DuBow Digest Germany Edition Oct.18, 2012


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An American Jewish - German Information and Opinion Newsletter

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DuBow Digest Germany Edition Oct.18, 2012

  1. 1. AN AMERICAN JEWISH – GERMAN INFORMATION & OPINION NEWSLETTER 10 Voorhis Point, South Nyack, NY (845)353-1945 dubowdigest@optonline.netGERMANY EDITIONOctober 18, 2012Dear Friends:We are now through two of the three planned Presidential debates and electionfever is at an all time high. During the second debate, as you have probably heardfrom your own media, Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney almost came to fisticuffs.Even with all the campaigning, one group’s votes do not change much; that of theJewish community. Still pretty solid for the Democrats. (See below)As I explained in my American Edition, I’m exhausted hearing, reading and watchingpolitical ads. There seems to no end to it. After Nov. 6th I may get some rest but P.M.Netanyahu has called for a January election in Israel and so I’ll be glued to thecomputer following that. When that finishes the German election season, I am sure,will be picking up steam. With the SPD Chancellor candidate selected there will beno rest for the weary. It’s O.K. not to feel sorry for me.I want to direct you to my Oct. 16th American Edition which you can access atwww.dubowdigest.typepad.com . There are two articles, which I think should bearyour attention. One deals with circumcision and the other with what is being seen bysome as a troubling rise in anti-Semitism in Germany. Both matters have receivedconsiderable coverage in the American-Jewish, as well as general, press here in theU.S. I’d be interested in your reaction.If there is any energy left over from politics it is being spent on following the baseballchampionship playoffs which in about a week will culminate in the beginning of theWorld Series. There is lots of discussion about the collapse of the favored New YorkYankees who are now on the cusp of elimination. That doesn’t make me sad. I’m aconfirmed New York Mets fan, who didn’t even come close to making the playoffs,and an equally confirmed Yankee hater. Vital information for your records! 1
  2. 2. Enough! Let’s get on with the news…IN THIS EDITIONSOME RECENT POLLS – On Israel & American Jews. Views and being viewed.PALESTINIANS: BACK TO THE UN – What will the Palestinians gain (or lose) bygoing to the General Assembly?THE PROBLEMS SURROUNDING JEWISH MARRIAGE – Muddying the waters on“Who’s a Jew”.AN ARAB POINT OF VIEW (PLEASE READ IT) – An enormously important articlefrom a Saudi writer.AMERICAN CHRISTIANS & ISRAEL – Who loves Israel and who doesn’t.HOW MANY ARE THERE? Jews in Israel that is.SOME RECENT POLLSMost of us here in the U.S. that follow politics are, by this time, sick of polls. Thepolitical ups and downs can be wearying. However, once we get away from daily(Who’s ahead?) politics some of the polls turn out to be quite interesting.A recent survey by the Foreign Policy Initiative found that, “Seventy percent ofAmericans view Israel favorably”.The Jerusalem Post reported, “Moreover, when asked their view of Israel, nearly 81percent of political conservatives share that view while the number is at 68.5 percentfor moderates and roughly 63 percent of liberals.The survey, called Foreign Policy Matters in 2012, was conducted from Sept. 15-17by Basswood Research for the Foreign Policy Initiative. Its margin of error is 3.1percent. Roughly 40 percent of respondents identified as Republicans, 40 percentas Democrats and 20 percent as either Independents or with no party affiliation.When asked the open-ended question who was “America’s best ally in the world?” Israel came in at 15.9 percent, second only to the United Kingdom, which had 54 percent. ****** 2
  3. 3. There has been a great deal written about the friction between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama. In addition, much of the European press is, and has been for a long time, critical of the Israeli Prime Minister. However, none of that seems to have had any affect on the Israeli public. Haaretz recently reported, “If elections were held today, according to the latest Haaretz-Dialog poll, Benjamin Netanyahu would have no trouble forming his third government. And that poll was conducted before his appearance this week at the UN.…as compared to poll conducted two months ago, held in the shadow of the taxincreases and the economic belt-tightening, the new one shows that Netanyahu hasgained in popularity, and that the gap between Likud and Labor has increased fromfour to eight projected Knesset seats (i.e., to 28 and to 20 seats, respectively). TheLikud-rightist-Haredi bloc has also increased its strength - to 66 Knesset seats, if theelection were to be held today.There is much more to the story, most of it dealing with the elements going into thenow scheduled early election. You can read it all by clicking here.http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/as-early-elections-loom-netanyahu-s-standing-in-polls-is-stronger-than-ever.premium-1.467275*****In anticipation of the American election AJC published its 2012 Survey of AmericanJewish Opinion. In terms of the upcoming election the results were 64.9% Obama,24.1% Romney and 9.9% undecided.These numbers are pretty much in lock step with those I reported in the last editionof DuBow Digest.Perhaps, more interesting were the answers to the other questions in the poll. Forinstance, almost 80% were between moderate and liberal while only 18.7% leanedconservative or considered themselves conservative.54.8% listed themselves as Democrats, 15.8% Republican and 26.8% IndependentThere are many other questions in the poll which you can access by clicking herehttp://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=846741&ct=12208961By and large American Jewry remains liberal and intensely interested in all thequestions that confront them as American citizens. Interestingly, the issue of theeconomy ranks at the top of “important issues” while “U.S. – Israel Relations” comesin way behind in fourth place. 3
