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DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012
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DuBow Digest Germany edition sept. 23, 2012

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A newsletter on American Jewish - German relations

A newsletter on American Jewish - German relations

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  • 1. AN AMERICAN JEWISH – GERMAN INFORMATION & OPINION NEWSLETTER dubowdigest@optonline.netGERMANY EDITIONSeptember 23, 2012Dear Friends:As they say in horse racing, “We’re in the home stretch”. With six weeks to go wehave an exciting race going on and in November we will crown the winner. TheAmerican election? Of course not! I’m talking about the baseball championship andthe World Series. In early November the playoffs and the Series will have beendecided and we’ll know who reigns supreme for the next twelve months.Oh yes! There is the national election and it has some importance. But for most of usred blooded Americans it’s the World Series winner that really counts even if ourfavorite team is not in race (My NY Mets are already mathematically eliminated). Sofor guys like me who are in the “wait ‘til next year” mode, sadly, our major energy isnow being rerouted to the election and world problems.If the Mets had a bad last eight weeks (they kept losing) Germany, as far as theJews are concerned, did not fare much better. The circumcision mess is seen in themost negative of terms and the assault on a rabbi in Berlin didn’t help matters. Itgoes without saying, anything that negatively affects Jews in Germany is takenseriously and these two issues certainly were.The UN General Assembly went into session last week. The unpleasant visit ofIran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes place shortly and the possibility thatPalestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will again try to get a UN vote of some sortfor Palestinian statehood will get some discussion. Both have become regular NewYork events like traffic jams – annoying but not unexpected.Of course, the issue of Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb remains No.1 on thelist of Jewish concerns. The U.S., Germany and the EU are all pushing for strongertrade sanctions while Israel seems to be slowly inching toward a military solution or,at least, they say they are. 1
  • 2. Of the three major matters mentioned above, the U.S. election, the World Series andthe Iran bomb, only one seems to have a clearer (but not totally clear) resolution insight and that is the election. As www.fivethirtyeight.com reported. “Friday was onesuch case: a reasonably strong day in the polls for Mr. Obama, but nothing thatought to alter our impressions of the race.Mr. Obama’s chances of winning the presidential election are listed at 76.9 percentby the forecast model, an incremental improvement from 76.1 percent on Thursday.The trend over the last three days is clearer: Mr. Obama’s forecast is up from a 72.9percent chance of winning the Electoral College…”On to the news….IN THIS EDITIONTHE AMERICAN ELECTION & THE JEWISH VOTE – Obama still in the lead.OBAMA, NETANYAHU & IRAN – Attack Iran or each other?THE CIRCUMCISION MATTER – A mess!CHARLOTTE KNOBLOCH – The former Zentralrat president has tough words forGermany.CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS – A force to be understood.WHO WILL LEAD? - Do the Jews have a leadership problem? How about thefuture?TILAPIA – A fish story that might hook you.THE AMERICAN ELECTION & THE JEWISH VOTEAlmost since the beginning of Pres. Obama’s first term there have been rumors,discussions, media stories, etc. about his less than friendly attitude toward Israel.The accusation remains quite a conversation topic especially in Jewish circles.Of course, Obama supporters deny it pointing out all the positive things the ObamaAdministration have done for Israel. Haim Saban writing in The New York Timesnoted, “Even though he could have done a better job highlighting his friendship forIsrael, there’s no denying that by every tangible measure, his support for Israel’ssecurity and well-being has been rock solid. 2
  • 3. Mitt Romney claims Mr. Obama has “thrown allies like Israel under the bus,” but infact the president has taken concrete steps to make Israel more secure — acommitment he has described as “not negotiable.” (For the full article click here)http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/05/opinion/the-truth-about-obama-and-israel.htmlWayne Allyn Root writing on the Fox News website gives the opposite opinionnoting, “President Obama has gone rogue. As I’ve said for 3 and a half years, thepresident is no friend of Israel. But I thought his betrayal would be timed forsometime after the election- perhaps on a quiet Thanksgiving or Christmas holidayweekend. The fact he has openly thrown Israel under the bus BEFORE the electionis a disturbing sign for Jews (and for all Americans who support the right of ourlongtime friend and ally Israel to exist). Can you imagine what Obama is capable ofafter the Presidential election -- if he never again has to answer to Jewish voters?Click here to read the entire article. