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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 24, 2018 From page 5A thought the law as currently worded contradicts Israel's best values as a Jewish and democratic state. By banning Israeli flags, theArab community's protest sent the opposite message. Arabs didn't come as proud Israelis who felt that Israel was betraying its best values; they came because they oppose the very existence of a Jewish state, up to and including its most innocuous symbol: the flag. And they object to the na- tion-state law not because of any infelicitous wording, but precisely because it enshrines aspects of Israel's Jewish iden- tity in a quasi-constitutional law, thereby making it harder (at least theoretically) for the Supreme Court to continue eroding this identity by inter- preting "Jewish" at a "level of abstraction so high that it be- comes identical to the state's democratic nature" (to quote former Supreme Court Presi- dent Aharon Barak). In other words, Arab demonstrators were dismayed because they fear the nation-state law will impede their decades-long effort to erode Israel's Jewish identity--which, of course, is precisely why the law's sup- porters favor it. Lest anyone think I'm reading too much into a flag ban, the HigherArab Monitor- ing Committee said all this explicitly in a document it commissioned in 2006. The first operative paragraph of "The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel" reads as follows: "Israel is the outcome of a settlement pro- cess initiated by the Zionist- Jewish elite in Europe and the west and realized by Colonial countries contributing to it and by promoting Jewish immigration to Palestine, in light of the results of the Second World War and the Holocaust." In other words, Israel is an illegitimate colonialist enterprise that has no right to exist. The document then pro- posed various mechanisms for eradicating Israel's Jew- ish identity, such as de- manding that the Arab minority be given veto power over any policy adopted by the Jewish majority. This, incidentally, would also destroy Israel's democratic character: Countries where ultimate decision-making power rests with the minor- ity rather than the majority aren't generally classified as democracies. Nevertheless, over the past decade, there's been a slow, grassroots movement toward greater integration in the Arab community. So one could simply argue that more time is needed before this sentiment trickles up to the community's leadership. But it's never been clear whether this integrationist movement represented grow- ing acceptance of a state that's both Jewish and democratic, or merely a growing belief that efforts to erase Israel's Jewish identitywere gaining momen- tum. After all, many Jews feel that the state's Jewish identity is under siege, which is pre- cisely why many supported the nation-state law. Thus it wouldn't be surprising if many Arabs had reached the same conclusion. Unfortunately, the Israeli flag ban at Saturday's dem- onstration indicates that the pessimistic interpretation may be more accurate. The worrying part isn't that Arab demonstrators didn't want to wave Israeli flags themselves; nobody has to wave flags at a demonstration. It's that any Jew who wanted to do so was declared persona non grata. In short, theArab community wasn't willing countenance any form of Jewish-Arab coop- eration that didn't include the Jews completely abdicating their identity. That is the real message of the missing Israeli flags. And it's one that anyone dreaming of a glorious new era of Jewish- Arab civic partnership should keep in mind. Because no such partnership is possible as long as the price of entry for Jews is abandoning Israel's Jewish identity. Evelyn Gordon is a journal- ist and commentator living in Israel. From page 8A Israeli gaze. If you want to see what coverage of the conflict would look like otherwise, read a pro-Palestinianwebsite like Electronic Intifada or a far-left Israeli site like +972. It's nothing like the Israel coverage you see in the main- stream media. The other kind of critic blames unpopular policy on bad hasbarah. Good hasbarah, they insist, could presumably have forestalled the brouhaha over the Israeli nation-state law (a brou- haha, I'd wager, that most Americans never even heard about). That story got legs not because of a bad market- ing rollout, but because the law was a policy decision that fed directly into a percep- tion that Israel's right-wing government was growing less democratic and more nationalistic. Passage of the law capped a week in which the Knesset allowed the education min- ister to bar groups critical of government policies from speaking in public schools, made it harder for Palestin- ians to win land disputes and blocked single men and gay couples from having children through surrogacy. More broadly, Netanyahu's close ties with President Donald Trump may be under- standable and justifiable, as is his outreach to European nationalists, but there is a political and PR price to be paid for such embraces. Netanyahu has good in- stincts for English-speaking audiences, and sometimes he realizes that a positive pitch can only get you so far. In the past few weeks, left-wing activists have complained that Israeli airport security have detained them and asked spe- cifically about their activism and their political beliefs. On Monday, after the liberal Zion- ist writer Peter Beinart said he was stopped and interrogated, Netanyahu issued a statement saying it was an "administra- tive mistake," adding that "Israel is the only country in the Middle East where people voice their opinions freely and robustly." The latter statement is a staple of pro-Israel hasbarah. It's a terrific policy, as long as it has the added benefit of being true. But when actions prove unpopular, PR won't save you. The root meaning of hasbarah is "explanation," not "alchemy." From page 9A participated in an anti-Rabin rally where some people waved photos of Rabin in an S.S. uniform and chanted that he was a traitor. It was Peres' election to lose. Enter Lauder, a Netanyahu ally since the man nicknamed Bibi was Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in the 1980s. Lauder reportedly was a major donor to Netan- yahu's 1996 run. More cru- cial, he brought Republican campaign strategist Arthur Finkelstein to work on the campaign. Finkelstein came up with the slogan "Peres will divide Jerusalem" in peace negotia- tions and it worked. A stark attack ad, complete with a black screen, red text and ominous narration, warned that Peres had failed