  4. 4. I believe if the danger to Israel was seen as something larger and more apparent,the numbers would be much higher. However, the Iran nuclear issue apparently isnot seen in such dark and ominous terms. Obviously, the Israeli government andthose American Jewish organizations that have the view that there is greater dangerhave not made their case as yet. Iran’s nuclear program is only seen as an issue ofimportance by 1.3% of those responding.PALESTINIANS: BACK TO THE UNThere is little doubt that, given the “Iran problem”, the matter of Palestinianstatehood has been pushed to the back burner. However, it has certainly not goneaway, but with the continued internal problems the Palestinians have (Hamas vs.Fatah – West Bank vs. Gaza) no immediate movement toward an agreement withIsrael seems to be forthcoming. However, Pres. Abbas, no matter his own politicalweakness, is intent on getting some sort of recognition in the UN.Reuters (via JTA) reported, “The United Nations is likely to hold a debate onwhether to upgrade the Palestinians’ U.N. status to a sovereign country in mid-November - after the U.S. election, the president of the 193-member U.N. GeneralAssembly said on Wednesday.Having failed last year to win recognition of full statehood at the United Nations,Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last week he would seek a less-ambitious status upgrade at the world body to make it a “non-member state” like theVatican.The Palestinians’ current U.N. status is an “observer entity.” If Abbas wins, thatwould change to “observer state.”“Come the middle of November, there’s going to be an international debate on thePalestine issue in the General Assembly,” U.N. General Assembly President VukJeremic told a news conference.“There are electoral and political calendars in many parts of the world,” he said in areference covering the Nov. 6 U.S. election.“My understanding is the Palestinian Authority leadership is going to engage inextensive discussions … coming to a conclusion as to what they want to do sometime in November.”Upgraded status for a Palestinian state could be uncomfortable for Israel. Beingregistered as a state rather than an entity would mean the Palestinians could joinbodies such as the International Criminal Court and file a raft of complaints againstIsrael for its continued occupation. 4
  5. 5. An upgraded status would also anger Israel’s close ally, the United States, whichargues that a Palestinian state can only be created through direct negotiations.There have been no direct Palestinian talks with Israel on peace since 2010, whenthe Palestinians refused to resume negotiations unless the Israeli governmentsuspended settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week that the two-state solution wasthe only sustainable option for peace. But he said the continued growth of Israelisettlements meant that “the door may be closing, for good.”The so-called two-state solution involves the creation of a state of Palestine to existpeacefully alongside Israel.Both Israel and the U.S. are opposed to any General Assembly resolution believingthat such a declaration would harm the possibility of direct negotiations. On the otherhand, the Palestinians believe (Jerusalem Post), “…that a UN resolution that setsthe territorial parameters of the two-state solution at the pre-1967 lines would helppave the way for a final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.The Israelis are very much opposed to the setting of the territorial parameters at the1967 lines believing that all territorial matters have to be decided upon in directnegotiations.There is no question that a UN General Assembly resolution will dramatically hardenthe Israeli position. With Israeli elections coming up, probably in early 2013, such adeclaration would enhance P.M. Netanyahu’s political situation. If Pres. Obama is re-elected we will have to wait and see what his position will be if and when it comes topass.Given the other problems in the Middle East such as the disaster that is Syria, thecontinuing fragile situation in Iraq, the ups and downs of the “Arab Spring” it is hardto see how the Israel – Palestinian situation can move forward. However, it is stillthere and must be dealt with in some fashion. What that fashion will be remains anunanswerable question at the moment.I want to bring your attention to a most interesting article by Dr. Tal Becker, a widelyrespected academic and observer of the Middle East scene. Abbas’s Five Non-Options is printed as Policy Note13 by The Washington Institute for Near EastPolicy.Dr. Becker’s article delves deeply into the options that Palestinian President Abbashas before him. None of them are very good such as the re-starting of negotiations(not happening at the moment), the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority,reconciliation with Hamas, the UN option and the initiation of non-violentdemonstrations. It’s 8 pages but very readable, balanced and deals realistically withthe problems the Palestinians are facing. Click here to access it. 5