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/04/why-obama-has-abandoned-israel-and-jews-should-abandon-obama/#ixzz2787biSWHThere are hundreds of opinion pieces on both sides of the issue aimed at trying toimpact the upcoming election – especially in the Jewish community. With thisbombardment of fact and fantasy where does the Jewish community stand today?A few weeks ago a Haaretz piece reported, “Among Jewish voters, PresidentBarack Obamas lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney is growing,according to recent unreleased Gallup daily tracking poll data reported onBuzzfeed.com.According to the polling data culled between July 1 and September 10, 70 percent ofregistered Jewish voters planned to vote for President Obama. Only 25 percent ofvoters said they were planning to vote for Mitt Romney, with 5 percent undecided.These results indicate a decline from earlier this spring, when 64 percent ofregistered Jewish voters said they would vote for Obama and 29 percent said theywould support his Republican contender.The data Buzzfeed.com obtained from Democratic sources has a margin of error of4 percent. If the poll data faithfully predicts the real voting data, the Jewish supportfor Obama would be more or less equivalent to the support the Jewish communitygave in 2008, when some 78 percent of Jewish voters cast their ballots for Obama.More recently an AJC poll in Florida reported, “More than two-thirds -- 69 percent --of Jewish voters in Florida say they will choose President Obama over GovernorRomney, who will win 25 percent of the states Jewish vote, according to a newAmerican Jewish Committee (AJC) survey.Obama won 76 percent of the Florida Jewish vote in 2008. Jews comprise aboutfour percent of the voters in Florida, which is widely considered to be a key 3
  • 4. battleground state in the 2012 election.Now Florida is not the entire U.S. but the two polls together give us a pretty goodidea of where the Jewish community stands in the election – somewhere close to70% in favor of Obama. Of course, some point out that that is less than the 76% hereceived in 2008 but, in my opinion, 70% isn’t bad. However, Florida is anenormously important state with 29 Electoral votes and there are enough Jews livingthere whose votes might swing the state to one side or the other.We still have more than six weeks to go before Nov. 6th and much can happenbefore then. The two candidates have three national TV debates (plus one for theVice Presidential candidates) coming up and that might have some impact.At the moment, while the poll numbers are still close, Pres. Obama seems to have adecided lead and appears to be pulling away somewhat. He has leads in most of the“swing states” (Those that could go one way or the other – Remember, if acandidate gets more than 50% of the vote in a state he gets all their ElectoralVotes). He certainly maintains a great lead among Jewish voters.OBAMA, NETANYAHU & IRANIn discussing the election and the Jewish community, I should at least mention theflap that took place when Prime Minister Netanyahu appeared on American nationalTV programs stating that there should be “red lines” over which Iran could not go inthe development of its nuclear program. Fearing the possibility of Iranian nuclearweapons, while he did not mention Pres. Obama directly, he was critical of Obama’sunwillingness to draw a line in the sand for Iran.Pres. Obama, who obviously doesn’t want any more wars especially right before anelection, also does not get along very well with the Prime Minister. Of course, theyare always vocal about how close he U.S. and Israel are but the personal animosityis very obvious. Obama seemingly refused to meet Netanyahu at the UN GeneralAssembly meeting (scheduling problems) but did talk to him for an hour on thetelephone.Some in the U.S. feel Netanyahu overstepped his bounds by going directly to theAmerican people on U.S. TV. They saw it as an attempt to support Gov. Romneypolitically, a no-no for a foreign leader. Some worried about Obama’s attitude towardNetanyahu and Israel should he be re-elected and in a position of greater power.What are we to make of this personal animosity? When there are difficult MiddleEast problems I frequently turn to Aaron David Miller. He knows more than most.In a Washington Post piece he wrote, “Yes, news flash, Obama’s relationship withIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is tense. But the overall U.S.-Israeli bond 4
  • 5. is strong and will only grow stronger — and that would be even more certain shouldRomney win the presidency.The relationship has transcended Democratic and Republican politics. Theconfluence of shared values, a powerful pro-Israeli community in the United States,support for or acquiescence in the special relationship among the broader non-Jewish and non-evangelical American public, and institutionalized strategiccooperation with the Israelis produces a bond that is hard to tear asunder.That doesn’t mean that there can’t or won’t be tension, for instance on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But it does mean that on the larger issues of peace andwar, American presidents will have no choice but to win Israel’s approval. And whileWashington may seek to exert pressure at times, the main instruments will besuasion and coaxing the Israelis with all kinds of goodies and benefits.So, my anxiety is reduced and I’m going to relax on this issue until the election isover.You really should read the entire article which you can do by clicking