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July 4, 2014

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 4, 2014 By Antonio Villaraigosa The recent kidnapping of three Israeli teenage boys by terrorists in Judea and Sa- maria is an appalling reminder of the cruelty guiding radical elements in the Middle East and of the need for vigilance and solidarity by all those who cherish the sanctity of human life and fundamental values of human rights. I was in Israel the week when the boys were abducted. In fact, I passed very near the spot where it took place the following day. The stark contrast between the humanity and benevolence visibly on display on my visit to Israel and the open hostility in Gaza and Judea and Samaria is a rude wakeup call to those who too often level criticism against Israel. The sight of Palestinians "in Gaza and Hebron dancing jubilantly in the streets and passing out sweets to celebrate the kidnap- ping is asdepressing as it is concerning. This attitude bodes ill for reconciliation and co- existence between I-sraelis and Palestinians. Comparisons that some have drawn be= tween the kidnapped boys and Palestinians imprisoned for terrorism is equally disturb- ing. Imagine a terrorist group seizing several teenagers in downtovn L.A. and demanding the release of convicted murderers. Absurd? Something anyone in their right mind would consider doing? Yet this is What such com- parisons amount to. One of the most moving aspects of my visit to Israel was a tour of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, Despite the communal strife in Why we must support Israel the region, I was taken by the humane cae leadership. Theirs is not a job to be envied, provided all patients, more than 30 percent as they safeguard Israel's security, despite whowere Palestinian. Itis difficult to under- extremely trying circumstances. Here too stand why Israel's neighbors feel such deep there are many lessons to be learned by all hostility toward it. Rather than emulating who hold these values dear. Israel's tolerance they attack and vilify it. The contrast between the fundamental I also visited Israel!s southern desert human decency coursing through Israeli region, the Negev, with its capital, Beer society and the inhumanity and cruelty of Sheva, where I witnessed some of the most those who have kidnapped these boys could advanced research on water technologies not be more stark. This is something that and solar energy in the world. It is not an transcends conflicting political interests; it exaggeration to say that the R&D going on in is a clash between values, between the very Israel in these and other fields has immense lifeblood of enlightened society versus blind potential to solve many of the challenges hate and brutality. facing the entire region. This potential can In Israel, I saw a country deeply yearn- be utilized in California, where an Israeli ing for peace, but profoundly frustrated at firm is constructing the largest desalination the obstinate intolerance of so many of its plant in the Western Hemisphere. We too can neighbors and the very concerning trends benefit a great deal from Israel's expertise transpiring throughout the region. in addressing acute water crises. The spread of the Islamic State in Iraqand Israel, a desert country which previously Syria should be a sobering wake-up call to faced chronic and acute water shortages, any who harbor illusions about the direction has essentially solved the problem with the the "Arab Spring" has taken. This is not a largest and most cost efficient desalination plants in the world. Areas facing similar challenges, be it in California or the Middle East, have much to learn. Letter from Israel - Participating in a high-level policY con- ference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and in my meetings with Israeli leaders and senior policy makers, including with the Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister, I was impressed by the steadfast determination to protect Israel and equally fieree commitment to humane values, which are the hallmark of Israel's political The Presbyterian Church's anti-lsraeli identity By Alan Kornman include interfaith dialogue and relationship- building as part of their own engagement in working for a just peace." The Presbyterian Church demonizes the State of Israel but issues no demands on the Palestinians to stop for their ongoing rocket and terrorist attacks against Israel, while calling for a "Just Peace." Demanding a 'just peace' without acknowledging the Palestinians numerous declarations calling for the destruction of Israel is simply the" height of hypocrisy. Hamas defines a just peace The Hamas Charter in its second para- graph states, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it (The Martyr, Imam Hassan ai-Banna, of blessed memory)." The Presbyterian Church must demand Hamas remove this one paragraph in their Charter as the starting point for any interfaith dialogue and relationship building in search of a Just Peace. Sorry to tell you this, but when the Pal- estinians, in the name of Islam, call for the total annihilation of every man, woman, and child in the State of Israel, there can be no expectation of peace. Unless of course the definition of peace is the annihilation of Israel. Conclusion Hamas is honest in saying their definition of a 'just peace' is when Israel is obliterated by Islam and driven into the sea. Hamas is telling the world exactly where they stand and the Presbyterian Church is not listening. The Presbyterian Church has aligned itself with forces who believe the only roadblock to peace in the Middle East is Israel. The Presbyterian Church (USA) sym- bolically voted in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) against the State of Israel. The Presbyterian Church's ideological support of anti-Israel sanctions and d/vestments is so strong, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke publicly supports the Presbyterian Church's anti-Israel and anti-Jewish trajectory. The Presbytery of New Covenat, 221st General Assembly (2014) voted 310-303 to divest their substantial assets from Caterpil- lar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard because of their contracts working With the State of Israel. Even the self-hating Jews were excited by this Presbyterian Church decision on Israeli divestments. JTA February 14, 2014 reported, 'Near its conclusion, the church's new state- ment quotes the advocacy director of Jewish Voice for Peace, Sydney Levy, saying, "We are in opposition to the settlements and occupation, and in favor of a true and just peace." The JVP staffer is the only Jewish person quoted in the church's statement." The dualistic hypocritical identity of the Presbyterian Church The Presbyterian Church attacks Israel with divestment and sanctions while de- manding Israel build relationships with the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. The Presbyterians are afraid to call out Hamas for its violence against Israel because they fear the Hamas crosshairs pointing in their direction. The 2014 Presbyterian Covenant states, "Call for all presbyteries and congregations within the