  6. 6. . http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Documents/pubs/PolicyNote13.pdfTHE PROBLEMS SURROUNDING JEWISH MARRIAGEMarriage is usually an institution that normally is meant to bind individuals, families,clans and even nations. European royalty is a good example. However, theproblems of Jewish marriage is causing a great deal of trouble in Israel and,therefore, in Jewish communities around the world.To understand the problem one must understand that according to Halacha, Jewishlaw, in order to be considered Jewish one must be born to a Jewish mother orproperly converted. That’s it! No exceptions!The Jerusalem Post recently reported, “Of the interminable squabbles that haveerupted in recent years between the religious establishment and proponents forgreater inclusiveness in matters of Jewish identity, the issue of Jewish marriage isperhaps the most fundamental and explosive of them all.In particular, the arrival of over one million immigrants from the former Soviet Unionsince 1990, including approximately 330,000 people who are of Jewish descent butare not accepted as Jewish according to Halacha, led the religious establishment todemand that all immigrants provide proof of their Jewish lineage before beingallowed to marry in a Jewish wedding ceremony.But there are an increasing number of people who, instead of complying with thedictates of the Chief Rabbinate, marry abroad in civil ceremonies which are notavailable in Israel but which are subsequently recognized by the state.This phenomenon is causing great concern to those who argue that it is leading tothe division of the Jewish people in Israel into two groups: those who are recognizedas Jewish and the growing population of those whose Jewish lineage is cast intodoubt as a result of the dramatic increase in civil marriages conducted abroad.This phenomenon is causing great concern to those who argue that it is leading tothe division of the Jewish people in Israel into two groups: those who are recognizedas Jewish and the growing population of those whose Jewish lineage is cast intodoubt as a result of the dramatic increase in civil marriages conducted abroad.To many this sort of split doesn’t have much meaning. However, in Israel and inOrthodox communities throughout the world (including Germany) this Jewish divisionhas real meaning and possible disastrous implications. If you are interested in thesubject and want to pursue it further click here to read the entire article.http://www.jpost.com/Features/FrontLines/Article.aspx?id=285743 6
  7. 7. AN ARAB POINT OF VIEW (PLEASE READ IT)I do not quote much from the Arab press. Most of the articles that deal with Israeland/or Middle East peace seem very one sided and are frequently filled with anti-Israel invective. However, every once in a while I come across something that I thinkshould be shared. The article below deserves to be widely distributed and read.Because I was so touched by it I’ve decided to re-print it in its entirety.The author is Abdulateef Al-Mulhim and the piece is entitled, “Arab Spring and theIsraeli Enemy”. It appeared on the Internet in Arab News. Mr. Al-Mulhim writesessays and op-eds that appear in regularly in Arab News, the SUSRISblog andelsewhere. He is retired from the Royal Saudi Navy at the rank of Commodore.Arab Spring and the Israeli EnemyThirty-nine years ago, on Oct. 6, 1973, the third major war between the Arabs andIsrael broke out. The war lasted only 20 days. The two sides were engaged in twoother major wars, in 1948 and 1967.The 1967 War lasted only six days. But, these three wars were not the only Arab-Israel confrontations. From the period of 1948 and to this day many confrontationshave taken place. Some of them were small clashes and many of them were full-scale battles, but there were no major wars apart from the ones mentioned above.The Arab-Israeli conflict is the most complicated conflict the world ever experienced.On the anniversary of the 1973 War between the Arab and the Israelis, many peoplein the Arab world are beginning to ask many questions about the past, present andthe future with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict.The questions now are: What was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world andits people. And the harder question that no Arab national wants to ask is: What wasthe real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spendtheir assets on education, health care and the infrastructures instead of wars? But,the hardest question that no Arab national wants to hear is whether Israel is the realenemy of the Arab world and the Arab people.I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child inYemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt,car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya. The photos and the reportswere shown on the Al-Arabiya network, which is the most watched and respectednews outlet in the Middle East.The common thing among all what I saw is that the destruction and the atrocities arenot done by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction inthese Arab countries are done by the same hands that are supposed to protect andbuild the unity of these countries and safeguard the people of these countries. So, 7
