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December 12, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 12, 2014

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 12, 2014 By Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA)--This government was supposed to be different. During the last election campaign in 2012, Israelis seemed to tire of the existen- tial issues that have plagued the country for decades. Barely anyone talked about the Israeli-Palestinian con- flict. Long-simmering social tensions over the rising cost of living and the economic burdens of the underemployed haredi Orthodox community were going to finally get their due. The Knesset's arrivistes-- former television personality Yair Lapid and technology millionaire Naftali Bennett-- swept into government by LOCAL 407-660- 88 championing middle-class concerns. As members of the coalition, Bennett's Jewish Home party and Lapid's Yesh Atid worked on a number of social and economic initia- tives, including efforts to lower dairy prices and curb growing housing costs. Though Jewish Home ve- hemently opposed Palestin- ian statehood and Yesh Atid supported it, both agreed that haredi Orthodox men should be drafted into the army and integrated into theworkforce. Less than two years later, the partnership has broken up over the very issues that the parties had downplayed. Bickering over peace talks began in the spring and the shouts grew only louder af- ter this summer's war with Hamas. The recent crisis in American-Israeli relations further fanned the flames. The rifts came to a head last week with the Cabinet's adoption of the so-called nation-state law--a measure to enshrine Israel's Jewish character into law. Bennett supported the bill, while La- pid, the finance minister, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni were opposed. In announcing Tuesday that the coalition had faltered, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited three areas of disagreement: building in eastern Jerusalem, demand- ing Palestinian recognition of Israel's Jewish character and maintaining a strong stance against Iran. Netanyahu also singled out Lapid and Livni for their criticism of government policy after firing them from their Cabinet posts. The next government, the The following is a speech by Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor delivered to the UN General Assembly on Nov. 24. Ambassador Prosor is Israel's permanent representative to the United Nations. Mr. President, I stand before the world as a proud representative of the ........... With each $50 gift card purchase in any denomination " ........................... ....... receive a $10 Holiday Bonus Card with our compliments through December 31. Bonus Card redeemable 2015. Orlando Colonial MarketPlaza (407) 894-1718 East Orlando Waterford Lakes Town Center (407) 249-9475 Southwest Orlando The Marketplace at Dr. Phillips (407) 355-0340 * Ocoee Shoppes of Ocoee (407) 798-2000 * Altamonte Springs Palm Springs Shopping Center (407) 830-1770 = Lake Mary Lake Mary Centre (407) 833-0848 Flash90 Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni at a news conference at Tel Aviv Municipality's Youth House, Nov. 20, 2014. prime minister vowed, would be like the previous one--a stable coalition of hawkish, conservative parties. Following the collapse of peace negotiations, the kid- napping and murder of three teenagers in June, the 50-day war in Gaza over the summer and the recent violence in Jerusalem--including the killing of four Jewish worship - pers and a Druze policeman at a Jerusalem synagogue last month--politicians are focusing again on the issues that have always preoccu- pied them. After elections, now scheduled for March 17, everything old will become new again. "The 2013 campaign was after relatively quiet years," said Tal Schneider, author of the respected political website Plog. "Israel is not used to having such a length of time without any terror attacks. We're back to normal, [but] last time it wasn't on the agenda." Recent polls predict the elections will be good for par- ties on the far left and right that have made the Palestin- ian conflict their principal issue. Surveys show Jewish Home jumping from 12 to 16 seats, even 19, and the far-left Meretz, which went from three to six seats in the last election, rising to nine. Every survey shows Yesh Atid losing seats. Meanwhile, Likud's his- toric chief rival, the left-wing Labor party, has returned to its dovish roots, electing as chairman Isaac Herzog, a former corporate lawyer who strongly supports peace talks with the Palestinians. Herzog replaced Shelly Yachimovich, an assertive former journalist who stayed all but silent on the Palestinian issue in the 2012 elections. And that shared agenda of integrating haredim into the army and workforce? The realities of parliamentary politics will almost definitely make that a thing of the past. If he wins again in March, Netanyahu has vowed to ally again with haredi parties who seek to roll back the law passed earlier this year requir!ng some haredi men to serve in the army. Even a left-wing State of Israel and the Jewish people. I stand tall before you knowing that truth and morality are on my side. And yet, I stand here knowing that today in this Assembly, truth will be turned on its head and morality cast aside. The fact of the matter is that when members of the in- ternational community speak about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a fog descends to cloud all logic and moral clar- ity. The result isn't realpolitik, its surrealpolitik. The world's unrelenting fo- cus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an injustice to tens of millions of victims of tyranny and terrorism in the Middle East. As we speak, Yazidis, Bahai, Kurds, Christians and Muslims are being executed and expelled by radical extremists at a rate of 1,000 people per month. How many resolutions did you pass last week to address this crisis? And how many spe- cial sessions did you call for? The answer is zero. What does this say about international concern for human life? Not much, but it speaks volumes about the hypocrisy of the international community. I stand before you to speak the truth. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, less than half a percent are truly free--and they are all citizens of Israel. Israeli Arabs are some of the Ambassador Ron Prosor most educated Arabs in the world. They are our leading physicians and surgeons, they are elected to our parliament, and they serve as judges on our Supreme Court. Millions of men and women in the Mid- dle East would welcome these opportunities and freedoms. Nonetheless, nation after nation, will stand at this podium today and criticize Israel--the small island of democracy in a region plagued by tyranny and oppression. Mr. President, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestin- ian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. Sixty-seven years ago this week, on Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to Miriam Alster/Flash90 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading a Likud faction meeting at the Knesset, Dec. 1, 2014. government would likely need haredi support to form a parliamentary majority. Israelis, of course, still care about housing prices that have soared 80 percent since 2007 and growing income inequality. An as yet unnamed party founded to address those concerns, headed by former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon, is expected to draw plenty of votes. But Israelis aren't pitching tents on the street to protest economic policy as they did in 2011. This year, they have massed to support soldiers fighting in Gaza, pray for the kidnapped teens, oppose the nation-state law and protest the torching of a Jewish-Arab school. "People vote by security," Schneider said. "They may say in the polls that they're more into the housing crisis, but it's really never about the economy." partition the land into a Jew- ish state and an Arab state. Simple. The Jews said yes. The Arabs said no. But they didn't just say no. Egypt, Jor- dan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon launched a war of annihilation against our newborn state. This is the historical truth that the Arabs are trying to distort. The Arabs' historic mistake continues to be felt-- in lives lost in war, lives lost to terrorism, and lives scarred by the Arab's narrow political interests. According to the United Nations, about 700,000 Pal- estinians were displaced in the war initiated by the Ar- abs themselves. At the same time, some 850,000 Jews were forced to flee from Arab countries. Why is it, that 67 years later, the displacement of the Jews has been completely forgotten by this institution while the displacement of the Palestinians is the subject of an annual debate? The difference is that Israel did its utmost to integrate the Jewish refugees into society. The Arabs did just the op- posite. The worst oppression of the Palestinian people takes place in Arab nations. In most of the Arab world, Palestinians are denied citizenship and are Ambassador on page 22A