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September 21, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 PAGE 17A Pita From page 1A and France. "The kids were small andwe said, 'It's better to come'"to Is- rael, said Avraham Doukhan, a French real estate broker ~vho made aliyah 15 years ago. Doukhan says the younger generation of French immi- grants generally is integrat- ing well. "The kids, they aren't French, they're Israeli. They .know Hebrew better than French," he said. With 600,000 ~ews, France is the world's third largest Jewish community behind Israel and the United States. The immigration le~ls of the past few years mean that one of every 300 French Jews is making aliyah--more than five times the annual rate of U.S. residents moving to Israel. French Israelis say that anti-Semitism in France motivates Jews to come to Israel, as the growing French community here becomes increasingly attractive. "They began to understand that they are less than -1 per- cent of the [French] popula- tion and Arabs are larger," said Avi Zana, director of Ami, an Israeli organization that aids French immigrants. "The only option is to close ranks in the community, to express themselves less as Jews. Jews feel Comfortable, safer in Israel." Attacks against Jews and Jewish sites have made the country's Jewish community insecure, from the crashing of stolen cars into'a synagogue in 2002 through the abduc- tion andsubsequent death of Ilan Halimi, 23, in 2006, and to the Toulouse shooting at a Jewish school in March in which four Jews were killed. The SPCJ, the French Jewish community's protection ser- vice, documented more than 90 anti-Semitic incidents in the 10 days that followed the Toulouse shooting. In 2004, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called for French Jews to immigrate en masse to Israel, caus- ing controversy in France. But Christ.ophe Bigot, the French ambassador to Israel, praised France's fight against anti-Semitism and said that positive feelings, rather than fear of attacks, should drive immigration to Israel. "Real immigration should be driven by Zionism, reli- gious beliefs, familial reasons, but not by fear," Bigot said. "On the French side we've taken every action to ensure the security of the French Jew- ish community. That doesn't mean it's always successful, of course." The French Consulate has taken notice of the growing expatriate community here and provides myriad ser- vices including financial assis- tance, French-Israeli schools and cultural events such as film festivals or theater. For all its growth, though, the French community in Israel has remained insular, settling in concentrated ar- eas and establishing centers of French culture, as in Ne- tanya's Independence Square. Many French citizens here speak no Hebrew. "They want to be like they are in France, to not be mixed," said Barbara, 26, who moved here from France eight years ago. "If they stay with only the people they know, they won't know how the state works," she said, asking that her last name be withheld because of job concerns. French immigrants' behav- ior, however, is not unusual among immigrant popula- tions in Israel, as Russian and American expatriate commu- nities also have formed. Also, French Jews do not feel completely rooted to life here, expatriates say. France is a quick flight away, and a salary in euros rather than shekels is tempting. And " unlike Russian or Ethiopian immigrants, French Jews can return to a safe, democratic country. Many French Jews thus have chosen to purchase apartments, here for a poten- tial future immigration, as well as for vacations. Coastal cities have proven popular for French buyers both because they recall the French coast and already include large French communities. The purchases, however, may have made buying a home more dif- ficult for Israelis, according to real estate agents in Netanya. French immigrants feel "like the city is theirs, but it's not theirs," said Myriam Luzon, a French resident of Netanya. "They do what they want, but there are Israelis here, too." A few French Jews in Ne- tanya said they expect the majority of France's Jews to move to Israel within the next decade. Zana said the community already here does not get enough respect from native-born Israelis. "The Israeli people laugh at the French accent," said Zana, who has lived here for f: Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90/JTA French citizens in Israel~voting at the French consulate in Tel Aviv on A~ri122 during the firstround of a presidential election. 35 years. "They look at them as tourists. The Israeli approach is not right, not responsible." But Zana hopes that French Israelis, "who tend to be traditionally observant and politically to the right, will become more involved in Israeli politics and society. He notes that they have already contributed much to Israel, from a solid work ethic to a democratic tradition and better taste in food. "The boulangerie, patis- serie, all of the fine food, that's not Ethiopian or Russian in- fluence, it's French," he said. "The falafel is not more Israeli than the baguette; it just got to Israel before the baguette. ! don't think in another 20 years~ we'll be eating baguettes less than pita." "Legitimacy From page 5A Second, the summit con- demned terrorism but de- clared that "the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domina- tion or foreign occupation" was not terrorism. Thus, two-thirds of the General Assembly approved of the Iranian-supported Hezbol- lah, since it is ostensibly aimed at the Israeli "oc- cupiers." And third, Israeli occu- pation is identified as the primary cause of the Arab- Israeli conflict and ending it as the proper means to secure peace in the region. For good measure, the document ac- cuses Israel of mass torture and of efforts to eradicate the historic Islamic heritage in Jerusalem. The Palestinian re- fusal to negotiate a two-state solution or to acknowledge the profound Jewish connection to Jerusalem is absent. Non-Aligned Movement members pledged support for renewed Palestinian efforts to secure U.N. recognition, a decision that Palestinian Authority President Mah- moud Abbas immediately cited in announcing his plans to demand upgraded U.N. status when he addresses the General Assembly on Sept. 27. