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October 23, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 23, 2009
 

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 23, 2009 By Leslie Susser JERUSALEM (JTA) Al- though warm and effusive in their congratulations, Israeli officials fear President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize could limithis options on Iran. They argue that Obama, having won the prestigious award for restoring the role of diplomacy in international affairs, may be more inclined to take the military option off the table, paving the way for Iran to advance its nuclear plans with relative impunity. The Israelis have similar concerns on the Palestinian track, fearing the prize might encourage Obama to redouble his efforts for an independent Palestinian state by 2012 by pressing Israel to make far- reaching concessions. Even before news of the Nobel, Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu had deep misgivings about the new U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran. Successful dialogue could lead to pressure on Israel to U.N. photo Some Israeli officials fear that President Obama, shown addressing a U.N. Security Council nonproliferation summit on Sept. 24, may be more inclined to dismiss the military option against Iron after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. likely scenario of a U.S.-Iran dialogue that fails to produce conclusive results, sucking the Obama administration into a long-meandering process the Iranians use as a cover to ad- vance their nuclear activities. efforts at dialogue and to giv- ing international sanctions a chance if dialogue fails. Some of Netanyahu's close advisers say the dialogue stage is neces- sary so that when it fails--as it is bound to do, they argue-- huge joint military exercise in Israel's NegevDesert comes in. In maneuvers dubbed Juniper Cobra, the Israel Defense Forces, the U.S. European Command and the U.S. Mis- sile Defense Agency will test a baseball from a distance of approximately 3,000 miles. This means that with X-Band and the various interceptor systems, Israel theoretically could shoot down Iranian Shihab missiles shortly after disma ie ills reputed nuclear Theconcernpersistsdespite Obania will be able tO muster four defense ,s stems against take-offand lystill over arsenat, lsraelinightmare IJ.S, Sceretary Stat: an veardv&tdybacked ineomin b lliSticmissites, Irardanter ry.lsradisatso sce isthatlrandemande RodhamClintmfs sanetionsregime., such as those from lran. The wouldgetwamingtimeof5to Israelinudeardisarmamentas in London last The main plank of the Is- main purpose will be to hone 7 minutes to take cover after a condition of its agreement "theinternationalcommunity raeli waiting game, however, the interoperability of Israel's Iranian missile firings. to drop its nuclear weapons will not wait indefinitely for is to coordinate throughout Arrow 2 and three state-of- About 1,000 U.S. soldiers program, evidence thatlranis prepared as closely as possible with the-art American systems: and 15 U.S. naval vessels are Were this to happen, the to live up to its international Washington on intelligence the high altitude THAAD, the taking part in the exercise, Israelis fear the praise the obligations." andonpossiblemir ryaction, ship-basedAegisandthelower the fifth of its kind since 2001 Norwegian Nobel committee With all these develop- Netanyahu, who has warned altitude Patriot PAC 3. andbyfarthebiggestandmost heaped on Obama's advocacy ments, theNetanyahugovern- repeatedly that Israel will not All four will be coordinated complex. of a rmclear-frec world could merit seems to be developing tolerate a nuclear tran, does by American X-Band Radar, After the exercise, the e a atetheirpredicament, a pragmatic lran s gy.not want to act without close deployed in the Negev since Americans may leave behind Whatw0rriesls~~- Netanyahu seems resign~ U.S. e~ination, last October and capable of some PAC-3 interceptors gic thinkers more lsthe more ~ towaging out Washingtons Thats where this month's tracing anob/~tas small as and deploy Aegis vessels in By Eric Fiagerhut WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Fighting poverty is an im- portant goal of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; so is protecting the environment. The umbrella group, which brings together the major synagogue movements, sev- eral national organizations and local Jewish communities across North America, took on both issues in one fell swoop last week with its second an- nual "Fighting Poverty With Faith" initiative. Teaming up with Catholic Charities USA, the Jewish council ran a weeklong effort dubbed "Good Jobs, Green Jobs." The goal of the Oct. 14-21 event was to encourage government officials to make sure the poor don't get left behind in the push to create and develop jobs focused on energy efficiency or environ- mentally friendly practices in sectors including energy, con- struction and manufacturing. President Obama has prom- ised to create up to 5 million new "green jobs," with a por- tion of the stimulus bill this year directed for some of those opportunities. 