Presbyterian Church (USA) to THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. I  * CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE   ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards HE ITAGE I0000OSlD000000WiS00 Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Stare Kim Fischer Chris DeSouza Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Loft Apple Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein * Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore 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, Inc., 207 O'Bri.en 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 email: theoretical or esoteric problem. The same elements currently seizing control across vast swaths of territory in the Middle East share a radical ideology with those who kidnapped these three Israeli youths and who perpetrated 9/11. We need to unequivocally condemn these kidnappers. Hamas, which continues to propagate the destruction of Israel and seeks no peaceful co-existence with the Jew- ish state, needs to be recognized for what it is: a terrorist organization that cannot play a legitimate political role as long as it continues to adhere to its violent campaign against Israel and commitment to its demise. We need to support peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but there can be no peace while young boys are kidnapped, and terror'isis seekviolence and destruction. This is not just Israel's problem; it is in our national interest. Antonio Villaraigosa is the former mayor of Los Angeles. Israel's balancing act By Ira Sharkansky israeli governments have long recognized the need to tread carefully in pursuit of national security. Greater powers have a limited tolerance for Israel daring to approach what they do in defense of their own interests. Part of the balance is the considerable power of the Israeli military that can threaten any state that would overstep vaguely de- fined lines. The latest examples of Israeli balance between its security and others' tolerance have been emerging as Israeli forces seek the three kidnapped young civilians, and do what they can to weaken Hamas and end the alliance created with it by Abbas' government. Official American spokespersons have announced their inquiry into the deaths of two Palestinians who died while Israel was pursuing its goals. Cynics may ask how many international investigati6rs resulted from the infinitely greater "collateral damage" linked to U.S. military operations from Korea onward. The ruling body of the Presbyterian Church has declared a disinvestment in com- panies selling products to Israel concerned with its activities in Judea and Samaria. Its spokespeople have tried to avoid accusations of'anti-Semitism brought about by their anti-Jewish posture with something akin to "so'me of our best friends are Jewish." No surprise that some anti-Israel Jewish activists were competing with pro-Israel Jews in lobbying the Presbyterians. Jews have been i,n anti-Jewish camps at least since those of the Middle Ages who told Church personnel about passages in the Talmud considered to be anti-Christian. If the Presbyterians were really interested in equal opportunity for national defense and condemnation of excessive violence, they would als0 disinvest in companies that contributed to American military opera- tions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. That would mean not only the firms making the stuff that goes bang and the equipment that delivers it to targets, but also those selling hamburgers, fries, drinks, and toothpaste that troops buy in' their PXs. Israel seeks balance not only with the great powers but also With Palestinians. Those of us outside the security services do not know precisely how important is the Cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian professionals, but we hear that it is helpful. Israel expects criticism from Palestinian politicians as serving their own needs, and does not express great surprise when some Palestinian security personnel turn up among those who have attacked Israelis. This is, after all, the Middle East and not the MiddIe West. Likewise there is cooperation and criticism from Egyptians and Jordanians, and some degree of even more blurred cooperation with Arab and Muslim countries that do not have formal relations with Israel. Beyond this is the government's need to keep things in balance between coali- tion partners. On occasion, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett have been at one another's throats, and Tsipi Livni has been outside the apparent consensus on negotiations with the Palestinians, sometimes allied with Lapid and members of his party. Within the government are those who would expend settlements and annex some or all of the West Bank, and those who would dry up the settlements with financial constraints in the hope of a two-state solution. There is also pressure from Israel's op- position parties, civil rights and pro-peace organizations, and its judiciary, which has imposed limits on the government in re- sponse to formal complaints. Currently most seem to be on the same side with respect to finding the missing boys. Fewer agree about the punishment of Hamas. Israelis should wonder if the degree of unity achieved can last against outsiders' escalating comments about "overreaction." How do Israeli officials seek to maintain balance among these pressures? Accept the inevitability of dispute, and an- tagonism of those who also express support. Make do with less actual security than the goals pronounced by its leaders. Respond with moderation, if at all, to oc- casional rockets from Gaza that, at the very least, add to the distress of people living in the area from Ashdod and Beer Sheva south toward Gaza. Act aggressivoly when pressed beyond limits not clearly defined. Continue action against security threats uritil satisfied by accomplishments, or de- terred by opposition from international or domestic sources. A recent tragedy on the Golan Heights,a rocket sent from one of the forces operat- ing in Syria that killed a young Israeli Arab and severely wounded his father, produced returned fire from the IDF that might have killed some Syrian soldiers or rebels. The chaos in Syria appears beyond anything that Israel is inclined to enter with any force in order to assure absolute security for its citizens. There is no certainty for Israelis or others anxious to know when Israel will act, what it will do in response to a particular provoca- tion, or when it will stop. Currently the points for decision that ap- pear likely are whenever the three kidnapped boys or their bodies are found, and the onset of Ramadan. Officials have spoken about appropriate relaxation of restrictions on P.alestinian movement during the month- long holiday of daily fasting, evening feasts, and travel for prayer and family visits. If the boys are not found by then, or if violent opposition to Israeli actions increase, it will be yet another occasion to see how Israel's government balances competing pressures from inside and outside. Ira Sharkansky is a professor (Emeritus) of the Department ofPolitical Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.