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August 8, 2014

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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 8, 2014 By Dmitriy Shapiro Washington Jewish Week Anew Pew Research Center poll showing Republicans as more sympathetic to Is- rael than Democrats has left Jewish Democratic leaders searching for an explanation of the partisan gap. Conducted from July 8-14, the week Israel began its air operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip but before its ground invasion, the poll asked 1,805 respondents, "In the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, which side do you sympathize with more--Israel or the Palestin- ians?" Possible answers were: Israel, Palestinians, both, neither, don't know or refused to answer. Seventy-three percent of Republican respondents said they sympathize with Israel in the conflict, compared to 44 percent of Democrats. The results mark a change from the same question in an April poll in which 68 percent of Republicans sympathized with Israel and 46 percent of Democrats did. "For years, public opinion polls have documented the large gap in support for Is- rael between Republicans and Democrats, with Republicans being far more supportive of Israel," Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Committee, said in a statement July 15. A closer look at the new poll reveals further divides. Respondents considering themselves conservative Re- publicans supported Israel by 77 percent, compared to 68 percent of moderate Re- publicans. Among Demo- crats, 48 percent of moderate Democrats supported Israel, compared to 39 percent of liberal Democrats. Brooks called the poll re- sults, coming during a time of war, "a sad and sobering confirmation of the Democrat Party's shift over time away from support of Israel, espe- cially at its grassroots [level]." "If support for Israel ceases Opening Day of School Sunday, August 17 Kindergarten through 7th Grade Rabbi Joshua Neely Principal W 9:00 am Registration / Bagel Schmooze / Medical Form Pictures - Roth Social Hall 9:30 am Opening Assembly - Rein Sanctuary 10:00 am Parent Meeting - Rein Sanctuaw Reach Out to Temple Israel's Meitin Religious School Building Community Since 1954 50 South Moss Roa~d .Winter Springs, FL.32708 407-647-3055 to be bipartisan, the U.S.- Israel relationship--which is of so much benefit to both countries--will suffer," he said. Some Democratic sup- porters of Israel suggest that the poll's question skewed the answers. U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who is Jewish and one of the stron- gest pro-Israel voices in the House of Representatives, questioned the use oftheword "sympathize." "The word sympathy tends to ask, 'Who do you think is downtrodden and having a difficult life?'" Sherman told "Look, the average Israeli lives a pretty good life [com- pared to] our image of the average Palestinian." U.S. Rep. Henry Wax- man (D-Calif.) said some Democrats are siding against Israel for well-meaning, but ill-informed, reasons. "I think people on the left side of the political spectrum are moved by the sight of in- nocent civilians getting killed and injured," said Waxman. "More of that has happened on the Palestinian side and [voters are] seeing people that were not combatants" being injured or killed, he said, add- ing that such observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "may not have the perspective that Israel cannot tolerate a constant bombardment that is coming in from Gaza and [the Israelis] have no other choice than to hit back." Waxman added that the opinions reflected in the poll numbers are not shared by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, who consistently and, usually unanimously, pass bills and resolutions in support of Israel. Sherman said that contrary to the poll results, threats to support for Israel come from both right and left. "You have on the Repub- lican side the Rand Paul isolationists, who are probably the greatest threat as a prac- tical matter to U.S. support for Israel... And you have on the left, and have always had on the left, people who are misguided because they want to support the underdog and they think that because the average Israeli is richer than the average Palestinian, and because Israel is the most powerful military west of the Jordan," they need to sympa- thize with the Palestinians, explained Sherman. Another problem, accord- ing to Sherman, is what he calls the "Kent State Ror- schach test." The shooting of students protesting U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War by the Ohio National Guard in 1970 at Ohio's Kent State University was a defining moment for many liberals, he said. "There are some liberals who don't bother to figure out who's right or wrong in any conflict. They just root for the scruffy-looking students and root against the uniformed military, because they see everything as a Rorschach test reminding them of Kent State," said Sherman. "These are folks [for whom] you could show them any inkblot and they would see an anti-war confrontation at Kent State University, and you root against whoever is wearing military uniforms and vote in favor of whoever is scruffy and has rocks. Those problems afflict a few liberals in this country." According to Sherman, vot- ers lacking information could easily jump to conclusions based on their bias. "When I see a bar fight, I don't bother to figure out who's right and who's wrong," joked Sherman, who is bald. "I just root for the bald guy." But Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said that in a time of crisis, it's more important to highlight Jewish unity than discord. "I think that talking about polls and policies now, in the midst of a crisis, is a misdirec- tion of energy," he said. Participants in last year's walk include (l-r) Alan Hellman, Maryie Hellman, Jeannie Glick, Jay Glick, Sheryl Meitin and Julian Meitin. COMMITTED EDUCATED AND EXPE The entire community is invited to enjoy a free bagel breakfast and live entertain- ment at "A Walk in the Park," a family-friendly festival on Sunday, Oct. 26, 9:30 a.m., at Crane's Roost Park in Al- tamonte Springs. The festivities will include activities for children such as face painting, bounce house and clowns, a health fair, vendors, a walk and prizes galore. Proceeds benefit the Jewish Pavilion. The Pavilion ensures that our elders in long-term care are not alone in the world. They arrange one-on-one visits, holiday celebrations, intergenerational activities, and ice cream socials. Pa- vilion staff and volunteers visit over a thousand se- niors all over Orlando. The Orlando Senior Help Desk operates under the Pavilion and provides for a free social worker who can advise and assist with all senior needs. For more information call 407-678-9363 or visit www. We need your support before August 26. Visit us online: www, Orlando Sentinel Kevin Weiss... is the most qualified candidate in this two-man race for an open seat. He's a top-rated lawyer who managed his own successful law firm and still found time to be active in legal and community groups. It's notable that [State Attorneys] Lamar and Ashton chose to endorse Weiss in this race ... We do, too. 2014 The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando is proud to celebrate two years of menschs! At this year's An- nual Meeting, the "Mensch of the Week Hall of Fame" will proudly be displayed for the second year in a row. The mensch of the week program highlights an outstanding individual each week in the MaNishma e-blast. It's an opportunity to recognize the hardworking community members that make Jewish Orlando thrive. Do you know a mensch? Nominate your very own "Mensch of the Week!" Email Dana Nichols at with a name of someone you be- lieve to be an extraordinary person who gives so much to our community. Please in- clude their full name, title/ organization (if applicable), a photo and a few bullet points of why they should be highlighted as Mensch of the Week. The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's Annual Meeting will be held on Aug. 24 at 3:30 p.m. at the Mai- tland Jewish Community Campus (851 N. Maitland Avenue Maitland, FL 32751). All community members are welcome to attend. RSVP at or call Becca Ginns at 407-645-5933.