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November 28, 2014

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 28, 2014 By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Joe and Bibi? Still buddies. U.S. and Israel? Still allies. Agreement on Iran and the Palestinians? Well. The governments of Presi- dent Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were back on joshing terms this week, but the deep dif- ferences that led to recent name-calling exchanges still percolated Netanyahu and Vice Presi- dent Joe Biden, as well as top aides in both governments, used back-to-back confer- ences this weekend to get the message across loud and clear: We love one another. "Ron, you'd better damn well report to Bibi that we're still buddies. You got it, right?" Biden said, picking out Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, known for his closeness to Netanyahu, from the crowd at the annual Jewish Federations of North America General As- sembly, this year taking place outside Washington in Oxon Hill, Md. The next afternoon, at the conference's close, Netanyahu was "right-back-atcha" in a video-linked address. "And by the way, Ron, you can tell Vice President Biden that I know we're still buddies, we'll alwaysbe buddies," Ne- tanyahu said from his library. Dermer spoke Saturday night to the Israeli American Council, a crowd that would be more skeptical than most of claims that the Obama ad- ministration had Israel's back. But the ambassador went out of his way to show that not onlywas the alliance close, it was unprecedentedly close, and the recent hiccups were not unusual. Dermer praised the "the moral, political and strategic support that Israel has enjoyed for over six decades from Re- publican and Democratic ad- ministrations, including from the Obama administration " "Today the depth of that support comes in the form of unprecedented security cooperation and intelligence sharing, record military as. sistance and missile defense funding and backing at the United Nations and other ways," he said. The loquacious Biden in his Jewish Federations speech could not resist the repeated use of the "L" word. "I once signed a photo to Bibi: 'I don't agree with a damn thing you say, but I love you,' " he said. "We love one another and we drive one another crazy--I'm serious. That's what friends do. We are straight with one another " Crazy may be overstat- ing it, but the relationship sure has been fraught: From anonymous Israeli govern- ment accusations over the summer that Secretary of State John Kerry was engag- ing in a "terrorist" attack on Israel by backing a cease-fire agreement with Hamas that had been shaped by its Qa- tari backers; to Netanyahu's lecturing U.S. TV audiences on how un-American it was for the Obama administra- tion to oppose Israeli build- ing in eastern Jerusalem; to an anonymous Obama administration official telling journalist Jeffrey Goldberg that Netanyahu's behavior on the peace process and on Iran was "chickenshit." Despite the recent love fests, the issues that under- pinned the tensions remained. It's not yet clear whether Iran and the major powers will reach a deal by the Nov. 24 deadline, but Philip Gordon, the National Security Coun- cil's Middle East counselor, told JTA that were such a deal achieved, in all likelihood it would allow Iran to continue enriching uranium at limited levels. "We've said yes, we can imagine a small enrichment program, so long as we had confidence that if they try to break out, we'll have plenty of time, and that's the only deal we'll accept," Gordon said during a Q&A at the General Assembly. (JTA's Ron Kam- peas moderated the session.) Netanyahu in his remarks to the Jewish Federations gathering said that allowing Iran to keep any enrichment capacity would leave it as a nuclear threshold state "The worst thing that could happen now is for the inter- national community to agree to a deal that would leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power and removes its sanctions," he said. Also percolating was blame laying as the Israeli-Palestin- ian peace process remained in tatters and violence in- tensified in Israel and Judea and Samaria. This week, two Israelis have been stabbed to death in terrorist attacks and one Palestinian was killed in the West Bank in clashes with Israeli troops. For Netanyahu, blame had a single address: the Pales- tinians. "The PalestinianAuthority, 'which should also be working to calm tensions, has joined Hamas," he said, in "fanning the flames." The Israeli leader re- ferred to Palestinian praise for the gunman who two weeks ago attempted to kill a Jewish activist, Yehuda Glick, who seeks greater Jewish access to the Temple Mount, and to P.A. claims that Jews have no historical affinity to the site. The Obama administration, however, sees blame on both sides. Netanyahu this week urged Arab - Israel is protesting the shooting death ofanArab- Israeli protester to move to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. "Anyone