. "But this time I made it a priority." On the opposite end of the country, Rabbi Aliza Berk works with San Diego-based Jewish seniors in a six-week bereavement group through the LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation. "The greatest thing they come away with is the feeling that they are not alone," she says. "We offer a safe place for them to cry and laugh, to share their feelings and learn how to cope." The sessions cover the basics of Jewish mourning, from shiva (the first seven days) to shloshim (the first month) to yahrzeit (death anniversary), as well as Jewish views on the afterlife. Rabbi Breitowitz explains that the pain of losing a spouse "seems like it will never go away, and a person might even feel disloyal to their late spouse by even considering remarriage." Yet "in life and love, second chances can be deep and lov- ing," he says. Judaism tends to en- courage remarriage, says Moshe Raichman, who di- rects Since the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement is com- mitted to "love and mar- riage at any age," Chabad maintains a global network of shadchanim (matchmakers), some of whom specialize in helping older singles. "Marriage isn't just a prac- tical arrangement. At any age, it's the chance for a true soul mate," says Rabbi Simon Jacobson, author of"Toward a Meaningful Life: The Wisdom of the Rebbe Menachem Men- del Schneerson" and dean of the Meaningful Life Center. "Older love can go beyond the physical, intellectual and emotional. No longer distracted by looks, you can appreciate their personal- ity and soul. You know that intimacy is more about trust than lust." Getting remarried "is the biggest compliment you can pay your late spouse," says Rabbi Reuven Bulka, author of "Jewish Marriage: A Hal- akhic Ethic." "Not only would your hus- band or wife not be angry," he says, "assuming they loved you, they'd want you not to be alone."