Beck to address Knesset committee


Right-wing radio talk show host Glenn Beck will address a Knesset committee during an upcoming visit to Israel.

Beck will discuss how to fight the delegitimization of Israel around the world during a July 11 meeting of the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, at the invitation of committee chairman Danny Danon of the Likud Party, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The meeting reportedly will focus on the September meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, when the Palestinians say they will ask for recognition of a Palestinian state.

Beck’s July visit, including his address to the Knesset committee, will be filmed for Beck’s on-line show, which will be used to promote his announced ‘Restoring Courage’ rally to be held in Jerusalem in late August.

Former Godfathers’ pizza CEO and 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have said they will attend the rally.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Beck will visit Tamar Fogel, whose parents and three of her siblings were killed by Palestinian terrorists as they slept in their home in the West Bank community of Itamar. Beck devoted segments on three days of his Fox show to the incident in the wake of the massacre and spoke admiringly of Tamar.

Abbas denounces West Bank murders on Israel Radio


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the killing of five members of a West Bank Jewish family “despicable,” “inhuman and immoral.”

“A human being is not capable of something like that,” Abbas said in Arabic during an interview Monday morning on Israel Radio. His words were translated into Hebrew by the interviewer.

“Had we had advance information, we would have prevented this,” Abbas said of the March 11 attack that left five members of the Fogel family of Itamar dead, including a 3-month-old baby.

Abbas also said that the Palestinian Authority would work to find the killer or killers responsible, and that he has agreed to a request by Israel to launch a joint investigation.

Abbas, who called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to offer his condolences—Netanyahu called them “weak and mumbled statements”—took issue during the interview with Netanyahu’s accusation that the Palestinian Authority incites against Israel in its mosques and schools. The PA leader offered to set up an Israeli-Palestinian-American committee to look into the allegations.

More on this story: David Suissa: Behind the Itamar murders

 

Reality radio goes kosher


Reality in Israel can be tough, especially for very religious families. In many ultra-Orthodox (Charedi) communities, Torah study for men is more highly valued than work. As for the women, if they are not working to support their husband’s learning or to add to their husband’s often-low income, they are raising children — and many children at that. To top it all off, they can’t escape their financial woes through the secular world’s favorite diversion: the tube.

“In religious communities, especially the Charedi communities, people don’t have televisions at home. Whereas a secular person comes home after work and turns on the TV to watch news, a religious person comes home and turns on the radio,” said Ido Lebovitz, CEO of Radio Kol Chai, Israeli’s most highly rated religious radio station, broadcasting to some 200,000 religious people.

To maintain its edge, Kol Chai has adapted television’s most popular trends to give religious communities, ranging from religious Zionist to Charedi, some kosher entertainment and education all in one. “A Life of Riches and Honor,” the station’s new reality radio show, seeks to assist religious families in overcoming their difficult reality through reality entertainment.

Over the course of 10 weeks, 13 families, representing a cross-section of the religious spectrum, must prove that they can run their households more economically and efficiently than the rest — and that includes paying bills, providing for their children and getting out of the hole.

Every week, the families are given a task related to home and financial management. The first task of the show: Purchase a week’s worth of groceries within a prescribed budget. The commercial teaser for this episode offered the tip: “Don’t go supermarket shopping hungry.”

At the second taping of the episode at the Kol Chai studios in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Bnei Brak, all contestants shared, on air over the phone, their experience overcoming the first challenge.

“We tried to cut and buy only what we need, not just what was within hand’s reach, but to think before buying,” one contestant concluded. “We tried to buy more with less,” said another.

A studio panel of experts from the field of banking, business and household management judge the contestants’ shopping prudence and analyze their savings methods. To help determine the winner, producers compile detailed figures comparing their new spending habits with the old. Listeners at home and the show’s judges vote for the winners based on their ability to cut costs.

At the end of each show, one family is sent back to its poorly managed home. The first-place winner receives 20,000 NIS (about $4,750) worth of electrical appliances — not a bad way to solve at least some troubles.