here.http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/under-obama-or-romney-us-mideast-policy-wont-change/2012/09/14/5acaa358-fdd0-11e1-a31e-804fccb658f9_story.html?hpid=z3THE CIRCUMCISION MATTERI cannot think of anything that raises the anger level of Jews (or members of otherreligious groups) more than having someone voice criticism of their religious beliefsand practices. When one questions or criticizes an essential practice held forthousands of years you must expect, at the very least, a strong if not violentreaction. So it was when a District Court in Cologne ruled that circumcision –observed by both Muslims and Jews on religious grounds – was tantamount togrievous bodily harm. The reaction of Jews around the world was one of genuineoutrage.President Peres of Israel wrote to President Gauck on the matter. DW reported,“Israels president has defended the practice of male circumcision in a letter to hisGerman counterpart. Hes the latest high-profile figure to weigh in on a debate overa German court ruling which declared it illegal.In the letter sent to German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday, PresidentShimon Peres asked that Germany protect the religious practice.Circumcision is "a Jewish ritual that has been at the core of Jewish identity forthousands of years and defines the Jewish people, from the time of the firstcommandment given by God to Abraham," he wrote. 5
  • 6. To make things worse and add fuel to the fire, a court in Bavaria was consideringcriminal charges of committing bodily harm against a local rabbi, in the first knowncase to arise from an anti-circumcision ruling in May.The investigation against Rabbi David Goldberg, who is a mohel - or ritualcircumciser, was undertaken after a complaint was filed against him with police byanti-circumcision activists. It meant that the May decision in the state of Hesse hadbeen applied in Bavaria, confirming the fears of Jewish leaders here that the localruling would have a wider impact. The charges were later dropped but the damagewas done.I won’t reprint all the criticisms that were written and published in the American-Jewish press. There were many and a question was raised as to “Why Germany ofall places?”One person who realized the awful public relations that would emanate from thecourt decision was Chancellor Merkel. She had a letter written to MenachemMargolin, director of the Rabbinical Center of Europe. In it according to IsraelHayom, “Dr. Rufolf Teuwsen, the chancellor’s representative to Churches andReligious Communities, wrote… that the “German government sees a specialobligation to cultivate Jewish culture and religion. The chancellor is grateful thatJewish life has, once again, found a home in Germany.”For this reason, the German government is working hard to find a solution to thecircumcision problem, the letter continued.Teuwsen stressed that religious freedom is an essential part of Germany’sdemocratic society.I thought that, perhaps, the Teuwsen statement and the widely reported on feelingsexpressed by the Chancellor would put a damper on the circumcision matter untilthe Bundestag had a chance to consider it and pass some sort of a national law. Iwas wrong.The Jerusalem Post reported, “The representative assembly of Berlin’s Jewishcommunity objected on Thursday to an administrative order issued by the Berlinsenator for justice and consumer protection outlining stringent new conditions forcircumcision.Sen. Thomas Heilmann from the Christian Democratic Union party posted hisdirective on the city’s website, including the specification that Jewish ritual beperformed by a doctor rather than a mohel.The Jewish assembly of the 10,500-strong community wrote in a statement that it“took notice” of Heilmann’s decree and slammed the decision as a “flagrantintervention in the over-3,000-year tradition of Judaism.” 6
  • 7. The assembly said it “unanimously rejected the statement of the Senate for justiceand consumer protection administration.”This seemingly provocative ruling really poured fuel on the fire. We were to hearmore from one of Germany’s most important Jewish leaders. (Keep reading)CHARLOTTE KNOBLOCHAccording to Spiegel Online. “Charlotte Knobloch, the former head of the CentralCouncil of Jews in Germany, wrote a stinging editorial on Wednesday attacking thecircumcision debate, calling talk of a Jewish revival a sham and wondering whethershe was right to spend her adult life defending Germany.Germany has been debating the rights and wrongs of circumcising infant boys eversince a German court ruled in June that the ritual, a core part of the Jewish religion,was unlawful.Now Charlotte Knobloch, 79, the former president of the Central Council of Jews inGermany, has had enough. In a furious editorial published on Wednesday in one ofthe countrys top newspapers, Süddeutsche Zeitung, she said the controversy wascalling the existence of Germanys small Jewish community into question andasked: "Do you still want us Jews?""For 60 years I have defended Germany as a survivor of the Shoah. Now I askmyself if that was right," she wrote. Knobloch is president of the Munich Jewishcommunity and vice president of the World Jewish Congress."It didnt occur to me even in my nightmares that I should have to ask myself thequestion ahead of my 80th birthday whether I was allowed to survive the murder ofthe Jews to have to witness this," wrote