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September 5, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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September 5, 2003
 

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PAGE 14 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, ollah getting pragmatic as By Gil Sedan JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Re- lations between Israel and Hezbollah may be reaching a historic turning point: For one of the first times in the complicated relationship be- tween Israel and the radical Shi'ite organization, it seems that Hezbollah has blinked first. A fewdays ago, Hezbollah allowed a German mediator to visit kidnapped Israeli businessman EIhanan Tannenbaum, who is being held in Lebanon. Despite its threats to kid- nap Israeli soldiers to speed up negotiations for the re- lease of Lebanese prisoners in Israel, Hezbollah gave in to the Israeli position that a precondition for negotiations was a sign that Tannenbaum was still alive. In a speech three months ago, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrailah, purposely was vague about Tannenbaum's fate in an effort to keep Israel guessing -- and to raise the value of a possible deal for information on the captured businessman. Indeed, in the past, Nasrallah has demanded a high price -- such as the release of thousands of Pal- estinian prisoners and 12 Lebanese held in Israel, in exchange for information on missing Israelis believed held in Lebanon. Eventually, however, Hezbollah was forced to de- liver the information first, allowing German mediator Ernest Uhrlau to visit Tannenbaum. Uhrlau re- ported that the prisoner was in fair condition. The Shi'ite militant group was immediately rewarded. On Monday, Israel released the bodies of two Hezboilah fighters killed in south Leba- non in the late 1990's, turn- ing them over to the Red Cross in Lebanon. All of a sudden, a deal with Hezbollah seemed more pos- sible than ever before. Israel is demanding the re- turn of Tannenbaum and three soldiers kidnapped along the border three years ago, who Israel believes are dead. In exchange, Israel is offering to release 12 Leba- nese prisoners, including Shi'ite activist Mustafa Dirani and Sheik Abdul Karim Obeid, one of the lead- ers of Hezbollah. This is a breakthrough, said reserve Brig. Gen. Rafi Noi, former head of Israel's northern command. According to Noi, it is sig- nificant that Hezbollah made the first move this week, seeming just as eager to strike a deal as Israel. Three factors led to the apparent change in Hezbollah's attitude. First, there is growing in- ternal pressure: Families of Lebanese prisoners held in Israel are losing patience over Hezbollah's failure to reach an agreement for the release of their relatives. The Shi'ite group is facing growing criti- cism that it needlessly esca- lates the conflict along Israel's border at a time when Lebanon finally is recover- ing economically from years of war. Second, there is increas- ing international pressure on Hezbollah: The war in Iraq and heavy American pressure on Syria and Iran sent a clear Publication Date: September 19, 2003 ,dvertising Deadline: September 10, 2003 staunchly stand its signal to Hezbollah that it no longer enjoys the automatic support of its two state spon- " sors. Third, there is concern that escalating tensions or even just maintaining the status quo with Israel could jeopardize Hezbollah's sta- tus in Lebanon. But both Israel and Hezbollah are dancing on a tightrope. Two weeks ago, relations seemed to reach a dangerous point when Hezbollah fired an anti-aircraft missile across the border. The rocket killed photo an Israeli youth in the town Sheik Abdul Karim Obeid, left, a Hezbollah of Shlomi and forced resi- Shi'ite activist Mustafa Dirani appear in a dents of the northern Israeli May 2000. Obeid and Dirani have been held since city of Kiryat Shmona into seizure by Israel in 1988 and 1994, respectively. bomb shelters. Thanks to tough Israelitheframeworkofa"compre-hisor warnings and American me- hensive settlement" in the less powerful. diation, Hezbollah restrained region, he said. itselffromfurtheraction, and In some ways, it is easier and Israel already quiethas returned to Israel's for Israel to negotiate with ing Iran and Syria. northern border. Hezbollah than with the Pal- Shlomi incident, At present, Hezbollah estinians. In contrast to the fighter jets buzzed fighters are deployed all Palestinian arena, with its ace of Syrian along Israel's border