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called the Tehran summit a great success for Iran and a"humili- ating defeat" for its enemies. He even described the event as a showcase demonstrating the superiority of the Iranian system over Western democ- racy. That's eerily similar to what Hitler, Germany's supreme leader, thought the Nazi Olympics achieved for his regime in 1936. The parallels are frightening. Canada, a vibrant democ- racy and not a Non-Aligned Movement member, has sev- ered diplomatic ties with Tehran. Its foreign minister described Iran unambigu- ously as "the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today." As Iran moves closer to a nuclear bomb, suppresses democracy and continues to threaten Israel, much depends on whether the international community, set to gather this month at the United Nations, remains in thrall to the move- ment's approach or emulates Canadian courage. Lawrence Grossman is the American Jewish Committee's director of publications. Votes From page 10A campaign's chief Jewish surrogates. Democrats have said pre- viously that they hope to raise $1 million to $2 million for their Jewish outreach efforts. The RJC's efforts in sub- urban Philadelphia were not without mishaps. Cell phones leased for the occa- sion did not work for hours on Sunday because the volunteers were housed in a lower-level hotel room that did not ha~e reception. And some door-to-door canvass- ers were dropped off in areas such as Blue Bell that ap- peared to have few Jews and where houses were adorned with Christian symbols. Striding along the broad paths leading to double doors in the wealthy neighborhood of Gladwyne, Carol Eberwein, a 70-year-old retiree sporting a white "RJC Victory Team" T-shirt, said she had not set foot in a synagogue for four years, infuriated with her fel- low Jews for handing Obama a substantial majority. "If these damned Jews vote for Obama" this year, she said, "I'm not likely to go back." The RJC's outreach overall has won national attention. Its drive includes "My Buyer's Remorse," a TV ad campaign targeting swing states and featuring Jewish voters who supported Barack Obama in 2008 but are now voting against the president. The same theme appears on the leaflets thatvolunteers tucked into door jambs on Sept. 9 and 10. "We had high hopes for Barack Obama," they say. "Now, we have only buyer's remorse." Also featured in South Florida are billboards read- ing "Obama, Oy Vey!" and "Had enough?" Passers-by are directed to the "My Buyer's Remorse" website. Democratic outreach is considerably more modest. The National Jewish Demo- cratic Council is canvassing the same areas with volun- teers handing out postcards calling the Obama-Biden ticket"the choice of American Jews." The NJDC's president, David Harris, said his group could not match the RJC outreach, but that it was not necessary to do so because of the Democrats' traditional ad- vantage among Jewish voters. "We start from an inbuilt advantage, that since the New Deal the vast majority of American Jews have voted Democratic," he said, It's a history that Republi- cans acknowledge, which is why the focus is on "micro- targeting" the undecided Jews who, despite their relatively small percentage, Couldswing the vote in closely fought states. "Our goal is to get to those leaners," Brooks said two weeks ago in" Tampa at the Republican National Conven- tion when he first rolled out plans for the outreach blitz. Ultimately, he predicted, "the undecidedswill shift dramati- cally." It's an argument Democrats are taking seriously. Days after Brooks announced his plans, Ira Forman, the top Jewish outreach official for the Obama campa!gn, gave a PowerPoint presentation at the convention center in Charlotte, N.C., the site of the Democratic National Conven- tion, in which he outlined What a 10 percent swing in the Jewish vote could cost Democrats. Obamaisbelieved to have earned between 74 and 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008; Gallup tracking polls had him at 68 percent in July. Should Obama's Jewish support fall to 65 percent on Election Day, in Florida he could conceivably lose 83,500 votes, according to Forman's chart; in Pennsylvania, 41,500 votes; and in Ohio, 19,000 votes. In its outreach literature, the RJC stresses Israel and the threat of a nuclear Iran. The leaflet distributed to suburban homes last week is mostly about the Middle East, with the economy relegated to less , than a third of the content. By contrast, the NJDC handout is split evenly be- tween the Middle East and other issues: the economy, health-care reform and social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Republicans recount well- known instanceswhen Obama has differedwith Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netan- yahu, particularly on what terms negotiations with the Palestinians should resume, and they note that Iran con- tinues apace in its suspected attempt to build a nuclear weapon. Democrats note en- hanced .security cooperation with Israel, Iran's increased isolation under Obama and the administration's efforts to block anti-Israel efforts at the United Nations. The emphasis on the econ- omy and social issues makes sense for the Democrats be- cause the gaps between Jews and Republicans are wider on domestic issues--something that the phone canvassers at the Radisson Valley Forge Hotel outside of Philadelphia discovered. David Edman, 57, a health- care consultant from Wayne, Pa., said the callers he reached Sept. 9 tended to want to talk more about the economy. "It's been about 50-50," he said in terms of callers who were receptive to the RJC message. "I talked to two people who said health care was their most important issue. They seemed elderly and they were leaning" toward Obama, Ed- man said."I ask people to keep an open mind." Dara Fox, 46, a homemaker from Manassas, Va., who awoke at 4~30 a.m. to ride a bus in for the day, said she got nothing but answering machines and hang-ups after an hour of calls. She said she also encountered the economic argument against voting for Romney among her liberal Jewish friends in northern Virginia--another swing state where a shift in the Jewish vote could conceivably make the difference. "I am at a complete loss as to how liberal Jews have taken Echoing a common com- plaint among Obama's clos- est Jewish backers, Wexler, speaking Sept. l0 to the B'nai B'rith International Policy Conference, said the question he hears from Jewish audi- ences that vexes him most is the "kishkes" question: Does Obama"get" Israel in his gut? "I get done with the litany of 30 things the president Israel and put it in a separate has done for Israel, and then bubble," she said. Democrats, however, are not sanguine about the pros- pect of Jewish voters com- partmentalizing any concerns they have about Israel and focusing instead on areas of domestic agreement with Obama. I get asked, 'Yeah, Wexler, I know about all that, but in his kishkes does he really feel it?'" Wexler recounted, his voice rising in frustration. "Short of joining the IDF itself, I'm curious as to what President Obama could do to Convince some in our community." Sudoku solution from page 7 1 3.2479568 846152937 795368124 957826341 463917852 28154.3796 679231485 528794613 31.4685279