However, Lebovitz insisted, “the point is not to find a winner but
to increase awareness. The real winners are the hundreds of thousands of people who learn to save.”

Better late than never, Theodor Herzl, children reunited in death; Ex-N.J. Governor McGreevey’s Isra


Theodor Herzl, Children Reunited in Death
 
Two of Theodor Herzl’s children were reinterred in Jerusalem after decades of debate. Hans and Pauline Herzl, who died in 1930 and were buried in France, were laid to final rest alongside the Zionist visionary at the cemetery that carries his name in Israel’s capital. Theodor Herzl, who launched the modern Zionist movement and wrote “The Jewish State” a few years before dying in 1904, had expressed the wish to be buried next to his children. But Israeli authorities, after reinterring Herzl himself in 1949, were reluctant to do the same for Hans and Pauline given the controversy over their deaths. Pauline died of a drug overdose in what might have been a suicide, prompting her brother to shoot himself. Hans’ conversion to Christianity shortly before his death further stoked religious opposition to his burial in Israel. But rabbis recently ruled that Hans had disavowed Christianity before dying, and that Pauline’s demise was a result of mental disturbance.
 
“Having brought in the remains of Pauline and Hans, we are completing the mission and achieving historical closure,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the burial ceremony.
 
Ex-N.J. Governor McGreevey’s Israeli ‘Lover’ Denounces Book
 
An Israeli who was James McGreevey’s declared love interest attacked the former New Jersey governor’s memoir. McGreevey, who stepped down in 2004 after declaring he was gay, published a memoir this month titled, “The Confession.” In it, he details an affair he said he had with Golan Cipel, an Israeli whose appointment to serve as homeland security adviser in New Jersey raised eyebrows. But Cipel, who says he is straight and suffered sexual harassment by McGreevey, issued a statement attacking the book as a “pack of lies.”
 
Cipel said: “I strongly hope that the gay community rejects this obvious and shameless ploy from a man who has engaged in acts of deception, sexual violence and intimidation.”
 
Latino Jews React to Miami Radio Caricature
 
Hispanic Jews in Miami formed a group to monitor Spanish-language media for anti-Semitism. The establishment of the Hispanic Jewish Initiative comes after Jews said they were offended by Goldstein, a Jewish character on the top-rated 95.7 FM show, known in English as “The Morning Hijinks,” local media reported. A Web page, until recently linked to the show, depicts a black character, Al Jackson, with the mug shot of a man whose lips balloon from his face. In place of a photo for Goldstein is a Nazi eagle and swastika.
 
The group, created under the state chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, will monitor and address other concerns of Florida’s Spanish-speaking Jewish population.
 
Israel Unmoved by Irish Boycott Call
 
Israel’s education minister downplayed an Irish call for Israeli academics to be boycotted. In an open letter published by the Irish Times newspaper earlier this month, 61 local academics urged their country, as well as the European Union, to impose a moratorium on ties with Israeli educational institutions until Israel “ends the occupation of Palestinian territories.”
 
The letter also deplored Israel’s “aggression against the people of Lebanon” during the recent war against Hezbollah. Israel’s education minister, Yuli Tamir, said she would meet the Irish ambassador to discuss the boycott call but played down its importance.
 
“At this time, I don’t see a real danger to Israel’s academic ties, though any boycott is despicable and we have to make sure it is lifted,” she told Army Radio.
 
Four Men Charged In Norway Synagogue Attack
 
Norwegian police charged four men in the shooting attack on an Oslo synagogue. The men were initially charged with vandalism Sept. 21, but the charge was upgraded to organizing an act of terrorism, an offense punishable by up to 12 years in prison. Police said one suspect was Norwegian, and the others had different backgrounds. They declined to provide more information about the suspects. However, Norwegian news outlets have reported that one suspect was a 29-year-old Norwegian of Pakistani origin who had been held briefly in Germany in June on suspicion of planning an act of terrorism against the soccer World Cup. No one was hurt in the Sept. 17 incident.
 