with multiplicity of competing Bashar Assad as a Lebanon, from Metulla in and overlapping groups,against Syrian the east to Rosh Hanikra in Hezbollah is a very struc- ofattacks from Lebanon thewest.Theymanpositions tured organization, with po- Israel. and fly their flags, often liticai wings and social ser- The decision within view of Israeli sol- vice branches in addition to German mediator to diers on the other side of the the military branch. Tannenbaum can be border fence. Nasrallah is the group's to a recent Hezbollah also is believed uncontested leader. He was to have thousands of mis- elected to his post in 1992 help with the Israeli sties deployed in southern after Abbas Mussawi was as- Lebanon that could hit ma- sassinated in an Israeli mis- ently received clear jor Israeli population cen- sile strike, from Damascus that it ters. Friends and enemies alike time to take a different! "There is a new situation -- including Israel -- con- tion in negotiating and Hezbollah faces new di- sider Nasrallah a man who rael. lemmas," Middle East expert honors his word. Yet Nasrallah is Ya'acov Havakuk said. "I recall that at times we hard bar "The organization now re- refrained from takingcertain toward a final alizes that the situation is action againstHezbollah, be- long and winding more complex than in the cause Nasrallah threatened Eyal Ziss~r,a past and that it cannot beat that they would respond so Middle East studies Israel." and so, and we knew that he Aviv University, In a recent interview with would stand by his word," that Nasrallah will the Christian Science Moni- Noi said. the maximum out of tor, Nasrailah said his group's Nasrallah maintains that until a deal is sealed. militarywingdidnothaveto he does not receive orders And, of course remain a permanent fixture from Iran and Syria, butheis ways the possibility along the border. However, wellawarethatwithouttheir Hezbollah could thiscouldchangeonlywithin support in money and arms, mind at the By Tom Tugend poser Mario Castelnuovo- emigr~ composerS, Tedesco and songs from the formed by more than LOS ANGELES (JTA)-- American Yiddish stage,artists, includin The first of 80 projected Among October and'No- tots, 26 choral compact discs spanning vember releases are Jewish- cantors, 15 more than three centuries themed compositions by sembles and 10 of Jewish music in America Leonard Bernstein, someTheambitious will be released on Sept. 23. never heard before, andinitiated and The Milken Archive of Darius Milhaud's "Service by the American Jewish Music, by Sacre." dation which far the most comprehensive Performers include Jew-founding in 1982 compilation of its kind, has ish and non-Jewish musi- awa~ been l3 years in the making, cians, including the BBC marilyforl at a cost of $17 million so far. Singers, the Barcelona Sym- cationand medical Fifty of the CDs will be phony, the Vienna Boys released over the next two Choir and jazz legend Dave of the Santa years by Naxos AmericanBrubeck in his "Gates ofJus- based foundation, Classics, featuring 600tice" cantata. The collection co-foundedwith works-- more than 500 of will be complemented by the former j which have never beforefirst definitive textbook on Michael Milken. been recorded or released American Jewish music. "I commercially. Atalaterdate, thearchive archive will be felt The compositions range will release a 20-volume box dredyears from Sephardicchants sung setofsome80CDs, arranged Miiken said. "I see by the first Jews to settle in according to historical, li- mostlon America in the ]7thcentury turgical and social themes, the Milken to current jazz-inspired ii- and musical genres. The set ever undertaken." turgical music. Also in- will also include oral histo- The Miiken cluded are operas, sympho- ties of living and recently the Jewish nies, klezmer, chambermu- deceased artists, extensive Seminary sic, ballets, hits of the Yid- liner notes and essays by afive-da~ dish theater, and songs of leading scholars, ference and festival Zionism and social action. The artistic director of the York this fall called For instance, the first five project is Neil Levin, an as- America: Jewish CDs coming out in Septem- sistant professor at the Jew- Land of Freedom." bet feature highlights from ish Theological Seminary of The Nov. 7-11 Kurt Weill's "The Eternal America. Hesaidthe collec- also mark the Road," klezmer concertos, tionofthe first 50 discs rep- versary Sabbath and memorial ser- resents the works of more firstJq vicesby Italian-Jewish corn- than200American bornandbe called the