while a Netanyahu victory would mean a "secure peace." A string of suicide bombings in the weeks before the election damaged the public's faith in Peres, and Netanyahuwon in a shocking upset, beating Peres by i percent. Lauder remained in Netan- yahu's corner for more than a decade, at one point even offering to buy every unsold copy of one of Netanyahu's books. In 1998, Netanyahu enlisted Lauder to pass on sensitive messages to then- Syrian President Hafez Assad in a failed attempt to broker a peace pact. During Netanyahu's 1999 re-election campaign, when Lauder chaired the Confer- ence of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organiza- tions, the mogul praised Ne- tanyahu's economic policies in a speech to the Shalem Center, which some took as an endorsement of his candidacy. Police investigating Netan- yahu for corruption report- edly questioned Lauder last year about gifts he has given the prime minister. So why the failing-out? In 2011, Israeli Channel 10 aired an unflattering investigation into Netanyahu's wife, Sara, accusing her of an inappro- priately extravagant lifestyle. Lauder has a partial stake in the channel, but refused to pressure Channel 10 to drop the segment. In the meantime, Bibi got a new benefactor: Sheldon Adelson. In 2007, the casino mogul and Republican mega- donor threw his heft behind Netanyahu. Adelson funds Israel Hayom, a free daily newspaper that supports the prime minister. Adelson also donated to President Donald Trump's campaign, helping bridge the two leaders. Since Trump took office, Lauder reportedly has tried to use his rapport with Trump, Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mah- moud Abbas to restart peace talks. But the effort so far has gone nowhere. So now Lauder has taken twice to the op-ed pages of The New York Times, slam- ming the man he once helped bring to power. "Israel is a miracle," Lauder wrote on Monday. "The Jews of the diaspora look up to Israel, admire its astonishing achievements and view it as their second home. However, today some wonder if the nation they cherish is losing its way." 36972854 1 281534976 547961832 654872319 From page 10A while the mixed [egalitarian] section is mostly empty." This leads Baratz to state that "this means that the drama [about the Western Wall] is in essence symbolic rather than real, and people are more tolerant to real-life problems and less tolerant in regard to symbolic battles." 'It is practically empty 365 days a year' One Jerusalemite who feels that it is unnecessary to change the status quo is Joshua Wander, a public- relations consultant and Temple Mount activist who lives on the Mount of Olives in the eastern side of the city. Wander has shared videos on social media of a completely empty egalitarian section of the Western Wall, entirely free of worshippers. "It is practically empty 365 days a year he says. If you go there any day of the year, you will find it abandoned," he says. To be fair, the entrance can often be overlooked, and many visitors simply don't know it's even there. Wander adds that those who want to change the arrangements, "will never be satisfied with what they are given. Their goal is to breakdown what they refer to as the 'Orthodox monopoly of the Kotel.' " Wander has also been to the wall during the monthly prayer sessions held on Rosh Chodesh (the new month) by the Women of the Wall, whose members often don phylacteries and wear prayer shawls, and at- tempt to sneak over Torah scrolls from the men's sec- tion to be used in their ser- vices. Sometimes, those gatherings lead to verbal confrontations and scuffles with others at prayer, along with conflicts with the authorities in charge of keeping the peace. He says that "what they are doing is making a mockery of the Western Wall. This is clearly a publicity stunt." Wander tempers his word by adding, "I'm sure there are members of the group who are sincere, but it's clear from the 'scene' that they are trying to make a statement. Unfortunately, that state- ment is very offensive to the vast majority of visitors to the Kotel, who are not interested in a fight, but in a spiritual uplifting experience. Their [Women of the Wail's] scene takes away from that." While the full government plan for the Western Wall remains frozen, earlier this month Netanyahu himself was approved to head a ministerial committee to implement part of the plan to expand the current egalitar- ian site thus creating a per- manent mixed prayer space. As JNS reported, Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev, who originally headed the panel along with Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, both resigned from the committee in protest over its mission. But as Rabbi Susan Silver- man, a member of Women of the Wall, has said: "Whether Miri Regev stays on the com- mittee or leaves the commit- tee is incidental." Silverman, an American native who lives in Jerusa- lem, says Regev "is part of the problem in the sense that the people in power in our government are doing everything they need to do to keep themselves in power without a sense of vision for the active, liberal, vibrant democracy that we could be." While the resignation of the ministers from the com- mittee caused further uproar among the non-Orthodox spiritual leaders of the vari- ous branches of Judaism in the Diaspora, once again, the reaction by the average Israeli was muted. Netanyahu may or may not succeed in fulfilling the committee's mandate, but it seems that for now, most Israeliswon't be actively lobbying for change. 713649285 928153467 43521 7698 196485723 872396154 From page 1A Joe and Lynn Goldovitz provide distinctively unique spiritual leadership. This organization serves as a house of prayer, assembly and study in which the spec- trum of Jewish expression is cultivated, protected and nurtured. With adult educa- tion, bible study groups, bar/ bat mitzvah study programs and group tours to Israel; they strive to educate adults and children in Judaism's rich heritage with contem- porary significance, while sharing Jewish culture, ritu- als, traditions and values. They hold Shabbat Services every Friday Night with To- rah readings, Bible & Bagel study workshops, Healing Services; many very creative service events as well as spe- cial services for every major Jewish Holiday. For more information about their Friday night and the upcoming High Holiday services, member- ship, and special events, contact Congregation Sinai at 1200 West Broad Street, Groveland, FL 34736 and phone 352-243-5353. Email info@congregation-sinai.org and visit www.congregation- sinai.org.