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PAGE 18A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 23, 2013 Terrorists From page 1A At the time of the Shalit prisoner swap, a number of legislators- including U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), former U.S. Reps, Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Howard Berman (D-CA)I and 52 other mem- bers of Congress--wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on the matter, urging him to prosecute the released Palestinian terrorists. The congressional ap- peals on the prosecution-of Palestinian prisoners by Rep. Salmon and others, however, - face some significant ob- stacles. In a reply letter sent to Sen. Inhofe dated April 5, 2012, which obtained from EMET, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich described "significant impediments" for prosecuting terrorist attacks that occur overseas. In particular, Weich noted that terrorist attacks in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza"present particular chal- lenges." According to Weich, these challenges are related to Israel's crime scene evidence collection. "For Israeli officials, the focus following an attack is often, understandably, on clearing the crime scene to minimize disruption, taking steps to prevent a further attack, and neutralizing op- eratives responsible, rather than on collecting evidence consistent with standards required for prosecution in the United States,"Weichwrote in the letter to Inhofe. Complicating matters fur- ther is the U.S. involvement in the effort to restart Israeli- Palestinian conflict nego- tiations, led by Secretary of State John Kerry. But Sarah Stern, founder and president of EMET, told that she believes "if the~'e is a will, there is a way" when it comes to U.S. pr0secutionofreleased Palestinian terrorists. Stern added, however, that she does not believe the DOJ has the will to prosecute these cases and is instead pointing to legal and bureaucratic obstacles that can easily be overcome. "I know there are serious obstacles, but if we really wanted to get these terrorists, we could," Stern said. Stern pointed to the case of Ahlam Tamimi, a Palestinian terrorist who was sentenced to multiple life sentences for her participation in the 2001 Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing in Jerusalem that .killed 15 civilians, includ- ing two Americans. She was later set free as a result of the Shalit deal. Tamimi now lives in Jordan and has become something of a celebrity. She hosts a television show on a Hamas-run satellite TV sta- tion about Palestinian prison- ers in Israeli jails, according to the Jerusalem Post. "We have an extradition treaty with Jordan. We could bring her to justice," Stern told J~! This sentiment has been echoed by Sherri Mandell, mother of terroir victim Koby Mandell, 13, who was brutally stoned to death along with his friend Yosef Ishran, 14, while on ahike outside of their home in Tekoa in the Gush Etzion area of Judea and Samaria in 2001, at the beginning of the Second Intifada. Koby was an Israeli-American and his murder inspired the creation of the DOJ's Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Ter- rorism (OJVOT). The Koby Mandell Act, a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Congress spearheaded by the Zionist Organization of America, became law after it was incorporated into a larger spending bill in 2005. It re- quired the U.S. Attorney Gen- eral to establish the OJVOT to monitor acts of terrorism againstAmericans outside the U.S., and to attempt to bring to justice those terrorists who have harmed Americans. "While in 2005 the Justice Department established an of- fice in my son Koby Mandell's name in order to pursue the killers of American citizens in israel, the office has never done anything to prosecute Palestinian terrorists," Man- dell wrote in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post in April 2012. "We feel that we are again victims: the office is an affront to my son's name," Mandell wrote. Stern said that she believes the OJVOT is not living up to its mission. "They could be a real advo- cate for the victims of terrorist attacks," Stern said. Since 2005, the OJVOT has only prosecuted one terrorist who murdered an American citizen--the killer of a Christian missionary in Indonesia--according to EMET. Again referring to the Ta- mimi case, Stern believes that it presentsan opportunity for the U.S. to do more for the victims of terrorism as well as to deter future violence against Americans. "That case could set an excellent example to theworld and show terrorists that they will be held accountable for killing American citizens," Stern concluded. ArnoldRoth,whose 15-year- old daughter Malki was killed in the attack orchestrated