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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 18, 2015 PAGE 15A By Curt Schleier Dec. 16; the grand finale is on the Dec. 20 broadcast from (JTA) AvigailAlfatov eats Planet Hollywood Resort & herpizzaupsidedownandhas Casino.) Alfatov has just ar- funny hiccups. Her favorite rived from Israel; she's tired food is falafel and she makes and, as her handler points out, her face shine bywiping it with she's a little nervous about her green tea bags. English skills. So our ques- How do we know this and, tioning starts with the easy perhaps more important, why stuff, her background. do wecare? "My parents were born Well, Alfatovisthereigning in the Ukraine and came to Miss Israel and is the country's Israel," she says. "I was born entry in'the Miss Universe in Israel. We are not very Pageant, which airs Dec. 20 religious." on Fox. These are just a few Theyemigratedbecause"to of the fun facts listed on her be Jewish in other countries is contestant profile, not good, so they didn't want She is also a national fenc- me to be born in this place ing champion, would love [Ukraine]." to meet Michael Jordan and Her father is a graphic has volunteered with Akim, designer, her mother a teach- an organization that works er. Alfatov was raised in Acre, with people suffering from a coastal community and one intellectual disabilities, of the oldest continuously It's 7:30 a.m. and she's on inhabited cities in the Middle the phone with JTA from Las East. Its population is a mix Vegas, where the pageant was of Jews, Muslims, Christians held. (Some activities, such and Bahais. as the swimsuit and evening Acre is also the place where gown competitions, began the Israeli Olympic fencing team trains, she says, and every school in town teaches fencing. "I really liked it and contin- ued," Alfatov says. "Continued" is putting it mildly. She is the national youth champion in Israel and hopes--nay, expects--to be part of Israel's 2020 team in Tokyo. She is in the Air Force, handling "security of informa- tion," which has something to do with computers.Alfatov has another year to go and then hopes "to study in university and keep going with fencing." Alfatov graduated magna cum laude from high school and her ambition is to be an ambassador. Entering Miss Universe is all part of her plan. "I know it can open many doors," she says. "I also learn a lot about myself, and [the international experience] shows me how it's going to be in my dream job." She's already got a leg up in giving diplomatic answers: Acre is a place where "Muslims and Jews live alltogether," she says. "I have neighbors who are Arabs. It's all good." "It's all good" is a regular refrain from the 19-year-old. For example: Has the current spate of attacks upon Israelis impacted her at all? "When I'm walking in the streets, I'm used to it," she says." My city is a safe place. You can't worry. I'm all good." Is she concerned that rep- resenting Israel in the current political climate might hurt her chances ofwinning?"No, I don'tworry," she says. "I don't think about it." At last year's Miss Uni- verse, there was a significant kerfuffle over a photo of Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, and Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige. The latterwas threatenedwith the loss of her title, but quickly apologized and claimed the Is- raeli photobombed the selfie. Alfatov remains non- plussed. "I didn't know about that," she laughs. Miss Israel, 19-year-old Avigail Alfatov, will compete in the Miss Universe Pageant, which will air on Dec. 20. So all that's left is to figure "The antioxidants," she out why she uses green tea says. "It makes my face bags in such a manner, smooth." From page 1A to have the opportunity to JFGO Executive Direc- zation that will serve as to our success in the years innovative ideas won us all put my skills to work for torOlgaYorishsaidbring-the hub of Jewish life in ahead,'Yorishsaid."Macey's over at Federation. With Markowitz said. "I have been such a dedicated group of ing Markowitz on board Central Florida for genera- impressive credentials and Macey on board, I am more very impressed by Federa- professionals and volun- has helped to complete tions to come. track record of successoptimistic than ever about tion's commitment to the teers. This is a winning the Federation's transi- "We conducted a year- got our attention, and her the role Federation will play Greater Orlando Jewish team, and I'm genuinelytion into a more dynamic, long, nationwide searchheartfelt dedication to Jew- in serving our Jewish com- community, and I'm thrilled honored to be a part of it." forward-looking organi-because this role is so pivotal ish ideals and her positive, munity." From page 2A has convened in Vienna on Daesh in one hand and Iran "Unfortunately, as part of Kerry, speaking the next come, with separate enclaves confronting the Islamic State, on our border," Yaalon said, the deal, the Iranian deal, day, saidthatIranandRussia, fortheShiites, theDruze, the sitonthefence, thevacuumis depicting it as part of a pro- suggesting he had evidence one of the implications of by joining the Vienna talks, anti-IslamicStateSunnisand filled, andSyriaisanexample, cess since the Iran nuclear that Iran was orchestrating the Iranian deal is a more had joined a process that the Kurds. whether by Iran or the Shia agreement this summer of attacks on the Israeli presence confident Iranperceivedasa would lead to a unified Syria "This is the only good axis supported now by Russia legitimating Iranian influ- on the Golan Heights against part of the solution in their removed of the leadership of option that might come out or by Daesh, by ISIS." ence in the region, the wishes of Bashar Assad, readiness to fight Daesh and Assad and the influence of of this chaotic situation," Yaalon appeared especially "Weworry about it as this theSyrianpresidentthatIran gaining hegemony every-outsiders, he said. concerned by the