Czechs on Security Alert During High Holidays
 
The Czech Republic went on high alert for a terrorist attack during the High Holidays. The government announced the alert in the early hours Saturday and said it would continue for some time, with no specifics given. Czech officials noted that the Czech alliance with the United States in its war on terror might have made it a target, but there was also media speculation that an attack was planned to coincide with Rosh Hashanah. A government spokesman reportedly hinted that the alert was connected to the arrest of four men charged with shooting at an Oslo synagogue last weekend. Norwegian authorities have said the men were plotting to blow up U.S. and Israeli embassies in other cities. Thousands of additional police are present in the streets of Prague and are particularly noticeable near Jewish sites, such as synagogues and the Jewish community headquarters.
 
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Letters to the Editor


Chamberlain Ad

I do not know if I can communicate how deeply offended I was by the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) Neville Chamberlain ad on page 6 of the Sept. 8 Jewish Journal. Besides the complete lack of intellectual honesty, the appalling lack of logical reasoning fails beyond the pale to measure up to the traditions of Judaism specifically and humanity in general:

Rather than deal with the threat that Al Qaeda actually presents to our national security, President Bush has chosen to waste hundreds of billions of dollars on a personal vendetta in Iraq washed in five years of the blood of the Iraqi people and citizenry of our great nation.

Rather than communicating with a government seeking to open communication between the United States, President Bush consciously closed all potential paths of dialogue and continuously vilified and threatened a sovereign nation in a tinhorn cowboy attempt to force Iran into a diplomatic mistake of nuclear proportions.

Rather than assist Israel to defend itself against continuing malicious attacks from Hezbollah or Hamas, Bush specifically chose to do absolutely nothing for five years, and more importantly, two weeks of Israel’s invasion into Lebanon, then sent the single most ineffectual secretary of state within the last century to negotiate a failed cease-fire proposal.

If The Journal is so strapped for cash, it would be a far better use of its ad space to place a plea for donations and financial support from its readership, rather than compromising all dignity and integrity by running further tripe from the RJC.

Richard Adlof
North Hollywood

Shame on the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) for running two ads which desperately tried to denigrate the Democratic Party.

First, shame on the RJC for taking an issue of great bipartisan agreement — support for a strong U.S.- Israel relationship — and turning it into a wedge issue for tawdry partisan political advantage. Any objective observer of U.S. politics has to agree that both of our major political parties are remarkably supportive of Israel. This fact is crucial in maintaining the strong relationship between the United States and Israel. For the RJC, however, it appears that twisting the truth for some petty partisan gain is apparently more important than maintaining bipartisan support for the Jewish state.

It is true that in both parties there are a handful of politicians who are not part of this bipartisan consensus. Carter is one of these outsiders who find no support for their positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict within their own parties.

Jewish newspapers, like all newspapers, have an obligation to not print false and misleading ads. We hope in the coming weeks, as RJC slings more mud, this newspaper will fact-check their ad copy to make sure the RJC doesn’t continue to use these pages to violently twist the truth.

Marc Stanley
First Vice Chair
National Jewish Democratic Council

The Republican obsession with Iraq has left Israel open and vulnerable to the possible nuclear overtures of a Holocaust-denying Iran. The Republican obsession with the Cold War almost led to a military defeat for Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War (and did lead to a country-permeating malaise). The Republican obsession with a fundamental Christian theology that is based on the apocalyptic demise of not only Israel but Jews everywhere is too eviscerating and too self-evident to even require an elaboration.

Does any Jew still believe that the Republican party has their true interests at heart?

Marc Rogers
Thousand Oaks

We applaud the recent public discussion about the support for Israel by the political parties (“GOP Sees Israel as Way to Woo Democratic Jews,” Sept. 1).All who are pro-Israel should appreciate the positive influence our growing Jewish Republican community is having on the GOP. Our access to senior GOP leaders is warmly encouraged, and, in return, the Jewish community is increasingly impressed by an administration and a Republican Congress that have been deeply pro-Israel.