  8. 8. the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands ofinnocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemywhose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies andIsrael should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab worldare corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom,lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictatorswho used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.In the past, we have talked about why some Israeli soldiers attack and mistreatPalestinians. Also, we saw Israeli planes and tanks attack various Arab countries.But, do these attacks match the current atrocities being committed by some Arabstates against their own people.In Syria, the atrocities are beyond anybody’s imaginations? And, isn’t the Iraqis arethe ones who are destroying their own country? Wasn’t it Tunisia’s dictator who wasable to steal 13 billion dollars from the poor Tunisians? And how can a child starvein Yemen if their land is the most fertile land in the world? Why would Iraqi brainsleave Iraq in a country that makes 110 billion dollars from oil export? Why do theLebanese fail to govern one of the tiniest countries in the world? And what made theArab states start sinking into chaos?On May 14, 1948 the state of Israel was declared. And just one day after that, onMay 15, 1948 the Arabs declared war on Israel to get back Palestine. The warended on March 10, 1949. It lasted for nine months, three weeks and two days. TheArabs lost the war and called this war Nakbah (catastrophic war). The Arabs gainednothing and thousands of Palestinians became refugees.And on 1967, the Arabs led by Egypt under the rule of Gamal Abdul Nasser, went inwar with Israel and lost more Palestinian land and made more Palestinian refugeeswho are now on the mercy of the countries that host them. The Arabs called this warNaksah (upset). The Arabs never admitted defeat in both wars and the Palestiniancause got more complicated. And now, with the never ending Arab Spring, the Arabworld has no time for the Palestinians refugees or Palestinian cause, because manyArabs are refugees themselves and under constant attacks from their own forces.Syrians are leaving their own country, not because of the Israeli planes droppingbombs on them. It is the Syrian Air Force which is dropping the bombs. And now,Iraqi Arab Muslims, most intelligent brains, are leaving Iraq for the east. In Yemen,the world’s saddest human tragedy play is being written by the Yemenis. In Egypt,the people in Sinai are forgotten. 8
  9. 9. Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy (Israel)? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian? The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations. All I can say is that if there were more leaders in the Arab world like Abdulateef Al-Mulhim the Israeli – Palestinian dispute would have been settled years ago.AMERICAN CHRISTIANS & ISRAELIt’s no secret that keeping the relationship between the U.S. and Israel on a positivefooting is one of the most , if not the most, important item on the list of almost allsegments of American Jewry. Without the friendship of the U.S. Israel would be atthe mercy of the surrounding Arab countries and, in all likelihood, cease to exist asthe world’s only Jewish state. Since Jews are only about 2% of America’s populationthe key is to continue to have the support of the Christian community.Following World War II American Christian churches, by and large, weresympathetic to the newly founded Jewish State with the exception of those that hadfollowings in the Middle East. Clearly religious institutions always have their politicalside.After the Six Day War (1967) things began to change. More of the left wing churches(liberal) began to see the Palestinians as “underdogs” and more anti-Israel feelingbegan to emerge. As a counterweight, the more right wing (evangelical) churchessaw in Israel a religious meaning for themselves and therefore became advocatesfor the Jewish State.Today there seems to be a genuine split in American Christian ranks. JTA recentlyreported, “Fifteen leaders of U.S. churches and other faith-based organizations haveasked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel.The religious leaders sent a letter to Congress members on Monday, calling for aninvestigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and 9
