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July 18, 2014

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 18, 2014 After unity and then calls for revenge, Israelis look inward for answers Noarn Revkin Fenton/Flash 90 Participants in an anti-racism rally in Jerusalem holding signs that say, "Enough vio- lence.Yes to co.existence," July 7, 2014. By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)-- For many Israelis, eyes are turning south watching yet another conflict unfold with Hamas. Yet thoughts are also turned inward, contemplating the sense of national solidarity occasioned by the abduction and murder of three teenag- ers and then shattered by the murder of a fourth. The Israeli media--the so- cial and conventional variet- ies-have exploded in recent days with recrimination and self-recrimination over the brutal murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, the Palestin- ian teenager from eastern Jerusalem who was burned alive last week. The killing was apparent retaliation for the murders of three Israeli teens--Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach--who were kidnapped while hitch- hiking. "A national struggle does not justify acts of terror," the outgoing and incoming Israeli presidents, Shimon Peres and Reuven Rivlin, wrote in a joint Op-Ed for the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot. "Acts ofterrordo not justify revenge," they wrote. "Re- venge does not justify destruc- tion, plunder and desolation. Even in the face of the rage and frustration, the violence and the pain, things can be done differently. Things must be done differently." Israeli police said three Jew- ish youths have confessed to the Khdeir murder and three others are in custody. Leeat Granek, a grief spe- cialist at Ben-Gurion Univer- sity's public health depart- ment, said public displays of grief can be used to bring nations together as well as to stoke rage. In the wake of the murder of the three Is- raelis, both phenomena were evident in the rallying around the parents of the murdered teenagers and then in the calls for revenge. "There was a kind of uni- fication of the country that came together with the griev- ing, prayer circles," she said. "In some ways that grief can be used to bring the country together, it can be used to escalate anger, rage." Yoaz Hendel, a former director of public diplomacy in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office who now heads the right-wing Insti- tute for Zionist Strategies think tank, wrote a widely discussed Facebook post in the immediate aftermath of Khdeir's murder, before any suspects had been ap- prehended. In the posting, Hendel railed against Jew- ish rioters inflamed by the killings of the Israeli teens who had attacked Arabs in downtown Jerusalem. "It is unbelievable how a few hundred racist Jews can cause so much damage to an entire country," Hendel wrote in Hebrew. "The results of the investigation into the death of the boy are already unimport- ant. After pictures of the mob shouting 'Death to Arabs,' the damage is done." Hendel told JTAthat Israelis had to assume responsibil- ity for the extremists among them, even if the extremists represent a marginal phe- nomenon. "It's our obligation to do 'heshbon nefesh,' " Hendel said, using the Hebrew term for soul searching, "so we don't let pass this phenom- enon that we have racist Jews here acting like the Ku Klux Klan, not the Zionist dream." Elizabeth Tsurkov, a left- wing Israeli writer and ac- tivist, blamed politicians for stoking the flames with the rhetoric of revenge. She pointed to Netanyahu's June 30 statement announcing the discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped teens that quoted a poem by Hayyim Nachman Bialik written after a pogrom. "'Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created,' "Netanyahu said, quoting the poem, before continuing in his own words: "Neither has vengeance for the blood of three pure youths, who were on their way home to meet their parents, who will not see them anymore." Such statements em- powered anti-Arab racists, Tsurkov said. "It's clear how this kind of rhetoric justifies attacking people who are not involved in combat," she said. But Hendel rejected asser- tions that the broader Israeli society was guilty, noting the condemnations of Khdeir's murder from across the politi- cal spectrum. Hendel has had push- back from some online com- menters who objected to his condemnations of anti-Arab violence. In a follow-up posted July 4, he addressed a com- menter who had told Hendel, "You are not my brother, and we do not belong to the same people." "Believe me, I wish it were so," Hendel replied."I'm stuck with you." By Ron Kampeas U.S. intervenes in Europe's circumcision wars Ira Forman, U.S. State Department pressure to do so, and some countries have imposed re- strictions such as requiring medical supervision. Forman is the State Depart- ment's third anti-Semitism monitor. While he has main- tained his predecessors' focus 1 WASHINGTON 0TA) The Obama administration's anti- Semitism monitor has added an issue to his office's port- folio: defending circumcision in Europe. Circumcision has become a top