The example of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is instructive. The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) was virtually alone among national Jewish organizations in supporting the nomination of this hero of the Jewish people, who not only helped to defeat the odious “Zionism is racism” resolution years ago, but who now vigorously defends Israel at the United Nations against unfair demonization and delegitimization. Many Jewish Democrats now see that Bolton is the right man at the United Nations.

Putting aside the issue of Israel, moderate Jews might approach 21st century American politics with an open mind on who is best on both national security and domestic public policy issues. It is time that respectful attention be paid by Jews to positive GOP ideas about economic growth, welfare and entitlement reform, medical liability and tort/legal reform, energy independence and educational choice and competition to best serve children.

To the benefit of Israel and the United States, the days of one-party Jewish voting are, thankfully, over.

Joel Geiderman
Chairman
Larry Greenfield
Director
Republican Jewish Coalition, California

Illegal Jewish Immigrants

Your articles focused on illegal Israeli immigrants who are not terrorists and do not take low-paying jobs away from minorities (“Living and Working [IL]Legally in America,” Sept. 8). Instead they engage in commercial activity that is beneficial to Israel.

Thanks to your article calling attention to them, perhaps immigration officials will divert attention from terrorists to crack down on these Israelis.

Are you The Jewish Journal or the anti-Jewish Journal?

Marshall GillerWinnetka

The Jews Didn’t Do It

Not all conspiracy theories are equal (“The Lie That Won’t Die,” Sept. 1). Richard Greenberg’s article asks us to believe otherwise, holding out only two possibilities to the American public: Either you accept the government version of Sept. 11 or you are a “conspiracist.”

But the world is much more complex than these two positions allow, and the democratic process itself depends on citizens who question official stories. David Griffin, author of “The New Pearl Harbor” and three additional books on Sept. 11, raises important questions about the adequacy of the Kean Commission report.

Mizrahi Music Travels West


Eitan Salman is at the far end of his store, leaning against a shelf lined with the new CD by Sarit Hadad, one of Israel’s more popular Mizrahi, or Eastern, singers.

Business at Salman’s music store has fallen 80 percent over the last decade, but it’s not altogether a bad thing: Mizrahi music has grown so popular in Israel that it no longer is the exclusive domain of mom-and-pop shops like Salman’s but is sold even at Israel’s Tower Records outlets.

"Mizrahi music is now available across the country, in all the stores," laments Salman, whose shop is located across the street from where Tel Aviv’s old central bus station used to stand.

Indeed, with the superstar status of singers like Hadad, Zahava Ben and Moshik Afia, Mizrahi music now tops the charts in Israel and its popularity crosses ethnic lines.

Salman and neighboring store owners remember the "cassette music" heyday, a time when Mizrahi music was the exclusive domain of Mizrahi-run stores like Salman’s, near bus stations and in souks.

"In the 1980s, Mizrahi music was not sold in record stores," explained Barak Itzkovitz, musical editor of Galgalatz, Israel’s popular army music radio station. "Today, there is a lot of consciousness about this music, and it’s one of the most popular musical genres."

The roots of Mizrahi music in Israel date back to the 1950s and the mass influx of immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East. Every community arrived with its distinct religious music, commonly known as piyutim, as well as its favorite Arabic music.

As Iraqis, Moroccans, Egyptians and Persians mixed, they exchanged musical sounds as well.

"They found out they had commonalities in their music," said Shoshana Gabay, co-creator of "Yam Shel Dmaot," or "Sea of Tears," a 1998 documentary on the development of Mizrahi music in Israel.

Children born in Israel in the 1950s grew up with other influences as well: American rock music, Indian movie music, French and Italian pop music and Russian-inspired Israeli music. The result was fusion music far ahead of its time.

"Years later there was this world music combination in other countries," Gabay said. "But in Israel it started very early, with the Asian Jews."

By the 1960s, Tel Aviv’s Yemenite quarter was home to a brand new sound.

