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August 6, 2004

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PAGE 4 By David Brent [Editor's note: David Bornstein is on vaca- tion for the summer. His "The Good Word" column will return in the fall. Over the sum- mer, this space will feature a variety of special guest contributors.] I live in constant appreciation of the ac- complishments of my grandfathers. My life has been blessed with security and freedom, baruch hashem, since the day I was born. Contrast this to my grandfathers. Both were born in complete poverty. One grandfather left the shtetl and fled to the U.S. The other grandfather was the son of immigrants who had fled the shtetl a few years earlier. They came to the United States with nothing but were able to build new lives for themselves and their children. My blessings are the result of their incredible hardwork, their bravery, their love of family. m By Carl Alpert The story of Menahem Begin, retold HAIFA--The recentrepublication (updated)tration, the Israeli public sensed a new spirit ofthebiographyofMenahemBegin(Begin, His in Jerusalem to such an extent that a public Life, Words and Deeds, by Zvi Harry Hurwitz. opinion poll indicated that if a new election 284 pp Gefen Pub.) affords opportunity to were to be held, Begin and his Likud would take another look at one of the most unusual receive an overall majority of 63 out of the personalities in Israel's public life. 120 Knesset seats. As Prime Minister he inau- Few political figures have been subjected gurated weekly consultations with the leader to such intensive character assassination in of the opposition on matters of national im- their lifetime as Begin. As one commentator portance, but later discontinued the practice noted, hewasviewedforyearsasanarchvillain, when Shimon Peres' attacks on him became incorrigible "terrorist," demographic leader of more personal. an unregenerate "right wing." "Hate Begin" In 1982, on Begin's initiative, the Israel air rallies were organized by the labor movement, force flew to Iraq and destroyed the nuclear His ascendancy to the post of Prime Minister reactor that Saddam Hussein was building was termed a "catastrophe." there. If not for this, the American invasion Yet today, after his death, even his most of Iraqseveralyearslatermighthavemetwith extreme critics unite in paying tribute to a nuclear defense. Yet at the time Israel was his integrity, his devotion to his people and roundly condemned by the world.Ayear later, country, his courage, his historic decisions, after continued attacks on the northern bor- A rereading of the book, twelve years after his der, Israel invaded Lebanon. There was loss of death, helps to recall some of the highlights livesandmanyotherdebatableconsequences, of his career, but the fact remains that a relative peace was As commander of the Irgun Zevai Leumi in established in the north thereafter. He also the pre-state days, and as head of the opposi- reached a peace agreement with the Lebanese tion to the government until 1977 when the government, but this was vetoed by Syria. public elevated him and his party to national Hurwitz deals with the oft-repeated ac- leadership, he was always motivated by what cusation that Ariel Sharon and the military he considered the best interests of his people, draggedBeginandthegovernmentintodeeper He was vehemently opposed to the reparations involvement in Lebanon, but quotes numerous agreement with Germany, but accepted the fact assertions by the Prime Minister that there had when it was approved by the government. Fol- been no"dragging," and that the government lowing the Six-DayWar, after his strengthened and the Cabinet hadat all times been in control party helped form a national unity coalition, of the situation. hewasamemberofthegovernment from June It is often forgotten that it was during his 1967 to August 1970, resigning as a matter of administration, with the generous help of Di- principle. He objected to any move that would asporaJewry, that the urban renewal program lead to abandonment of so-called "occupied known as "Project Renewal," which improved territories." the living conditions of nearly half a million WithLikud'svictoryatthepollsheassumed Israelis, was put into effect. Also forgotten is the premiership. This was followed by a series the fact that his initiative made the large-scale of events, some minor, some historic, which immigration of Ethiopian Jewry possible. demonstrated his characterandthe principles The death of his wife, Aliza, was a shock by which he conducted his life. from which he never recovered. The events in His first act as prime minister was to grant Lebafion tooktheir toll asweil. He could not go asylum in Israel to60Vietnamese refugeeswho on, andwithdrew from public life. Hurwitzwas had been rescued at sea by an Israeli vessel, personally close to Begin, and his book reveals It was an unusual humanitarian gesture that many details of major events in his career. made world headlines. Not long thereafter Some of the excitement that permeated Begin issued his invitation to Sadat and the Begin'searliercareerintheanti-Britishunder- citizens of Egypt, calling for peace: "No more ground is missing from the book. The author wars, n m rebl dshedandn m rethreats" also fails to deal sufficiently with Begin's role What followed made history. The withdrawal in infusing the Sephardi masses with pride in from Yamit, in the Sinai, was a great sacri- theirownheritageatatimewhentheyfeltthey rice for Begin, who was a maximalist in his were being repressed by the country's Mapai vision of a greater Israel, but he considered leadership. This fact led to the massive support the price worth the peace treaty with Egypt. for him in the national elections. It will be recalled that Begin and Sadat were For those who are discouraged by recent then awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. developments in Israel, a rereading of the book Even in the earlier days of Begin's adminis- is recommended. ITHE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'S ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 36 Pre.~ Awards INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE O Editor/Publbher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Assistant Editor Gene Starn Lyn Payne HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $34.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($41.