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October 19, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 19, 2018 9 By Stephen Silver (JTA)--On Sept. 13, 1993, exactly 25 years ago, Is- raeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat were captured shaking hands in a historic ceremony in Washington, D.C hosted by President Bill Clinton. The leaders agreed to set up a framework, now known as Oslo Accord I, that would lead to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But that photograph was just the culmination ofaseries of secret negotiations held in Norway over several months. And Israeli-Palestinian peace talks would continue for years after "The Handshake," as the fateful 1993 moment is sometimes called. "The Oslo Diaries," a documentary that covers four years in the life of this process--starting in 1992, immediately following the 1991 Madrid Conference, and ending with the election of Benjamin Netanyahu to his first term as Israeli prime minister in 1996--is set to air on HBO. The film had premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and made a subsequent run on the Jewish film festival circuit. (It will air on Israeli TV as well.) Through interviews, ar- chival footage, reenactments and a surprising number of negotiators' diary pages, the film, directed by the Israeli duo ofMor Loushy and Dan- iel Sivan, gets perspectives from many of the Oslo Ac- cords' surviving participants from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. Former Israeli leader Shimon Peres gives his final interview be- fore his death in September 2016. The filmmakers had previ- ously made"CensoredVoices," a 2015 documentary about Israeli soldiers sharing their surprising reflections about the Six-Day War in 1967. After that film, Loushy and Sivan thought, "there are so many films about war that it was natural for us to ask the question: 'Why do we not have peace?' So we started to look for it." "Nobody really under- stands what was signed there and what happened there, and people see it as this big failure," Loushy said about the Oslo process. "We found that [both sides] were really close [to peace], and that we almost touched it." The duo found a diary be- longing to the late Ron Pun- dak, the Israeli journalist and historian who was among the initial architects of the Oslo process, and decided "this is the story." "I can only write my own private memories of these three years of hope and an- guish," Pundak, who died in 2014, had written in his diary. "Is this a tale of triumph, or defeat?" That discovery led the film- makers to speak with several negotiators and diplomats from the Oslo period, on both sides of the table. Those interviewed include Uri Savir, Yossi Beilin and Joel Singer from the Israeli side; Hanan Ashrawi, Nabil Shaath and Ahmed Qurei from the Pales- tinian negotiating team; and American negotiator Dennis Ross. "We just approached every- one, and I think that everyone was eager to tell their story," Loushy said. "They were kind of wiped from the history and both of the sides really loved the film." At one particularly humor- ous point Singer recalls being greetedwith akiss, early in the talks, by Qurei, also known as Abu Ala. "A terrorist is kissing me," the Israeli recalls thinking. "Men don't kiss one another in the United States or Israel." But trust would gradu- ally be built between the two groups of diplomats. Quite a lot of history trans- pired over the four years covered in the film: the secret talks between the sides in Nor- way, the handshake between Rabin andArafat on the White House lawn, the subsequent interim agreements and the assassination of Rabin in November 1995. History happened during the filmmaking process, too: Peres spoke to the fiimmakers only days before his passing. "In war there are no victo- ries," the former Israeli prime minister and president says in the film. "No war is ever finished, unless it's being replaced by peace." "He was still very sharp," Loushy said of Peres. "And I feel that it was a great inter- view--we could really see his heart, and he really talked and opened up to us." The film also features seg- Saar Yaacov A scene from "The Oslo Diaries" showing Yitzhak Robin and Yasser Arafat after they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the Norwegian capital. ments from Peres' diary. In one entry, he wrote that in their 50 -year friendship, Peres had never seen Rabin so happy as he was when he addressed a peace rally on the evening of his assassination. The years since the film left off have not been especially kind to the idea of peace in the region. But the subjects of the film have remained opti- mistic-and Loushy has, too. "Most of our speakers--I think that most of the people from both sides--don't be- lieve that there is another alternative, or option, other than a two-state solution. It's only a matter of how much blood will be spilled until then," Loushy said. "How many wars in Gaza? How many people dying? "I cannot afford myself to be pessimistic. I don't want my children to be in the circle of blood and wars." m a By Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)--Moshe Aryeh Fried- man may be mild-mannered, but theAntwerp rabbi certain- ly a knack for publicity. An anti-Zionist activist from New York, Friedman, 47, has been accused--falsely, he has said--of denying the Holocaust during a 2006 conference organized by then- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. He has since repeatedly riled the Jewish community of the Belgian city where he has lived with his family since 2011. In 2013, Friedman got a judge to force a Jewish school for girls to admit two of his boys--a blow directed at a congregation that treats him like a pariah. This year he went after another communal soft spot, telling the media that Ortho- dox Judaism does allow the stunning of animals before they are slaughtered (despite a rabbinical near consensus to the contrary). But even Friedman outdid himself this summer when he landed himself and his family in the middle of an international scandal involv- ing suspected espionage by a young Moroccan woman whom the Belgian security service recommended deport- ing, saying she threatens national security. The relationship between Friedman and 32 -year-old Ka- outar Fal, who left Belgium on July 23 amid suspicions that she is a Moroccan