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September 29, 2017

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 OO By David Bornstein My mother's lipstick An elderlywomanapproached her rabbi one a moment of awkwardness, but she missed year during services. "Rabbi!" she exclaimed, planting a kiss on his cheek completely, and throwing her frail, skinny arms open wide. instead laid a big red smooch on his pristine Given the fact that she stood barely five feet white tallit, his beautiful prayer shawl that tall, the rabbi bent down to accommodate her. he wore only for special occasions. Flustered Maybe it was her height, or her age, or just and embarrassed, she paused, but he didn't. By Ben Cohen policy change from Doha. As of this writing, that hasn't changed. So why, then, should American Jews give Qatar the public relations Should American Jewish leaders speak to gift of a meeting, which projects the sense that the rulers ofa petrostate that finances Hamas Qatar is a responsible international player, terrorists toblowuptheirfellowJewsinIsraei? and that the Saudi attempt to portray it as That, in essence, is the fraught question a terrorism hub is an exercise in dishonesty emerging from the rumors and reports of and hypocrisy? recent days that prominent representatives Look as well at what Qatar could do now. It of the U.S. Jewish community will meet with could lean on Hamas to release--now--the senior Qatari officials, supposedly including bodies of IDF officers Hadar Goldin and Oron Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, on Shaul, both of whom were killed during the the fringes of the 72nd United Nations General summer 2014 Gaza war and whose remains Assembly meeting in New York this week. have stayed in Hamas custody ever since, in Having canvassed Jewish opinion on this flagrantviolationofinternationalconventions question, I've concluded that to answer it with that demand their return to the next of kin. an absolute "no" is unwise. For one thing, it's Qatar could--now--announce a review of a very hard position to maintain indefinitely, howstatebroadcasterAIJazeeraportraysboth Remember, both Egypt and Jordan were sig- Israel and Jews, perhaps with guidance from natories to the 1969 Khartoum Declaration Jewishinstitutionalexperts onanti-Semitism, of Arab states, which announced the three with the goal of purging conspiracy theories "no's'--no negotiations with Israel, no recog- and anti-Semitic memes from the global sta- nition of Israel, no peace with Israel. Less than tion's coverage. halfa century later, those two Arab states have Qatar could--now--deport to Israel for trial said "yes" to all three of those propositions, f:he Hamas terrorist Husam Badran, who was largely because they grasped the historical given sanctuary in Doha, where he's now a moment of Arab rejectionism had already spokesmanfortheterroristgroup.Badranwas passed. Those outcomes beganwith a political behind some of the most sickening outrages of dialogue predicated on the answer, "possibly." the Hamas suicide bombing campaign against An outright refusal to talk also ignores the Israel during the second intifada, including the key considerations of context and purpose, bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem Imagine, say, that Qatar was to edge away in 2001, and the bombing of a Passover seder from Iran's embrace, or that it announced a at a Netanya hotel in 2002. Forty-five Israelis cut in funding to its Hamas friends, or that were murdered in those attacks and hundreds the Saudis--who have shown real ice in their morewounded, and Badran's hands are stained veinsintheircurrentdealingswiththeirQatari with the blood of other terror operations too. brothers--were to ease their blockade on Doha But Qatar has not done any of these things. inexchangeforaQataricommitmenttoreform If Jewish leaders must meet with the emir, their foreign policy. Would it then be wrong they should quietly, restrict the conversation for American Jewish leaders to explore what to tangible political issues, and make crystal else might be in store? One could certainly clearthataprivatemeetingisnotapublicbless- imagine the Israelis themselves being willing ing. Those Jewish organizations that already to do so, given that they operated a trade office have connections with Qatar should arrange in Qatar for nearly a decade before the second meetings through their own contacts, rather Palestinianintifadadamagedtheirburgeoning than through a hired PR flak whose sole job relations with the Gulf states, is to burnish Qatar's reputation, regardless Indeed, this hypothetical demonstrates of whether the emirate remains--as the late that dialogue can be a political tactic in itself, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres memo- a means of either blessing one's adversary rably described it in 2015, the "world's largest or consigning him to the margins. And it's funderofterror."Andifthepublicity-conscious