who is not urging calm and nonviolence and a return to the status quo runs the risk that it can be a very explosive situation," Gordon said. From page 13A The Netherlands, which had 140,000 Jews before the Holocaust, has over 5,350 Righteous Among the Na- tions-more than a fifth of the overall number in Yad Vashem's records and more than any other country except Poland. Italian aliyah expected to double in '14 MILAN, Italy (JTA)- Italy is experiencing a sharp upsurge in Jews making aliyah. An estimated 300 Italian Jews are expected to move to Israel in 2014, the Italo-Israeli demographer Sergio Della Pergola told the Italian news agency ANSA on Friday. The Jewish Agency affirmed to JTA that the figure--more than double from a year ago--was accurate. Some 152 Jews made aliyah from Italy in 2013, according to the Jewish Agency. Several Italian Jewish leaders said the economic situation, including the dif" ficulty for young people to find jobs, figured strongly in the aliyah increase, with Jews feeling that "they can lead a better life in Israel." They said the economic crisis hit the Jewish com- munity in Rome particu- larly hard--many of the city's 12,000 or so Jews are shopkeepers or run small businesses. Italy's overall jobless rate tops 12 percent; for young 3158 2491 8672 9583 6314 4725 7269 5837 1946 people the figure is more than 40 percent. The Italian Jewish com- munity has about 24,000 registered members. Wellesley College drops Hillel director, Jewish chaplain posts (JTA)--Wellesley College eliminated the posts of Hillel director and Jewish chaplain. The two part-time positions at the all-female school in sub- urban Boston were removed last week, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. The college, which pays the salaries of the Wellesley Hillel staffers, said it decided to restructure and will hire a full-time rabbi to serve as Jewish chaplain, according to Haaretz. An interim Hillel director was hired to work nights four to eight hours a week The university reportedly made the decision Without input from students, alumni or other stakeholders. "It makes me and other students feel like we just lost our support system and are on our own," Tali Marcus, a senior psychology major who is co- president of Wellesley Friends of Israel, told the newspaper. The campus has been be- set by tensions between the pro-Palestinian and Jewish communities since early in the fall semester. Shortly after Israel's mili- tary operation in Gaza had ended, posters featuring the images of Palestinian children .96472 75836 43915 67124 29758 81693 3854 1 14269 52387 who were killed or wounded appeared on dining hall walls, Haaretz reported. Jewish students reportedly asked the university officials to intercede on the anti- Israel incidents on campus. Haaretz reported that the Wellesley administration did not respond to questions about the request or anti- Israel activities. Also, a monthly dialogue between pro-Palestinian and Jewish students fell apart at the first meeting of the term. About 10 percent of the Wellesley student body of 2,700 is Jewish. Kipah-clad New Zealand boy, 4, smacked on head SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) - A 4-year-old boy wearing a kipah was slapped on his head as he walked home from a Chabad house in Auckland, New Zealand. The boy was said to be traumatized last week by the apparent anti-Semitic attack, which was witnessed by his mother, according to a report Sunday in the New Zealand Herald. The alleged offender was a man in his 20s "of Middle Eastern appearance," said New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman, according to the article. Good- man said the man apparently laughed as he fled in a car with several other men. "Anti-Semitism in any form cannot be tolerated," Good- man said. "Racially motivated attacks against children are cowardly and have no place in New Zealand." Goodman said that in the Jewish community, there had been talk of children not wearing their traditional clothes in public for fear of being abused. "If an adult is verbally abused, they will know how to handle it. When these sort of things happen against children, it is quite a different story," he said. Race relations commission- er Susan Devoy in addressing the attack said, "When our Kiwi kids are scared to wear a yarmulke or a head scarf because some adult may abuse and attack them, we have failed," she said. Approximately 7,000 Jews live in New Zealand, mostly inAuckland, among a popula- tion of 4.5 million. Swedish rabbi, syna- gogue threatened (JTA)--A rabbi and his syn- agogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg were threatened in emails that described the rabbi as an "accursed child murderer." The rabbi, who was not named, received the threats via email from a person with a history of threatening the Jewish community of Gothen- burg, Daniel Jonas, director of the city's Jewish community, told the Gotheburgs-Posten newspaper Thursday: