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August 24, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 24, 2012 PAGE 17A I Message From page 1A Barak, who argued that Is- rael risks more in the short term by not striking than it does by striking; .the appointment to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet of Avi Dicht r, a former head of Israel's internal security service, the Shin Bet, to brink the home front up to speed; a series of notices to the Israeli public, including a call to update gas mask equipment and a listing of Tel Aviv underground park- ing lots that could double as bomb shelters. a series of public state- ments by Israel's ambassa- dor to Washington, Michael Oren, suggesting that an Israeli strike would reap suf- ficient rewards to justify it. "One, two, three, four yea rs are a long time in the Middle East look what's happened in the last year," Oren said this week in a Bloomberg News interview. addressing the claim that an Israeli strike would "only" delay Iran and not end the nuclear program. A key Israeli fear is that a nuclear Iran would provide chairman of the military an umbrella to hostile forces "Joint Chiefs of Staff, said consolidating their hold an Israeli strike would have along Israel's borders in Leb- anon and the Gaza Strip, and possibly in Syria and Egypt as those nations undergo turmoil that threatens to disrupt decades of peace on their borders. "The idea of these non- state actors on Israel's borders which may be con- trolled by a nuclear Iran is a serious threat, the kind of which Israel has not encountered before," Asher Susser, a senior fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, Said in a conference call organized by the Israel Policy Forum on Aug. 16. Still, Obama administra- tion officials are not yet publicly buying the rhetoric. "I don't believe they've made a decision as to wheth- er or notthey will go in and attack Iran at this time," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters.on Aug. 15. "With regards to the issue of where we're at from a diplomatic point of view. the reality is that we still think there is room to continue to negotiate." Gen. Martin Dempsey, the limited effect. "I may not know about all of their capabilities, but I think that it's a fair char- acterization to say that they could delay but not destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities," Dempsey said at the same briefing. Such sanguinity may be out of place, Susser said, adding that the notices to the public regarding home- front preparedness are not feints. "I don't think the Israelis are bluffing," he said. "The people are getting the message,a The likeliest means to shut down the escalating rhetoric, Susser added, would be for the Obama administration to reassure Israel and not necessar- ily in public that it would convey to Iran that military action was inevitable and not just a possibility if Iran does not stand down. Netanyahu and Barak would want to hear "a very firm commitment from the United States that it will use force, not anything less not 'all options are on the table,' not 'any means necessary,' but that the U.S. will take a clear commit- ment to use force when the time comes," he said. "If the Israelis are convinced that the Americans are not going to take action against Iran, Barak and Netanyahu may very well come to the con- clusion that they have to." Obama administration officials over the last several months have lobbied Israel intensely to tamp down talk of a strike, and to wait out a U.S. strategy of exhausting economic and diplomatic pressure as a means of get- ting Iran to stand down from its suspected nuclear weapons program. Yaari said Israel's leader- ship was not convinced, noting similar reassurances from successive U.S. admin- istrations regarding North Korea, belied ultimately by that nation's nuclear tests. "It's very much on the minds of Barak and Netan- yahu that 'the United States will not allow North Korea to acquire nuclear weapons'- and we know the end to that story," he said. Israelis favor a U.S. lead should it come to military action against Iran. polls show. A poll published last week by the Israel Democ- racy Institute and Tel Aviv University and reported by Bloomberg showed 61 percent of Israelis oppose an Israeli strike without U.S. coopera- tion. It had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. tense relations with Obama, is seen as close to the Repub- licans and has a longstand- ing friendship with Romney. "Mr. Prime Minister, you want a crude, rude, Meanwhile, a number ofunprecedented, reckless Israeli figures have lashed and risky intervention in out against Netanyahu and the U.S. elections," Mofaz Barak, saying that the gov- said in remarks translated ernment's ratcheting up of by Globes, the Israeli busi- the rhetoric could backfire. "It's clear to us "that we can't do it alone," Israeli President Shimon Peres said in remarks on Israel's Channel Two that were seen as a rare rebuke to the gov- ernment from the largely ceremonial office. "It's clear' to us we have to p~;oceed together with America." Several Likud Knesset members told the media that Peres was speaking out of turn. Shaul Mofaz, the leader of the opposition Kadima Party, was more blunt in his assessment of the risks of confronting the United States. In a blistering Knes- set speech, he accused Ne- tanyahu of trying to weigh in on the U.S. elections. undercutting Obama in favor of Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Netanyahu. who has had ness daily. "You are trying to frighten us and terrify us. And in truth, we are scared--scared by your lack of judgment, scared that you 15oth lead and don't lead, scared that you are executing a dangerous and irresponsible policy." Meir Javedanfar, an Iran- born Israeli analyst, said that Netanyahu's talk of war diminished the real results that U.S.-led sanctions were having on the Iranian the- ocracy's viability. "I don't think that the ruling echelon in Israel understands that as much as the Iranian regime does not want war; it's not an existen- tial threat," he said. "What is an existential threat are the sanctions. And the more attention that is diverted from the existential threat of the sanctions, the less the regime needs toaddress them." By Naomi Pfefferman Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles William Friedkin. the Os- car-winning director of"The French Connection." "The Exorcist" and now ~Killer Joe" about a violently dys- functional Texas family--was courtly and chivalrous at the Four Seasons hotel recently, moving a comfortable chair over for me and offering coffee before he dug into his English muffin and eggs. But he began the conversa- tion with a surprising revela- tion about his penchant for extreme plots and characters: "I could have been a v ry violent person," the 76-year- old filmmaker said of his childhood. "I had no sense of right and wrong." Despite the influence of Hebrew school and his loving parents. Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine. he said. "my peer pressure was such that I was involved in armed robberies as a young teenager." Casual violence erupted throughouthis neighborhood on the north side of Chicago; while his own home was peaceful, domestic beatings were de rigueur in the building inwhich the Friedkins lived in a one-room apartment. Police brutality also was common on the streets, and father- daughter sex was rampant in outlying areas where residents had relocated from the South, the director said. At Hebrew school Friedkin himself was bullied by an older boy who every day would "seek me out, push me around and in general, give me a hard time," he said. "I remember having great anxiety over this and I never talked to my parents about it, because I felt ashamed. Then one day I remember waking up in the morning and thinking, 'I don't have to take this anymore.' I had been watching wres- a tling.on television, so when this boy approached me after school, took my books and tossed them. l immediately grabbed him. put him in a headlock,and banged his head against the pavement. I had the distinct desire tokill him. I remember this as though it was yesterday: I wanted to see him die. but I was pulled off of him. And so I understand that [murderous] instinct. Over the years, it has made me realize that there good and evil in all of us." That's part of the reason Friedkin,was drawn to "Killer Joe." an adaptation of the 1993 play by Pulitzer Prize win- ning author Tracy Letts, who also wrote the screenplay. "It offers some insight into the crooked timbre of humanity," he said. "Tracy and I share the same world view. in which we perceive a lot of human behavior as absurd, paranoid, schizophrenic and shocking." "Killer Joe" spotlights a trailer trash clan portrayed by Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon (as the flawed dad and stepmother) and Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple (as their equally- compromised children). The action kicks off as they hire Joe Cooper I Matthew McConaughey) a Dallas cop who moonlights as a hit- man to kill the kids' biologi- cal mother for the insurance, money. As collateral, they offer up the virginal Dottie. (Temple) to Joe as a"retainer;" a twisted love story ensues, as does pedophilia, blood, gore and an unspeakable sexual act with a fried chicken leg. "I'm attracted to charac- ters whose backs are against the wall, who perceive they have few alternatives except to act in absurd and often self-destructive ways," Fried- kin said. "I'm ng drawn to calm little pieces of mate- rial, where nothing especially dramatiC" occurs. And I'm very not drawn at all" to roman- tic comedies or the thhags that have become staples of American'television I can't even watch them. and I don't believe them at all. Series like 'Father Knows Best.' for example. I think are really pornographic.' with the false impression they give of the -American family." Friedkin's own childhood family was intensely Jewish: his ,parents kept kosher and observed all the holidays. These days, he said, "I don't dispute the teachings of Moses. and I feel very close to God when I'm in Israel. I'm a Jew, and that's it. In my heart I believe completely in The Ten Commandments, but I also believe we are all imperfect and at times we just can't cut it." When Friedkin was /3, he said, he and two friends decided to rob Goldblatt's department store in Chicago, just for kicks. "I had a zip gun, as did my compatriots; we didn't need anything, but we thought it would just be fun to rob a department store," he said. "But the house detec- tive caught us. It was shortly after my bar mitzvah,and my mother was called down to the store. I loved my mother deeply and I saw that what I did made her cry she was sobbing. I realized how I had let her down and I stopped my [criminal activities] cold; that was it." Friedkin found a more suitable outlet in the movies, andwas so smitten by"Citizen Kane' that he eventually pur- sued a career as a filmmaker. While he is best known for "The French Connection" (1971) and "The Exorcist," (1973), his movies have also included 1985's "To Live and Die in L.A." and 2006's "Bug," based on Letts' 1996 play, which won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Fes- tival. Friedkin has also been e well received as a director of operas, including a production "of "Samson and Delilah" that was performed in Tel Aviv. "Killer Joe" is. in its way, operatic: "It reminds me of Al- ban Berg's opera. "Wozzeck.'" which l directed, in that it's a kind of very claustrophobic chamber piece, and that it ultimately ends up as a trag- edy and most of opera is tragedy," Friedkin said. The jet-black comedy vir- tually explodes into graphic images of sex and violence, [SPOILER ALERT] including that cringeworthy chicken leg scene, which actress Gina Gershon, as the film's evil stepmother, enacts near the end of the movie. McConaughey reportedly was so disgusted when he first read the script of the film which has received an NC-17 rating that he had the strong urge to take a shower: his friends convinced him to take the role, in part, by emphasizing the movie's dark humor. Gershon "understood the dark side of her character." Friedkin said. "At first she didn't want to go there, as there were times that were very difficult.-not only for an actress but for a human being." How did" Friedkin direct the most intense sequences? "I tried to create a relaxed at- mosphere onthe set, and give the actors the sense that they weren't going to feel judged or humiliated, but rather a freedom to create," he said. He added that Letts based his play on a real murder that took place in Miami years ago. "The film is set in a contem- porary world, and nothing shocks me in this world," he said. "That's why I was able to approach this film." Naomi Pfefferman is the arts and entertainment edi- tor at The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. 3 SERVICES rial Edward & Sandi Fast Service Reasonable Prices *FREE Estimates Handyman Services Specializing in Roof Repair and of all types of Home Repair Beljay Roofing, Inc, ~;~ Call Robert at 407.970,4448 ~:~".'"Jf ~ z,Guaranteed Roof & Home Repairs t~i Shii~gle, Flat, Tile, Metal Repairs & Reroofs I sioiog. D a,- Paioti.g ~ Insured CCC1328227 PUBLIC INVITATION A multi-media presentation about recent events in Europe and Israel Presented by: DR. KENNETH HANSON JUDMC STUDIES DEPT. 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