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 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 Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Elaine Schooping Account Executiws Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Carl Alpert Michael Gamson Tim Boxer David Bornstein Gall Simons Produ~ou Department David Lehman Ted Marks Allison Berkowitz HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS This is not just my story, it is the story of most of the Jews living in the United States. But what about the Jews living in Israel? First, a little history. Before 1882, the majority of the Jews in the world lived in the Pale of Settlement. In 1882, the Russian Or- thodox Church, led by the fanatic Konstantin and sanctioned by the new Czar, Alexander III, began to organize pogroms against the Jews. Over the next 25 years, one out of three Jews fled the Pale. This huge emigration is rivaled only by the Spanish Inquisition when Jews fled Spain in the same proportions. Most Jews came to the United States, the land of opportunity. Some went to Israel. The Jews who went to Israel faced a barren land, malaria, and many enemies. My grandparents are my heroes. I am eter- nally grateful for their success in America. But, when I went to Israel and saw what has been accomplished in that country, I was in awe. Some demographics: Before the first wave of immigration in 1882, there were only 24,000 Jews living in the land that was to become the State of Israel. By 1948, there were 700,000 Jews in Israel and in 1970, 2.5 million Jews. Detroit has a population of over 3 million - more people than the entire country of Israel had when it was attacked by surprise on all sides on Yore Kippur in 1973. I was raised in Detroit and I recently came back from a three- week trip to Israel. Take it from me, Israel is much more impressive. Detroit does have the Pistons, but Jerusalem's basketball team just won the European ULEB cup! Since its creation in 1948 and in the face of constant, tremendous threats to its very existence, Israel has not only survived, it has thrived. To tour Israel is to see one fantastic accomplishment after another. Just landing at Ben Gurion International airport is impres- sive. On my honeymoon I went to Jamaica. The contrast between the airport i and the one in Israel is striking. think about it, the airport be the more impressive. plete security with no threat of neighboring Haiti. But Israel not only rivals of much larger countries in technology, Israel leads in cals, Israel leads in agl goes on. My trip to Israel was wonderful ways. It was wonderful to see the beauty: from the mountains in the t the oasis at Ein Gedi in the Judea~ from the Mediterranean Galilee. It was wonderful to visit ~ where the visiting family. But what filled me with pride, was seeing the flying over this incredible country. flag at the airport when skyscraper in Tel Aviv. The above the King the Western Wall. The Israeli flag beaches at the seashore and at water P the Galilee. The nature reserves and at The Israeli flag above once was desert or swamp. The marking the accomplishments of people- the Jewish people. A people proud to be a the Jewish Community Center. He to Rend Brent, Division. The Brents have three have lived in the Central for 10 years. By Joseph Aaron clans and Americans to feel sorrY Chicago Jewish News I want them to be amazed with Israel. CHICAGO--More and more pathetic each We have the only Jewish and every day. whole world, and all we show of i How sad, how very sad. How wasteful, how thinghappeningallovert very wasteful, rnachers push is the horror, The Jewish people have never, ever had it why tourism is so low. See all the better. Never, ever. And yet what is so pathetic they say, and by the way, c is that we don't seem to realize that and make fabulous vacation. the most of it. It is pathetic that we talk too What is so pathetic is that we do so many bombs and attacks whe pathetic things. Some of the most recent whenweshouldbetaiking ones: achievements. * Well, as it must to every presidential can- didate, so it came to John Kerry. He recently of himself for calling on all made a speech pledging, if elected, to move make aliyah. the U.S. Embas~sy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Pathetic. Once again, pushing Jerusalem. place to flee to, Like the swallows heading to Capistrano, afraid, we're the every four years, every candidate running for Israel as a place for refu president of both major parties, promises the choose to come. Home for those same thing, their homes. None has ever done it. Pathetic, too, in that France And yet, pathetically, we expect, no, we some very substantial demand that they say it. anti-Semitism in that country. When are we going to grow up and not ers, including need to be pandered to, not need to hear what and strongly makes us feel good, even When it's something government has devoted millions that makes no sense and that we know won't ing security for Jews and happen, non-Jews. *AttheDemocraticConvention, anorgani- And for all that, Sharon slaps zation that calls itself The Israel Project held two big events for all the big shot politicians, be remembered, is the third journalists and businessmen in attendance, community in the world. One was a yacht party. Among those at- One tending, according to the Israel Project, were ing. It is pathetic t "several people who have lost loved ones to hayoutoftheirsufferir terrorists." I don't know about you, but noth- better move to Israel ing says yacht party to me like having people That is both obscenely who have lost loved ones to terrorists. Letthe threat that anti-Semitism is good times roll. obscenely portraying Israel as The Israel Project also held a rally featuring to only when you have more than 1,000 poster-size photos of Israelis * Speaking who have been killed in terrorist attacks, madeoutofthe factthatabout 1, Pathetic. The Israel Project says it is "devoted Jews are moving to Israel this to educating the press and the public about That is, of course, Israel." Since when is the sum total of Israel is a pathetic number from terrorism? almost six million. Enough. Is it a good idea to put forth an im- Especially considering that age of Israel to a huge gathering of influential 10 short years, there will be journalists and politicians? Yes, it very much ing in Israel and the West is. But why not talk about Israel's vibrant cul- will be Jews. , ture, its amazing medical and technological Itispathetictomakelikeit sa"z discoveries, how its economy is being freed, ment that 1,500 American JeWS the diversity of its people, its agricultural when, in fact, it is a massive wonders? is the result of in an Why, why, why do we always have to talk nipulate the e about terrorism? Yes, it's horrible, but it's Jewish one aspect of life in Israel, not the sum total of Israel. I don't want journalists and politi- See "Aaron" on