precisely here that we get to the heart of the Qataris issue a statement hailing a new era dilemma that Qatar and its emir pose to Jew- in relations with American Jews--without ish leaders--because the current context for making any real concessions first--then our a dialogue isn't what you'd call auspicious, leaders have a duty to disavow them. Two weeks ago, when Qatar first dangled Ben Cohen writes a weekly column for JNS. the prospect of a meeting with the emir--via org on Jewish affairs andMiddle East politics. an announcement from a Washington lobbyist His writings have been published in Commen- being paid $50,000 a month to facilitate this tary, the New York Post, Haaretz, The Wall dialogue--we had not heard a single hint of a Street Journal and many other publications. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ISSN 0199-0721 CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE Winner of 45 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Stare Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742,Contributing Columnists Fern Park, FL 32730. Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Production Department Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 David Lehman Gil Dombrosky email: Joyce Gore Society Editor Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer Marci Gaeser He embraced her with a big hug, and they exchanged the warmest of greetings. It may have been during the Torah proces- sional, or before services began, or afterwards, but it doesn't really matter when, or whether it was Shabbat or the High Holy Days. What matters is that it happened, what happened later, and continues to occur to this day. If you were wondering, this is a love story, but not the typical kind you've heard before. Nor is it a fable or a tall tale. If anything (and given her diminutive size) it's a very short one. It's about the love and mutual admiration between this tiny old lady and her rabbi. The lady was my mother, who passed away nearly four years ago, and the rabbi is Aaron Rubinger of Congregation Ohev Shalom. You see, Rabbi Rubinger and my mother had a special relationship. While her health allowed she attended as many of his adult education classes as she could. When she was in her late 70s she was part of a b'nai mitzvah class, so he bat mitzvahed her. If there was a time when he couldn't lead a class he was giv- ing, he asked my mother to stand in for him as the substitute teacher. And when she was dying and he visited her in the hospital, she opened her eyes and said, "Rabbi!" It was the last word she ever spoke. He loved her, and she loved him back wholeheartedly. Ever since then, whenever I attend a service in which Rabbi Rubinger is wearing that tallit, he points out the lipstick stain to me. "That's your mother's," he's told me now numerous times. "I will never wash this tallit because it reminds me of her." Over the years the lipstick, I've noticed, has faded. It's not as rich, nor as bright red as it used to be. But it's still there, still obviously in the shape of her lips. This year during Rosh Hashanah services Rabbi Rubinger pointed it out to me again, and I could tell he was reliving that moment and recounting her importance to him once again. Time passes, and all things fade, even the By Stephen M. Flatow A little-reported stabbing incident, coupled with a large dose of Palestinian Authority- generated fake news, have revealed pretty much everything you need to know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It all began Aug. 18. Qatiba Zahran, age 17, left his hometown of Alar, near the city of Tuikarm, armed with a large knife. He was looking for an Israeli Jew to stab. He couldn't find any Israelis in Alar, or in Tulkarm, because they have been under the control of the Palestinian Authority since 1995. That was when then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew Israel's forces from the areas where 98 percent of the Palestinian Arabs reside. Note that Qatiba Zaharn was born in 2000. Meaning that he has lived under the rule of Palestinian Authority his entire life. He has not lived under direct "Israeli occupation." There are no "Israeli settlers" endangering the residents of Alar or Tulkarm. Odd! We are always being told that Israel's "occupation" and "settlers" are what provoke Palestinians to stab, bomb, and shoot Jews. So how can one explain what motivated young Qatiba Zahran to pick up that knife? He walked some distance, until he reached the nearest Israeli security checkpoint. There Zahran stabbed andwounded an Israeli border guard. The Israeli shot him dead in self-defense. (Translation courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute) Zahran left his last will and testament on his Facebook page, for the world to see. It shatters a number of the common myths that Palestinian advocates and sympathizers try to promote: Zahran wrote only of "Jews," not "Israe- lis." He did not object to some Israeli policy