Knobloch.Knobloch wrote that circumcision was at the core of Jewish identity. "The zeal withwhich the self-appointed are unfeelingly and thoughtlessly dragging our religiousfoundations through the mud is unequalled. People who apparently have no idea ofthe religious significance of the Brit Mila (circumcision ceremony) who presumablyhave never spoken to a Jew, now want to tell us whether and how we can follow ourreligion."I dont want to go on bearing that silently. Not after all we Jews had to suffer inGermany," wrote Knobloch. "And Im no longer prepared to go along with the shamin which people are talking about a new, fresh, flourishing Jewry in Germany, to giveGermans the feeling that time can heal even the greatest conceivable wound. Thefact is that German Jewry has never gotten over the Shoah. The few who survived itare marked and defined to this day by the absence of that Jewish life that existed atthe start of the 20th century." 7
  • 8. Knobloch said Jews in Germany had to put up with a lot: Nobel Laureate GünterGrass writing about the risks Israel posed to world peace, "obsessive worldimprovers" calling for boycotts of Israeli products, sympathy for Palestinian suicidebombers, and the Prague Declaration in which "some civil rights activists equate thecrimes of communism with that of the Holocaust."She also mentioned attacks on Jews such as the assault on a rabbi in Berlin lastmonth. She said German Jews had spent decades justifying their continuedpresence in Germany to their families and friends abroad."For six decades I have had to justify myself because I stayed in Germany -- as aremnant of a destroyed world, as a sheep among wolves," wrote Knobloch. "Ialways readily carried this burden because I was firmly convinced that this countryand these people deserved it. For the first time my basic convictions are starting toshake. For the first time I feel resignation. I seriously ask if this country still wantsus."All I can say that those are pretty strong words coming from Frau Knobloch. There isvery little I can add other than to say that the circumcision ruling and the attack onthe rabbi in Berlin have touched deep emotional feelings in the hearts and minds ofmany Jews.The ball is now in the court the leadership of the Federal Republic. We’ll have to seewhat they do with it.CHRISTIAN ZIONISTSI have written before about Christians United for Israel (CUFI) which continues to bea major political force in the U.S. when it comes to Middle East policy andparticularly the Israel – Palestinian dispute. However, I decided to include this articlewhich might flesh out your understanding of their enormous impact.Israel Hayom, Israel’s largest newspaper recently reported, “Millions of evangelicalChristians are working day and night to protect Israel. They stage conventions, theyexert political pressure on their representatives and they raise awareness in theworld on issues like the Iranian threat and Palestinian incitement. They do this notonly in the name of justice, but because it is an integral part of their faith in Jesus.Some 6,000 Christian activists and community leaders from all over the UnitedStates gathered in the oppressive Washingtonian heat last month for the seventhannual Christians United For Israel summit. David Brog, the executive director ofCUFI, explained to me that the summit included two days of study, interspersed withmassive events with speakers from Congress and the Senate, and a third day inwhich the thousands of participants go to Capitol Hill to meet with their statesrepresentatives and find out one thing from them: whether they are protecting Israel. 8
  • 9. The politicians on Capitol Hill arent normally visited in Washington by more than adozen constituents from their district. During this annual summit, they are liable tomeet more than 700 constituents at one time. This event has a dramatic effect onthe political activity of these representatives. They understand that there is stronggrass-roots support for Israel in the U.S."Every year, we give them three issues we want them to raise with theircongressmen," Brog explained. "This year we wanted to focus on three issues:legislation aimed at preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons; improvingcooperation on defense issues between the U.S. and Israel and supportingAmerican aid to Israel; and ending the anti-Israel incitement in the PalestinianAuthority."The evangelical Christian community in the U.S. boasts between 50 and 100 millionmembers. For the sake of discussion, lets say the number is 75 million. Of those 75million, about 50 million are in some way — and the combination of these two wordsis difficult for us Jews to grasp — Christian Zionists. Were talking about a significantreligious core of Americans who support Israel and the Jewish people withoutquestion. They repeatedly emphasize that they are not interested in converting Jews(this is in fact one of their clearest rules), nor are they motivated by a desire toexpedite Judgment Day — Armageddon to them, Gog and Magog to us — onIsraels soil. They simply support Israel because it is one of the basic tenets of theirfaith.In the last edition I pointed out that since the American Jews made up less than 2%of the American population and a slightly larger percentage of Americans who vote,it was not their numbers that were important but rather their financial contributions