'q'here has to be an avenue for poor people to fill these jobs, to be trained for these jobs," said Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of JCPA. If govern- ment is providing tax credits or direct subidies for such jobs, he added, "they need to look very carefully at the poor." "Good jobs are really apath- way out ofpoverty," s~d Candy Hill, senior vice president of Catholic Charities USA. ? ~ : o U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee of Caflfornia speaks on the steps of the with Faith event in 2008. JCPA Capitol in Washington at the inaugural Fighting Poverty Theweekwasscheduledto tion and training related to ing perspectives on poverty ish organization in the city kickoffOct. 14withanational the jobs. and the environment, tips signed on as co-sponsors, as teleconference featuring U.S. In between, local commu- on how to make one's home well as local Catholic, Baptist Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) nities held their own events or business more energy ef- and Presbyterian churches. and Mike Castle (R-Del.). It to bring attention to the ficient, information on local It is the first project of its was set to conclude with a issue, such as tours of green public policy initiatives re- kind in Memphis that pairs gathering of organizers in jobs facilities or interfaith latedtothe environment and the two issues, Zuckerbrot- the nation's capital, panel discussions to explore opportunities to send e-mails Finklestein said, noting that Also, a "national call- the issue, togovernmentleadersorsign organizerstoldattendeesthat in" for activists will thank For example, in Memphis, up for a home energy audit, by retrofitting one's home or congressional lawmakers the local Jewish commuhity Bluma Zuckerbrot-Fin- adding solar energy panels to for funding green jobs and relations council held an klestein, director of the one's business, they are ere- encourage them to back event that included Jewish MemphisCRC, said the event ating the need for additional increased funding for educa- and Christian clergy provid- hadeverysynagogueandJew- jobs in those industries. the Mediterranean and Red seas. Washington is con- sidering deploying parts of the missile defense system it had intended for Eastern Europe in Israel, Turkey and the Balkans. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says this will enable the United States to have a partial system working by 2011, whereas in Eastern Europe it would have taken until 2017. All this sends a strong mes- sage to Iran. Attacking Israel would mean confronting an Israeli-American defensive umbrella at the very least, and possibly a lethal Israeli- American counter-offensive. But it also sends a strong message to Israel. If it can count on a strong American umbrella, it should feel less compelled to act against Iran on its own, less concerned about giving up its reputed nuclear arsenal and more inclined to make concessions to the Palestinians. Of course, that still leaves the $64,000 question unan- swered: What happens if the United States gets sucked into a long, seemingly aimless dia- logue with Iran, and Israel sees smoking-gun evidence of an incipient Iranian nuclear ca- pability that America chooses to ignore? That's the scenario Netan- yahu hopes his coordination strategy will help avoid. Oth- erwise he is facing one of the hardest choices of any Israeli leader: To antagonize America or face the consequences of a nuclear Iran. As part of the overall initia- tive, Gutow joined with lead- ers of Catholic Charities, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and the Islamic Society of North America to write a special interfaith prayer that was read at events throughout the week and by its co-authors at the end of the week. "So much of your Creation groans from the effects of our pollution." a portion of the prayer reads. "Make us part- ners, we pray in your work of healing the earth. Help us to create jobs that both honor the needs of your planet as well as those holy souls who have no work." Gutow said the fact that 34 national religious orga- nizations among them a dozen Jewish groups, as well as representatives from the Christian, Muslim and Hindu communities--brought the project a "gravitas" that it wouldn't have from one faith community on its own. Hill said they would have liked to have seen more attention paid to the pov- erty issue by the presidential candidates last year when the "Fighting Poverty With Faith" campaignwas inaugu- rated, but that both JCPA and Catholic Charities are serious about pressing this issue and think the current economic conditions provide a greater opportunity to stress its importance. Gutow added that"we now have a government that may be more inclined to support." "I think we can be an im- portant force," he said.