spy, began several years ago when they met at various conferences about "achieving peace," he told JTA. "We became good friends. Best friends," he said Friedman and his wife, Lea Rosenzweig, have been at the forefront of an effort to clear the name of Fal, who describes herself as an entrepreneur, women's rights activist and journal- ist, and has denied gathering intelligence for any country, including Morocco. The couple's involvement began on July 11, when Rosen- zweig called police to report that Fal had been abducted in front of the European Parlia- ment in Brussels. In reality, Fal had been taken for interrogation by security services, according to VRT and the Joods Actueel Jewish newspaper, though Friedman insists she was ab- ducted by unidentified "mob- sters." Whoever they were, the men who apprehended Fal whisked her away into a van with civilian license plates in broad daylight in front of the European Parliament, accord- ing to VRT. During that week, police picked up Fal a number of times in connection with her three-year visa, which had been issued in 2016 but re- voked suddenly this year. The Belgian State Security Ser- vice flagged Fal as "a danger to our national security,"VRT said. Later, the same service told a court that Fal is "actively involved in intelligence opera- tions for Morocco,', leading to her departure from Belgium after her release without a staying permit. Friedman has lodged a complaint with police over what he calls Fal's abduction in Brussels. He told JTA that Fal, whom Friedman has visited in Morocco several times since 2017, including with some of his eight chil- dren, is "not and has never been a spy. These are all false allegations." He similarly dismissed as "nonsense" a claim, appear- ing on a small news site for Moroccan Berbers in Belgium, that Fal is his lover. "A ridiculous lie," Fried- man said. But what may have re- mained an unlikely friendship between two colorful figures could still pose a security risk for Belgium, according to an expose published Thursday by Joods Actueel, which has taken a highly critical line in covering Friedman's actions vis-h-vis the Jewish com- munity. That's because Friedman's 23-year-old daughter, Rezi, is running for office in the Oct. 14 municipal elections on the ticket of the party of Kris Peeters--the current deputy prime minister of Belgium. Peeters and Rezi Friedman posed together for a campaign poster on display in Antwerp wishing Jews Shanah Tovah, a happy Jewish New Year. And that's a potential issue because Rezi Freidman lives at home with her parents at the same address that Fal at one point gave authorities as her correspondence address in Antwerp, Joods Actueel suggested. The rabbi said that his daughter "didn't have anything to do" with Fal, who may have given authorities his address, he said, only so he might hold her mail for her during her court case over extending her visa. On Tuesday, Fal wrote under a campaign poster on Rezi Friedman's Facebook ac- count: "You're the best, I know you're going to be successful in anything you do." The two women posed together for pictures on several occasions. According to Joods Ac- tueel editor-in-chief Michael Freilich, this means that "we have to ask ourselves ques- tions about" a suspected spy's ties and access to politicians during the campaign and "whether this is a security issue." Rezi Friedman did not respond to JTA's request for a comment on Freilich's as- sertions. Freilich is not the only one with an uneasy feeling about Fai's ties to the Friedmans. "Rezi Friedman is now surrounded by a few impor- tant politicians," Christophe Busch, a terrorism expert and criminologist who is the director of the Kazerne Dos- sin state Holocaust museum near Antwerp, told Joods Actueel. Even if she herself never does anything to endanger national security, "There is the appearance that that's possible," he said. "And that's a big problem for her party because appearance is every- thing in politics." "gn( By Ed Carroll (Cleveland Jewish News via JNS)--The Cleveland Browns have signed kicker Greg Jo- seph, who played football and soccer at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, Fla. Joseph, a rookie, was pre- viously a kicker in the Mi- ami Dolphins training camp earlier in the summer. He signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent after a collegiate career at Florida Atlantic University. Joseph was cut by the Dolphins at the end of training camp after he lost a camp-long competition with fellow rookie kicker Jason Sanders, a seventh-round pick. Joseph made all three field goal attempts with the Dolphins during the pre- season, including a field goal of 54 yards. Joseph left FAU as its all- time field goal leader and shares the school record for most extra points. Prior to playing in college, he was a member of a number of teams, including the football and soccer teams, at Donna Klein Jewish Academy from 2000 to 2009. He also kicked at American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Fla. The Boca Raton native has been praised for his off- the-field charity word, and Joseph previously credited his mother, who is a teacher and head of the math depart- ment at a Jewish day school, for teaching him the values of giving back to the community. NFLNetwork's Ian Rapoport was the first to report Joseph was signing with the Browns. Joseph was signed when the Browns decided to move on from kicker Zane Gonzalez, who missed four kicks in a game against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 16. Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra point attempts, all in the second half, including a potential game-tying field goal of 52 yards. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Sept. 17 that Gonzalez had been playing with a groin injury. Reporter Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland. com said the Browns informed Gonzalez they were releasing him on Sept. 17. Joseph won't have much time to become acquainted with his new teammates, as Cleveland hosts the New York Jets on Sept. 20. "Obviously, we have to find someone that can put the ball through the uprights," coach Hue Jackson said after Joseph signed. "We have had this situ- ation happen now for a couple of weeks. We have to keep searching and keep looking." The Associated Press con- tributed to this story. Greg Joseph