tothe election campaign that made them a target for both political parties. Withevangelical Christians it is quite the opposite. Given their numbers, they are soughtafter for their votes, not their dollars.The Hayom article does not deal with the Evangelicals and the election. It mostlyhas to do with the basis of their religious commitment to Israel but it should be clearthat, being religiously and mostly politically conservative, they are a genuine targetespecially for the Republican Party.A major problem for Jews in thinking about Evangelicals is their history of wanting toconvert Jews to Christianity. Needless to say, that desire has caused great pain andsuffering for Jews throughout the millennia. However, the article notes, “Aftercenturies of bloody conflict between Jews and the church, it is difficult for theaverage Jew to believe that there actually is a revolution underway in the wayChristians — at least some of them — view us. The ancient tenet on which theattitude toward Jews has traditionally rested is called "replacement theology," whichargues that when the Jews refused to accept Jesus as their messiah, they violatedtheir covenant with God, nullifying it and releasing God from his obligation to them. 9
  • 10. God abandoned His people and chose the church. Since then, the true Israel, the"Israel after the spirit," is the church, while the Jewish people remain merely the"Israel after the flesh" — the biological descendants of the biblical Israelites. Therevolutionary concept introduced by the evangelicals is the complete rejection ofreplacement theology.I do not like to question people’s sincerity. If the above is, indeed, the case, theirnumbers and political strength are welcome.WHO WILL LEAD?Since almost all Jewish organizations are of the non-profit, voluntary variety theymust have quality staff who can raise funds, a cadre of volunteers who technicallyhave the responsibility for the health and continuity of the organization who are alsocalled upon for their financial support and, last but not least, a high caliber executivedirector who leads it. Non-government organizations in Germany are pretty much inthe same boat with the exception that most (all?) of their funding comes from eitherthe government or foundations. I’m sure there is some person to person fund raisingbut it seems to be pretty much absent.In any case, three of the U.S.’s leading Jewish organizations now have directorswho are in their 60’s and 70’s. Since we do not have mandatory retirement in theStates, there is no law that forces them into retirement. However, with these keyroles being taken by men who are ageing, there is a question about who will replacethem. There is even a bigger question and that revolves around whether theseorganizations continue with such key and important leaders can maintainthemselves after these “giants” retire.Israel Hayom columnist Isi Leibler raised questions about future leadership bynoting, “The Diaspora is undergoing a Jewish leadership crisis. In the United States,where the vast majority of Jews outside Israel reside, the key professionalsdominating the scene are close to retirement, yet failing to groom successors. Witha few notable exceptions, the situation in most of the smaller Jewish communities iseven worse. In most of these communal umbrella bodies, professionals occupy alesser role than in the U.S. and talented younger people are even more averse toaccepting leadership responsibilities.After addressing the American Jewish community Leibler turns his attention toEurope. He wrote, “On the global level, the World Jewish Congress is confrontedwith a similar problem. Donors to the formerly successful mail fundraisingcampaigns lost confidence in the organization as a consequence of the scandalsassociated with financial irregularities under the former management. Thus, todaythe WJC is almost entirely reliant on the financial largesse of its president andbenefactor, billionaire Ronald Lauder, who provides the bulk of the funding required 10
  • 11. to run the organization. Should he retire or curtail his funding, the WJC would facefinancial collapse.Many of the smaller Jewish communities suffer from a dearth of funds andfrequently have difficulty recruiting qualified voluntary laymen to assume communalroles.This applies especially in Europe where demonization of Israel has morphed intoanti-Semitism reminiscent of the 1930s. During such tough times, strong andcourageous Jewish leadership is of immense importance to maintain morale.The crucial challenge facing leadership is the ability to raise funds in order tooperate community organizations. Philanthropists and foundations are loath tofinance umbrella organizations unless they are directly involved.As a consequence, in recent years there has been an ever-growing trend of Jewishbillionaires "adopting" organizations or assuming “leadership” in return for providingthe funds to meet budget requirements. Although far from democratic, this hasbecome a reality of life.There are numerous precedents where wealthy Jewish individuals contributed to thebenefit of the community. For example, the 19th century British patrician Sir MosesMontefiore was totally unaccountable but in his role as a “shtadlan” — anindependent Jew who interceded with the authorities on behalf of his people — hemade important contributions to the welfare of the Jewish