or position. He hated Jews. In his words: "All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, who protects the mujahideen [Jihad fighters] and humiliates the cursed Jews " He was driven by religious-nationalist ideology, not by some family conflict or other personal problem: "Oh my family members, know that I did not leave you out of distress or out of a wish to be far from you, but because martyrdom for the sake of Allah beckoned to me." Zahran was influenced by the promises made by Musiim religious teachers: "Oh my honorable family members, receive the glad tidings of the Prophet, who said that a martyr faces and voices of the ones we've loved most and lost--our parents, our siblings, our close friends. What Rabbi Rubinger reminded me of was not that the lipstick stain belonged to my mother. I knew that. What he, perhaps inad- vertently taught me by living it and showing me, is that certain things, certain moments, certain events are worth remembering. These may not be what we expect. It might be the sound of a dog's bark, or a rainbow appearing at the worst time, or a clumsy handshake, or a warm embrace. But something imprints itself. Something says, "Remember." And we do. And it stays with us and changes us for the rest of our lives. Judaism teaches us, and the High Holy Days emphasize, the importance of what we choose to remember. During the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we are supposed to reflect back on the past year and ask forgive- ness of all those we've hurt or wronged. But how can we ask if we don't remember? And why do we choose to remember certain acts when we are oblivious to others, or simply forget? Remembering, then, is key to the Days of Atonement, perhaps even more central than the actual act of asking people--and God--to forgive us. We are told from an early age that Judaism is about our actions--whatwe do here on earth. But before we act, we must remember, and what we remember shapes who we are. Rabbi Rubinger chooses, every time he wears that tallit and sees the hazy remnants of my mother's lipstick, to recall her and their relationship. And he's helped me remember as well. My love for her, for this world full of the most amazing moments and people, for the blessing of life and our years of accumulated moments worth remembering. May this New Year be a blessing to you, filled with love and health and happiness. May it be one to remember in all the best possible ways. And that's the good word. Feel free to pass your thoughts and comments on to the Heritage, or email me at can vouch for 70 of his family members [to enter Paradise]." PA officials undoubtedly read Zahran's Facebook page. They knew that he planned, in advance, to murder Jews because he hated Jews and wanted to enter paradise (and guarantee the entry of 70 relatives, to boot). Yet the PA Foreign Ministry announced that "the occupation authorities" carried out "the cold-blooded execution of young Zahran." The PA accused Israel of circulating "loathsome story of the sort they [spread] whenever [they carry out] a field execution, while knowing full well that young Zahran posed no danger to the occupation soldiers at the checkpoint." And the Municipality of PA-ruled Alar, Zah- ran's home village, issued a statement declar- ing that "the municipal council members, the workers, and the city residents all congratulate the martyred hero Qatiba Ziyad Yusuf Zahran." Last week, the Israelis handed over Zahran's body to the PA. If they were expecting that their goodwill gesture would be reciprocated, they were dreaming. The PA Gov. of Tulkarm, Isaac Abu Baker, immediately declared that "[Israel's] target- ing of civilians has become routine," At the funeral, Mustafa Takatka, the PA's deputy governor of Tulkarm, repeated the anti-Israel blood libel that Israel "routinely" murders in- nocent Palestinians, and that Zahran was one such victim of "the crimes of the occupation." Takatka called on the Palestinian public to "persist on the path of struggle." This was not some case of over-eager Pal- estinian officials making careless statements based on incomplete information. Such recklessness would have been outrageous enough. But what happened in this instance was much worse. Here senior PA officials knew the truth--from the terrorist's own Facebook page--and yet chose to spread fake news to demonize Israel and incite Palestinians to attempt to murder Israelis. The PA tells 17-year-olds that killers of Jews will be hailed as"martyrs" and "heroes." PA-paid Muslim preachers assure potential terrorists of heavenly rewards for stabbing and bombing. PA officials convince Palestinian teens that Israelis are vile, dangerous monsters who deserve to be killed. And then those teens pick up knives and go looking for Jews to kill. The cause-and-effect is obvious. Why can't the world see that? Stephen 3I. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney ,in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.