"They had all these parties, and at those parties they took what they had learned in school — Russian-inspired Israeli songs, some Chasidic songs — and made them Oriental sounding," Gabay said. "They blended these songs with popular Arabic songs and traditional Yemenite songs and made a mix out of them. They were making an interpretation, their own interpretation."

Musicians blended not only musical styles but instruments: electric guitar and oud, synthesizer and kanoun — a classical string instrument from the Middle East and North Africa — drum kits and darbuka, a Middle Eastern and North African hand drum.

Despite the ingenuity of this new groove, Israeli fusion music stayed in Mizrahi neighborhoods until the invention of the cassette recorder, when recording suddenly became economically viable to a community with meager financial resources.

The first Mizrahi music became available on cassette in 1974, and the hit bands Lahakat Haoud and Lahakat Tslelei Hakerem couldn’t produce recordings fast enough. Tapes flew off the shelves and into the hands of Mizrahi Israelis hungry for more.

But mainstream Israeli radio stations played few Mizrahi songs.

"The people in radio were mostly from Europe," said Yoni Rohe, author of the newly published "Silsul Yisrael," which documents the development of Mizrahi music in Israel over the past 50 years. "They didn’t like the Mizrahi sound. It was not easy for them to relate to."

"The popularity of Mizrahi music was a process that happened over 15 years," Itzkovitz said. "Like hip-hop in the United States, it came from the hood, from the bottom up. It just couldn’t be stopped."

Following the success of the first recorded Mizrahi music bands, Mizrahi pop stars suddenly began to appear around the country: Avner Gadasi of Tel Aviv’s Hatikvah neighborhood, Shimmy Tavori from Rishon Le-Zion, Nissim Sarousi from Ramle.

Despite the dearth of Mizrahi music on mainstream radio stations, the Mizrahi music industry blossomed.

Zohar Argov, the poster boy for Mizrahi music, came onto the scene in 1978. Argov created Israeli country music, Ron Cahlili, film director of "Yam Shel Dmaot," told the Jerusalem Post in 1998.

"His subjects were the pain of love, betrayal, loss and sorrow," Cahlili said. "Argov was hard core, unafraid to sing about his reality and his life as he saw it."

At times compared to Elvis Presley, Argov lived on the edge: He died at 33 from a drug overdose. His albums continue to be best-sellers, however.

"Nancy Brandes did production for Zohar Argov," Rohe recounted. "Brandes came from Romania, and his connection with Zohar Argov made a new blend of music — a blend of big band and Mizrahi. This was a historical turning point. From there, in the 1980s, Mediterranean Israeli music went professional."

Meanwhile, other Mizrahi musicians developed new fusion sounds.

Ahouva Ozeri, a Yemenite-Ethiopian Israeli singer who became popular in the 1970s, mastered an Indian string instrument called bulbul tarang and gained a reputation as a world beat musician. She also helped pave the way for women in Mizrahi music.

Machismo was not the only obstacle to female Mizrahi musicians: In traditional Mizrahi households, a music career was equated with prostitution, and many families forbade their daughters from performing.

Hadad’s defiance of her parents is legendary in Israel. As a girl, she would climb out of her window at night to perform at local clubs. Her father, who died in 1997, refused to attend even a single concert of his superstar daughter.

Gabay and Rohe say the turning point for Mizrahi music was the development of commercial television and radio in the 1990s, which opened up new avenues for national broadcast of Mizrahi music, as well as other alternative sounds.

Today, Itzkovitz said, Hadad is hands-down the most popular Mizrahi musician in Israel. Afia and Itzik Kala are runners-up, and each puts out at least one platinum album per year.

"Mizrahi music is very, very popular on Israeli radio today," Itzkovitz said. "On major stations like Galgalatz, we pick only the songs that sell the best, the most popular ones that people love. Today, about 40 percent of what we play is straight-up Mizrahi music."

In addition, Itzkovitz noted, Mizrahi music has influenced musicians closely associated with the Ashkenazi kibbutznik movement. Among them is David Broza, who combines his style with the Mizrahi genre, and bands like Ethnix and Tea Packs, which combine rock and Mizrahi music.