people.At the end Leiber indicates “It is therefore the obligation of the Israeli government toset up a coordinating body, together with Jewish community leaders — particularlythose outside of the United States — to provide guidance and assistance in thiscritical deteriorating arena of Diaspora Jewish life.”Far be it for me to even be critical of the opinion of a noted journalist such as IsiLeibler. However, while Israel could provide a meeting place for the variousrepresentatives of world Jewry and offer “guidance and assistance”, I doubtseriously that any inclination that Israel might have to do more would end up infailure. Jewish groups are very sensitive about their independence. Of course, moredialogue would help but there is already, perhaps, an overabundance of thatalready.In addition, I do not think that the Diaspora is on the verge of collapse or destruction.In the U.S. (and probably Europe as well) organizational structures changeaccording to needs and the financial underpinning available. Organizations comeand go, new ones are formed and new methods of fund raising developed. Duringthe last 45 years that I have been associated with AJC it has changed dramatically.(Some day I’ll write about that). I expect that the same thing will happen in the next 11
  • 12. 45 years and AJC (or whatever it will be called then) will be dealing with whateverthe most important questions of the day are then.Jewish life is going to continue as it has for 3,000 years. Organizations and agendaswill change but the basics will not. Any group that has survived the Holocaust is notgoing to go out of business. Period!If you’d like to read the entire Leibler article (it’s not long) click here. http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=2422TILAPIAI’m not the greatest fish eater (usually too many bones) but when it comes to tilapiaon a menu I usually order it. It’s white, soft and inoffensive. So, when I read thatsomeone somewhere is trying to improve the numbers and quality of this tastydinner treat it does my heart good. When I read a little further and find that that sucha program has been hatched up (Pardon the pun) by Israel, Germany and anAfrican country, Kenya I am genuinely thrilled.Sharon Udasin reporting in The Jerusalem Post wrote, “Israelis, Germans andKenyans have teamed up to increase the tilapia (St. Peter’s fish) population andimprove wastewater treatment in Lake Victoria.Last week, high-level representatives from the three parties signed a trilateralagreement in Kenya for a project that has been in the works for roughly a year, toupgrade commercial fishery and wastewater purification systems in Africa’s largestlake, officials from the Foreign Ministry told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.“Lake Victoria has regional influence – it’s very important water-wise,” Ilan Fluss,director of policy planning and external relations at MASHAV, the Foreign Ministry’sAgency for International Development Cooperation, said then. “Lake Victoria is asmall lake that is three times the size of the State of Israel.”Present at last week’s ceremony from the Israeli side were Deputy Foreign MinisterDanny Ayalon; Ambassador Avi Granot, head of the Foreign Ministry’s AfricanDepartment; and Ambassador Daniel Carmon, head of MASHAV. GermanEconomic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel was accompanied bya delegation of 50 people, including four parliamentarians, Carmon told the Post onWednesday.Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga presided over the ceremony, and was joined byfour members of his cabinet.The signing event was held at the team’s brand-new excellence center for researchand development, on the grounds of at the Ramogi Institute of Advanced 12
  • 13. Technology in the lakeside town of Kisumu in western Kenya.Before the signing, professional work had already begun to increase the commercialstrength of tilapia in fish ponds around the lake. In the lake itself, tilapia have beenfacing fierce competition of a predator of theirs, Nile perch. Two or three projectsrelating to the fish growth have already begun, and Israeli experts on fisheries havebeen to the region to help instruct the trainers of the local men and women whowork at the lake’s fisheries, according to Carmon.He emphasized that the Kenyans were not simply receiving help, but were activepartners in the endeavors.“The Kenyans, who are also participating, they are not only recipients – it’s atrilateral cooperation,” Carmon said.I think we should all be thrilled by this sort of cooperation. No! It’s not submarinesbut it will be a great help to an African country that can use the help. The fact of thematter is that Africa needs a great deal of Western assistance and, probably fordifferent reasons, both Germany and Israel seem to be committed to this sort ofactivity.Friendship comes from the little things as well as those larger matters. I hope allsides keep it up.************************************************************************************************See you in October before the election and again in November to go through theresults and see what happened. DuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be contacted byclicking hereBoth the American and Germany editions are posted atwww.dubowdigest.typepad.comClick here to connect. 13

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