involve- processmightbringabouttwo and its proxies are nominally where, in Iraq and now in "Russia and Iran are at the Kerry and Yaalon agreed ment of Iran in talks Kerry bad options, as I mentioned: protecting. Syria," he said. "The Vienna table for the first time.., in on one thing: They each said process, which I'm not sure which they agree there has thatwhateverthepoliticaldif- will be successful, provides to be a transition," he said. ferences between the United Iran the opportunity to gain Yaalon in his talk Friday States and Israel, the defense From page 4A defund terrorism," Daniel this time of declining Ameri- power, to gain hegemony. Very evening said Israel preferred relationship remained "su- Miller told me. "I'm a civi- can leadership, is something dangerous." a fractured Syria as an out- perb." in January this year has gone lized person, I'm not going worth noting. nowhere.Argentina now has a to go and blow up an Iranian Ben Cohen, senior editor centrist, pragmatic president target, so the only path left of TheTower.org& The Tower in the form ofMauricio Macri, to me is to go after their Magazine, writes a weekly col- From page IOA if my brain perceived it that tastelikelemonshewasquite who has already announced money. If another country umnforJNS.orgonJewishaf- way, but is most certainly amazed and immediately that he is breaking with the experiences the kind of hor- fairsandMiddleEasternpoli- the same material as the cup, tasted like I was drinking a asked if I had other flavors.'" pro-Iranian leanings of his rificterrorismIexperienced tics. His writings have been infused with lemon scent and fresh glassoflemonwater. Rubinstein affirms that predecessor, but he won't in Israel, as Argentina did, published in Commentary, flavor. "I then gave the test straw other flavors are planned. He pursue the AMIA bombers on then the more we need them the New York Post, Haaretz, "When I took my first sip to my 8-year-old daughter says The Right Cup has no his own. The next American as a partner." The WallStreet Journal, and of water from The Right Cup and asked her to simply try competition. Of course you administration, however, I can't express the impor- many other publications, straw I was blown away. The the water. Her immediate can buy flavored water, but could conceivably offer him tance of this cause any more He is the author of"Some of material is a smooth, hard reaction was amazement and that always includes some a hand in doing so. clearly than these victims of My Best Friends: A Journey plastic type material that awe. She said that the lemon type of sweetener, natural or "We should be helping terror have done. But I can Through Twenty-First Cen- smelled exactly like lemon. I water tasted 'soooooo good'! artificial."Peopleperceivefla- people in all countries, be- add that they have a strategy tury Antisemitism" (Edition honestly have no clue if the WhenItoldherthatitwasthe voredwaterasmuchhealthier cause the overall goal is to for response--and that, in Critic, 2014). material tasted like lemon or strawthatcausedthewaterto thanit is,"he comments. From page 14A railprojectsinJerusalemand li government," said Moti TelAvivhavel~othexperienced Shechter, director of Haifa debating whether to enact delays. University's Natural Resource a carbon tax, which taxes "We claim there is a huge and Environmental Research CO2 emissions, oracap-and- potential, but without stable Center. "Politicians make trade program, which limits regulation and planning the promises only when they the amount of greenhouse investorsaren'tgoingin,"said don't have a choice, when gases that companies can Gil Proaktor, the Ministry of there's catastrophe. When emit and provides incentives Environmental Protection's the danger isn't at the door, for companies that come in seniorcoordinatoronclimate they can push it off." under the threshold. Israel's change. "We have a govern- Israeli environmentalists, government has had a poor ment decision on plans, but however, believe the govern- trackrecordontheseprojects, not on implementation."ment has missed an oppor- The Israeli government had Whilethe France dealsetsa tunity to commit itself to a aimed for 5 percent of the targetofavoidingariseof3:6 greener future. Israel's cli- country'senergytocomefrom degrees Fahrenheit, analyses mateplanaimsforsolarpower renewablesourcesby2014and showthat taken together, all toprovide17percentofIsrael's 10 percent by 2020. Now it's the countries' plans would energy by 2030. EliBrif, head at less than 2 percent and is leadtoatemperatureincrease of the climate protection slated to miss the 2020 target of about 4.8 degrees. And department at Green Course, by2or3percent.Ahigh-speed Israel's tiny size means that an Israeli environmentalist train to Jerusalem from Tel no matterwhat it does, itwill group, says a country that's Aviv that began construction have a minuscule effect on mostly sunbathed desert can in 2001won't provide service global emissions, go further. untilatleast2017,whilelight "It's not just the Israe- No new solar fields have been approved for three years, which officials and experts attributed to bureaucratic delays and a powerful fossil fuel lobby. "We have the potential and ability to use solar power on buildings, public institutions, barns, chicken coops and in solar fields," Brif said. "It's going in the right direction, but we need serious strides, not baby steps." Several activists, however, see in the Paris accord a glim- mer of hope. The climate issue is now on the national agenda--even if Israel's com- mitments, as they see them, are falling short. "It's all a question of po- litical will and pressure," said Yael Cohen-Paran, Israel's sole lawmaker from the Green Movement who serves as part of the opposition Zionist Israel's lagging a little and it Union. "I hope and assume doesn't bother anyone. We there will be global pressure, need to scream a bit louder." Arava Power Company's 4.9-megawatt field sits outside Kibbutz Ketura in Israel.