by Tamimi, has been highly critical of both the Shalit deal through which Tamimi was freed and the latest deal to free 104 Palestinian terrorists for renewed Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations. "From the standpoint of simple negotiating theory, what Israel has done, even if Israel never actually delivers, is a losing move," Roth told in July. "Even if there were a case for saying Israel ought to concede to a list of pre-negotiating demands from the other side, freeing terrorists ought never to have been one of theha." "I am emphatically not political, and it does not come naturally to me to be speaking against something the govern- ment in its wisdom decided to do" Roth added. "But the idea to hand over murderers in order to prime some sort of negotiat- ing pump simply enrages me." Among the 26 terrorists in the first phase of the prisoner release for Israeli-Palestinian conflict talks, 17 were con- victed of murder, and the remaining prisoners were jailed on charges of man- slaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping and conspiring to commit murder. Included in the deal are the terrorists who killed Menachem Dadon and Salomon Abukasis in Gaza in 1983, Israel Tenenbaum at the Sironit hotel in Netanya in 1993, Israel Defense Forces reserves soldier Binyamin Meisner in Nablus in 1989, Isaac Rotenberg at a construc- tion site in Petah Tikva in 1994, one of the men involved in the murder of Simcha Levy in 1993, and one of the terror- ists involved in the murder of Haim Mizrahi near Beit El in 1993. Alsb included in the pris- oner release is the=terrorist who carried out the 1~90 stabbing attack on bus line 66, which was traveling from Petah Tikva to Tel Aviv, Israel Hayom reported. Knesset member for the U.S., Alroey became increas- lookatAmericanJews, Ruder- research and advanced in: Study of East European Im- ...... :From page 2A "The key to understanding American Jewry is first to understand American sod- ety," Prof. Gur Alroey, chair of the School of History at the University of Haifa and director of the new program, tells A highlight of the curricu- lum will be a 10-day trip to the U.S. Students will attend lectures, tour Ellis Island, and explore the Tenement Museum in lower Manhattan. The group also will visit Phila- delphia's National Museum of American Jewish History, which houses a comprehen- sive exhibit detailing Jewish immigration to America from colonial times through the present. "The trip will be the equiva- lent of Birthright for Israelis, only the experience will be academic rather than primar- ily cultural;" Alroey says. Ronit Tirosh, a former Kadima party and the first chair of the Ruderman Foun- dation's Knesset caucus on relations between Israel and the American Jewish com- munity, introduced Alroey to Jay Ruderman, ultimately leading to the new program's formation. Alroey spent two years guest lecturing in the U.S. at both New York University (NYU) and Rutgers University. Prof. Hasia Diner--a scholar in American Jewish history at NYU who next summer in New York will teach 10- day course on the American Jewish past and present for students of the new Ruderman program--says she has been "very impressed" with Alroey's scholarship over the years. "I consider l~s move to create this program a bril- liant academic intervention and look forward to working with him," Diner tells During his stay in the ingly aware of the attitudes commonly shown by Israelis toward their most important ally~ "The reality is that our treatment of the Jewish American community in Israel has been superficial at best," Airoey says. "How can it be that numerous programs exist At Israeli universities for Asian, African and European studies, yet there is not a single program dedicated to the study of the American Jewish Community?" Ruderman, who has lived in Israel since 2005, says that while American Jews "prob- ably look at themselves as both American and Jewish," Israelis may look at them and say, "Well, their real identity is Jewish, and they should be living in Israel, but because it's more comfortable, or for whatever reason,' they're in America." But that is "not a correct and honest way" to man says. From Alroey's perspective, this problem stems from Israel's founding as a Jewish state, and as the declared gath7 ering place for diaspora Jews. "Throughout the '50s and '60s, Israeli society was very nationalist, and ideologically driven," Alroey says. "There- fore, itwas problematic to say {hat Jews had two good im- migration options, the United States and Israel.!' Such ideological complexi= ties prevented the develop- ment of academic programs and curricula in Israel that address the American-Jewish experience. Beyond requiring Israeli students to learn Eng- lish, there is no infrastructure