Today’s hottest new sound is the fusion of Mizrahi music and hip-hop, Itzkovitz said. Indeed, Mizrahi musicians have blazed the trail for Israeli hip-hop, and children of immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Morocco and Yemen are at the cutting edge of Israeli music today.

Somehow, it seems, the music of the streets has became the music of choice.

"In the last years," Rohe said, "this mix of the new generations, the blend of music that came from Ashkenazi and Mizrahi homes, has brought a new sound to the ear that is as Israeli as you can get."

Article reprinted courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Loolwa Khazzoom (

7 Days In Arts


Saturday

Today’s unorthodox Rosh Hashanah suggestion: Do themorning services, then tune into KCET. PBS’s newsmagazine “Religion and EthicsNewsweekly” features a “Belief and Practice” segment on Jewish High Holidaysthis afternoon. Hear Rabbi Alan Lew of San Francisco’s Congregation Beth Shalomdiscuss “the spiritual transformation that occurs during this time of reflectionand repentance.” TV in the spirit of the holiday — embrace the irony. 1:30 p.m.KCET. www.kcet.com .

Sunday

Sept. 11 on Sept. 28? We don’t get it either, but we are intrigued. Today, LACMA hosts the world premiere of “Sara’s Diary, 9/11: A Dramatic Composition in Five Parts.” Touched by the stories of mothers-to-be who lost partners or husbands on Sept. 11, Leroy Aarons, was moved to write the piece that imagines one woman’s emotional journey. Soprano Shana Blake Hill lends vocals to the music written by Aarons and Glenn Paxton.6 p.m. Free. Bing Theatre, LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 473-8525.

Monday

Enjoy this end-of-September eve with some Jewish tunes.The first five CDs in the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music have just beenreleased. Highlights from Kurt Weill’s “The Eternal Road” offers somethingtheatrical; the Old Country meets the New World in “Great Songs of the AmericanYiddish Stage”; old schoolers and clarinet enthusiasts make out with”Klezmer-Inspired Concertos and Concerts”; more religious themes come packagedas “Sabbath Eve Service and Cantata” by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco; and theindecisive find their niche in the archive’s “Sampler Disc.” Milken CDs: www.naxos.com .

Tuesday

When a girl is 5-foot-10 3/8 at the age of 13, humor seems a necessary coping mechanism. Jennifer Rosen might not have grown an inch since then, but she spent a good portion of her adolescence fearing she would. Between worrying she’d wind up a “Guinness Book of World Records” entry and dealing with a loving but neurotic Jewish mother who didn’t exactly help quell those fears, it’s no surprise she’s got enough material for a whole show. Her funny one-woman piece, “Tall Girl,” plays tonight at the National Comedy Theatre — a workshop performance in preparation for a premiere at the Groundling Theatre next spring.8 p.m. (Tuesdays, through Oct. 26). $12. 733 N. Seward St., Hollywood. (323) 960-5621.

Wednesday

Two important documentaries from Moriah Films recentlyhit stores. “The Long Way Home” recounts the postwar struggles of Holocaustsurvivors and the creation of Israel. It won the Academy Award for BestDocumentary Feature in 1997. “In Search of Peace, Part One: 1948-1967″chronicles the first two decades of Israel’s existence from a globalperspective. Both DVDs feature archival images and production stills. $24.98. www.amazon.com

.

Thursday

Today we promote “Hooters,” and thank American ORT and Camp Max Straus Foundation for giving us this unique opportunity. But cool those hot wings. This isn’t an endorsement of the sports bar known for girls in orange short-shorts. This is “Hooters,” a romantic comedy play by Ted Tally. Taking place over the course of a weekend in Cape Cod, the two-act follows the antics of a couple of teenage guys who try to pick up two young women. Tonight’s performance is a gala benefit for the aforementioned Jewish organizations.Oct. 2 and 3, 6:30 p.m. (reception), 8 p.m. (performance). Oct. 4, 8 p.m. (performance, reception follows). $10-$20. Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., second floor, Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 481-9929.