focus for Ira Forman, the State Department's special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. He has been using the pulpit his office provides to warn European governments that moves to ban ritual circumcision could lead to the demise of their countries' Jewish communi- ties. "Because circumcision is essentially universal among Jews, this can shut down a community, especially asmall vulnerable community," For- man said. No European country has outright banned the prac- tice, but there is increasing on anti-Semitic acts and rhetoric worldwide, he said that protecting circumcision has become urgent because calls for bans are gaining legitimacy, particularly in Northern Europe. In the past six months, For- man has raised the issue in meetings with ambassadors to Washington from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Swit- zerland. He says he plans to raise itwith envoys from other Northern European coun- tries, where pressures to ban circumcision are most acute. He also has asked the relevant desks at the State Department to have U.S. diplomats raise the issue in their meetings in their host countries. Forman, who is Jewish, contrasted efforts to prohibit circumcision with bans on ritual animal slaughter--in place in some countries for 10 years serving votecurcio.eom i Vo esday, August 26 i "Politic al advertisen/entdd apiro  by Dr. Frank D. Carcio for SCPS Board DI" decades--which at least have workarounds, for instance by importing frozen kosher meat. "Circumcision, if you ban it, you have three choices: You do it underground illegally, you take a little 8-day-old baby across state lines--and if you have contiguous states [with bans], doing that becomes harder and harder--or three, you emigrate," he said. A comprehensive 2012 survey of European Jews by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights found substantial majorities of Jews classifying a hypothetical ban on circumcision as a "big problem." "I will wait for the develop- ments concerning a statutory regulation on the Brit Mila," the survey quoted a German respondent as saying, using the Hebrew phrase for ritual circumcision. "This will be crucial for my decision on whether or not to leave Ger- many." Leaders of Jewish com- munities in countries that are contending with public pressure to ban the practice similarly warn that such a move could spur an exodus of Jews. "I have said that a country which saved the Jews during the Second World War, if they would establish any law against circumcision, they would have done what Hitler wanted to do," said Rabbi Bent Lexner, chief rabbi to Denmark's Jewish commu- nity of 7,500. _. European offici their countries have tuted protections for circum- cision in response to public pressures. "A ban on circumcision is not in question for the Nor- wegian government," Frode Overland Andersen, a spokes- man for his country's Foreign Ministry, told JTA. German and Danish officials have is- sued similar assurances. Jewish communal officials appreciate the assurances that circumcision will not be banned. Nonetheless, Jewish communal officials warn that the danger of circumcision Circumcision on page 12A Magen David Adorn issues list of emergency needs NEWYORK--Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's national emergency medical response organization, has issued a list of emergency needs Americans can sponsor as it continues saving lives amid increasing rocket attacks from Gaza. MDA, which does not re- ceive Israeli government funding for its operations, has activated its entire 13,000 volunteer corps and manned all of its 1,000 ambulances in response to sustained rocket fire from Gaza. The latest op- erations have strained MDA's resources, which also must be dedicated to standard, day-to- day emergencies throughout Israel. To date, MDA has treated 104 Israeli civilians as a result of rockets from Gaza. There have been no Israeli fatalities, partly a credit to MDA, which not only responds to emergen- cies, but prepares Israelis for them as well. "MDA and Israel's Home Front Command spend a lot of time and resources educating the public about safety and the low numbers of Israeli casualties are the fruits of our labor," says MDA Director of International Affairs Yonatan Yagodovsky. "But MDA is still in need of significant assis- tance and support because don't know how long this operation will last." MDA's most critical emer- gency needs during the crisis: 1) Emergency medical supplies for ambulances and first-responders ($1,00- $10,000): These include trauma cervical collars, I.V. needles, ambulance resuscitators for adults and children, oxygen cylinders, spare parts for ambulances, uniforms, as bandages, oxy- gen and inhalation masks, respiratory apparatus, a blood pressure meter, nee- dles and syringes, blood transfusion kits, etc. 2) MDA's National Blood Services Center supplies ($3,600-$10,000): blood bags, viral testing kits, transfusion equipment, etc. 3) Communications sys- tems ($1,000-$2,000): beepers and Mirs (telephone) units. To sponsor any of these items or to make a donation to MDA's lifesaving work, visitAmerican Friends of MDA at a-donation or call toll-free 866.388.7527.