in place to teach American studies and to encourage its presentation in grade school and study at the university level. There is also a lack of -related source materials avail- able in Hebrew. Consequently, Israeli stu- dents and citizens are sus- ceptible to adopting negative stereotypes aboutAmericans. At the same time, some Israe- lis may take for granted the generous financial contribu- tions American Jews make regularly to Israel, foreign aid that is crucial to ensure Israel's security and survival in a hostile neighborhood. "In general, Israelis and Israeli scholars know little aboutAmerican Jewry," NYU's Diner says. "Historically, they have expected thd Jews of the United States to provide money and political support, particularly vis-a-vis the U.S. government, but have no idea as to how Jews in the United States have gone about the process of both integrating into American life and build- ing their own communities. They do not understand the ways in which living in this particular multi-religious, multi=ethnic society [ofAmer- ica] has shaped Jewish options and expectations, and how those changed over time." Amos Shapira, president of the University of Haifa, says he sees the university "first and" foremost as a center for struction in critical fields, but also as a tool for strengthening the Jewish state." "One of the primary stra- tegic issues in Israel is the connection with the United States, and throughout the past three decades I believe this bond has weakened," Shapira tells "The program initiated by Profes- sor Alroey will create a new generation of educated and engaged citizens who share a deeper understanding of the American relationship." There is high demand for the pioneering Ruderman program. When the univer- sity posted an advertisement soliciting applications for the inaugural class, the school was inundated with nearly 100 responses in less than three weeks. Interviews were soon held to select a diverse group of students consist- ing of high school teachers, businessmen andwomen, and former emissaries of the Jew- ish Agency for Israel and the Taglit-Birthright program. "The program is ideal for Students who have already had significant encounters withAmerican6, but who now desire an academic perspec- tive," Alroey says. "Excellent English is a must." A cornerstone of the pro- gram will be the initiative to conduct new research on Jewish-American topics. Each year students will assist in translating one important American text into Hebrew. Additionally, guest professors from the United States and of- ficials involved with political, social, and religious aspects of Israeli-American relations will be invited to share their perspectives. Course offerings will in- clude: American Jews and the American Political System; American Jews: From Melting Pot to Minority Group; The American Zionist Leadership: Jewish Culture in America; American Jewry and the Jewish World; Immigrants, Revolutionaries, Intellectu- als; American Jewry Between Culture and Politics; and New York TelAviv:AComparative migrant Societies. The immediate goals of the program are exploratory, but long-term expectations of graduates are high. "Today's students are tomorrow's teachers, activists and Knes- set members," Shapira says. "We hope students will use what they learn to prompt a larger dialogueamong Israelis " and to inspire improved U.S.- Israel relations." "The Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies will be one of a kind and an important development in Israeli academia," saysAlroey. "We expect other Israeli uni- versities to develop similar programs soon, helping to build the informed infrastruc- ture we need and desire." Jay Ruderman, meanwhile, looks forward to an improved discourse among Israelis re- garding the American Jewish community. Before, Ruderman was ac- customed to hearing Ameri- can Jewish leaders "whisper to me or to themselves on the side that, 'Hey, I just talked to the [Israeli] foreign ministry, and they don't understand what's going on with us; or 'I went to the Knesset and they didn't know the differ- ence between AIPAC and ADL (Anti-Defamation League)." As a result of the program, however, Ruderman hopes American Jewish leaders will witness a change in Israeli attitudes instead be able to say, "Hey, Israel has woken up, they get it. They're people who really get this issue [of the American Jewish com- munity]." Ruderman says the initial $2 million combined invest- ment from the foundation and the university is expected to sustain the program for five years. "Scholarship is an invest- the future," he says. "You never know, when you support scholarship, where someone is going to end up." More information on the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies can be found at http://ajs.haifa.