  10. 10. the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which would make Israel ineligible for U.S. militaryaid."We write to you as Christian leaders representing U.S. churches and religiousorganizations committed to seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians," theletter said, adding that the organizations have "worked alongside our PalestinianChristian sisters and brothers to help build a peaceful and resilient Palestinian civilsociety." The signatories said they were writing to Congress "to express our graveconcern about the deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinianterritories."The American Jewish Committee [responded and] said it was outraged by theChristian leaders call. “When the world currently is focused on the Iranian nuclearthreat to the entire Middle East and the world, Christian leaders have chosen tomount another political attack on Israel,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC director ofInterreligious and Intergroup Relations. “When religious liberty and safety ofChristians across the Middle East are threatened by the repercussions of the ArabSpring, these Christian leaders have chosen to initiate a polemic against Israel, acountry that protects religious freedom and expression for Christians, Muslims andothers.”Now we come to the other side of the coin. Haaretz recently reported, “Waving blueand white Israeli flags, thousands of evangelical Christians from around the worldfilled streets of downtown Jerusalem on Thursday in a show of support for theJewish state.The annual march during the week-long Jewish Sukkot holiday brings togetherChristians from dozens of countries.Evangelical Christians are known as strong supporters of Israel, providing financialhelp and political backing, especially in the U.S. Even so, their hard-line viewstoward Palestinians and suspect religious motivations make some moderate Israelisand Jews abroad uncomfortable.Evangelical support for Israel is rooted in Christian Zionism, which calls for thereturn of Jewish exiles to the Holy Land to fulfill Biblical prophecies. Over the pastseveral decades, key figures in the evangelical movement have lobbied the U.S.government to give greater support for Israel.Thursdays event was organized by the International Christian Embassy ofJerusalem, a group that promotes ties between Israel and the worlds Christiancommunities.Strange! With vast majority of American Jews “liberal” on most of the social issues,one would think that the liberal Christian churches would make for the most naturalof partnerships. And, since the evangelicals are socially conservative they would 10
  11. 11. make the least favorable. Israel, obviously, is the difference maker.It should be noted that not all liberal Christian churches or, certainly, not all liberalChristians are “anti-Israel”. It is mostly the church bureaucracies connected to theirco-religionists in the Middle East from which the difficulties arise. No matter what,American Jewry and their bureaucracies stay vigilant on the issue and try their bestto work with those church groups that do not seem so opposed on their mostimportant basic agenda item – Israel.HOW MANY ARE THERE?Every once in a while one of the Israeli or American universities decide that it’s timeto count how many Jews there are in Israel. (As a child I thought that almost all Jewslived in the Bronx even though I knew that some lived in a place called Palestinebecause we saved nickels and dimes for the Jewish National Fund to buy land andplant trees)I was wrong! And, now, according to Y-Net News, “The global Jewish populationreached 13.75 million in the past year, with an increase of 88,000 people, a study byHebrew University Professor Sergio Della Pergola reveals. According to the study,one out of every 514 people in the world is Jewish, less than 0.2% of mankind.About 43% of the world’s Jewish community lives in Israel, making Israel the countrywith the largest Jewish population.The Central Bureau of Statistics reported on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the JewishNew Year 5773, that the total population of Israel in 2012 grew to nearly 8 million.About 73% of the population is native born.The Israeli Jewish population stands at 5,978,600, up 1.8%; the Arab populationnumbers at 1,636,600, up 2.4%; and the rest of the population including Christiansand non-Jews reached 318,000 people, up 1.3%. Israel’s Jewish population makesup 75% of the state’s total people.In all, the Jewish state’s population increased by 96,300 people in 2012, a growthrate that did not diverge from the average rate in the past eight years.Part of Israel’s population increase comes in part of the new immigrants that havearrived to the country. In 2011, Israel welcomed 16,892 new immigrants as citizens,with the largest populations coming from Russia (3,678), followed by Ethiopia(2,666), United States (2,363), Ukraine (2,051) and France (1,775).Israel’s population is relatively young compared to populations in other westerncountries, with 28% of the population aged 0-14. Israel’s life expectancy is one ofthe highest of the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and 11
  12. 12. Development’s (OECD) 34 member states, with Jewish males’ life expectancy 4.2years higher than their Arab counterparts.The Central Bureau of Statistics also found that 40% of Israel’s population lives inthe center of the country, with Tel Aviv as Israel’s densest region, while 17 % lives inthe north, 14% in the south, 12% in Jerusalem and Haifa, and 4% in Judea andSamaria. Over 47,885 couples married in Israel in the past year, of which 75% were Jewishand 21% Muslim. In 2011, there were 166, 296 babies born in Israel.It’s pretty clear we’re not evaporating any time soon.********************************************************************************************See you in November. DuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be contactedby clicking hereBoth the American and Germany editions are posted atwww.dubowdigest.typepad.comClick here to connect 12