The community informed police and enhanced its security arrangements, said the report, which did not name the person who sent the threatening emails to the rabbi. The letter refers to the rabbi, who took up his posi- tion in 2012, as a "swine" and warns him that his synagogue will be demolished. It also assures the rabbi he will be "relegated to everlasting fire." Jonas told the paper he feared the publication in media would generate fresh threats. "We know that a publica- tion always brings new emails and new threats. That is our reality," he said. In 2012, unknown indi- viduals set off an explosive device outside the synagogue of Malmo, a city located 170 miles south of Gothenburg and where several dozen anti-Semitic attacks are documented annually. Fred Kahn, the commu- nity's president, told JTA that most attacks in Malmo are by Muslims seeking revenge for Israel's actions. In April, the district of Skane, where Malmo is locat- ed, declined the Jewish com- munity's request to increase the number of security cam- eras around Jewish buildings, according to Michael Gelvan, chairman of the Nordic Jew- ish Security Council, and Per-Erik Ebbestahl, director of safety and security in the City of Malmo. The municipality support- ed the request, Ebbestahl said. British soccer boss sorry for saying Jews chase money (JTA)--The owner of a Brit- ish soccer club apologized for saying in an interview that Jews were inclined to chase money and for defending a racial slur against Asians. DaveWhelan, who owns the Wigan Athletic Football Club near Manchester, apologized last Friday in an interview with the BBC a day after the statements were published i.n The Guardian. Whelan told The Guardian that "Jewish people chase money:more than everybody else." He was defending his decision on Nov. 19 to name Malky Mackay as the club's manager despite a British Football Association inquiry into Mackay for alleged rac- ism in recent email and text exchanges. The three texts or emails Mackay had sent, Whelan. said, included one describing the Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan as a "Chink." In another, Mackay referred to the Jewish soccer agent Phil Smith, saying, "Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers." Whelan said Mackay's slur against Tan "was nothing." But following protests by anti-racism groups, Whelan told the BBC, "If I have upset one person, I apologize." Kick It Out, a platform against racism in soccer, said Whelan "has brought into question whether he is a fit and proper person who should be running" a professional soccer club. The remarks, the Kick It Out platform wrote in a state- ment, "act as another example of the culture which continues to exist within football, and further proves that some in positions of power seem com- fortable sharing those views either privately or publicly. These comments must not go unchallenged and have to be investigated by the Football Association." American Task Force on Palestine downsizes, cit- ing stalled peace process WASHINGTON (JTA)--The American Task Force on Palestine, a group known for working together with Jewish groups is downsizing because of the faltering peace process. Ziad Asali, ATFP's founder, said his Washington-based organization canceled its annual gala because backers were increasingly pessimis- tic about the prospects of the two-state solution they favored. The gala, which usually takes place in the fall, comprises 50 percent of fundraising forATFP's annual $1 million budget. "We see disheartened two- staters--the guys who have come to the conclusion that it ain't gonna happen now," Asali, a Jerusalem-born doc- tor, told JTA last week after Buzzfeed first reported the story. Asali said another factor was the difficulties the group facedamong Arab Americans, who are generally skeptical of the cooperation that he practiced with pro-Israel and Jewish groups, among them Americans For Peace Now, with which ATFP runs a joint intern program, and The Israel Project. "We've had financial dif- ficulties from day one," he said. "Because of what we say and how we say it, and the prevailing mood of the com- munity's thinking is 'them vs. us,' a zero sum game. We brought in another dynamic, we understood it was not go- ing to be popular." The annual ATFP gala drew top officials of both Republican and Democratic administrations, which hailed the group for emphasizing two states as a sblution. In 2006, just after Hamas prevailed in parliamentary elections, ATFP published an advertise- ment in major newspapers insisting that two states were a sine qua non of any longterm solution. Asali's group also worked closely with Salam Fayyad, the reformist prime minister. Fayyad's resignation last year left ATFP without an address in the Palestinian Authority. Asali said it was not clear yet by how much the group would downsize, but insisted it was stillviable, even if limited. "We are not closing down," he told JTA. "We are trim- ming everything as much as possible."