Friday

KCRW’s Warren Olney chats with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright this evening. Subjects of discussion will include her years in the Clinton White House, the road that led her there and, likely, her new book, “Madame Secretary: A Memoir.” Will the subject of her parents’ Jewish ancestry come up? Only one way to find out.7:30 p.m. $20. Scottish Rite Building, 4357 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 335-0917.

World Briefs


Israel: P.A. Didn’t Help Rescue

The Palestinian Authority had no part in the rescue of a kidnapped Israeli taxi driver, Israeli officials said. P.A. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas personally pledged cooperation in the efforts to locate and release Eliyahu Gurel, but a senior Israeli army officer said Wednesday that the rescue operation was conducted solely by Israeli forces. Israeli officials differ over whether the motive for the kidnapping was criminal or terrorist. Gurel, who unbeknownst to his captors understands Arabic, said they talked of using him as a bargaining chip for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority’s failure to prevent the kidnapping could have damaged peace efforts.

“We hope that next time they will do everything to prevent such kidnapping of Israelis,” Shalom said.

Israel Deports Irish Journalist

Israel deported an Irish journalist who was mistaken for an IRA bomb expert allegedly helping Palestinian terrorists. The French news agency quoted an Israeli official as saying John Morgan had cooperated fully with the investigation. The official was quoted as saying that Morgan, a pro-Palestinian activist, had been conducting political activities after entering Israel on a tourist visa, Israel Radio reported.

N.J. Supporting Terror?

The state of New Jersey is allowing taxpayer dollars to fund Palestinian terrorism, a Jewish group says. Amcha-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns planned a rally at the New Jersey state house in Trenton, on Thursday, June 17, to demand that Gov. James McGreevey stop Rutgers University, which is state-funded, from hosting an Oct. 10 summit of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement. In a recent e-mail, an organizer of the conference said that she supports Palestinian violence against Israel.

“Would the governor allow the KKK the use of publicly funded institutions?” asked Joshua Chadajo, Amcha’s executive director. Rutgers officials told The Associated Press they have received 230 letters from Jewish activists nationwide and from the regional Anti-Defamation League protesting the conference, but the event will be held in the name of free speech.

Califorina Hate Crimes Down

The number of hate crimes reported in California last year declined. But hate crimes against Jews in 2002 remained constant — there were 175 in 2002, as compared with 176 in 2001.

“We are heartened that hate crimes across the state of California are down,” said a regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Bernstein. “However, we are deeply troubled that hate crimes against Jewish people have not declined substantially.”

Israeli, Egyptian Security Chiefs Meet

The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency met with his Egyptian counterpart. The talks between Meir Dagan and Omar Suleiman followed the Egyptian official’s discussions Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and P.A. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Group: French Far-Right, Jews Linked

There are links between the French far-right and Jewish extremists, a leading French anti-racism organization says. The Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between People published a 170-page report Wednesday that details widespread Internet links between “the classic extreme-right and extremists who claim to be Jewish.” The report says that more than 450,000 messages were exchanged via the sites over a two-year period, including “racial insults, death threats and calls to attack Muslim places of worship.”

‘Sex and the City’ Star Israel-Bound

‘Sex and the City’ star Sarah Jessica Parker may visit Israel this fall to promote a local edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. A representative from the company that will publish the Israeli version of the magazine said Parker’s September visit is nearly certain, the daily Yediot Achronot reported.

Several years ago, Parker, whose mother is Jewish, hosted an episode of “Sesame Street”-like program, “Shalom Sesame.”

Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency

‘L’Chayim Radio’ Silenced


"I was thinking back to my childhood and the origins of my interest in Judaism," said Mel Wax, native of New York and longtime Los Angeles-area resident, "and it came from the Yiddish records my grandfather gave me."

Like many others in the Los Angeles Jewish community, Wax was a regular listener of KCSN’s "L’Chayim Radio," a weekly radio show dedicated to Jewish music, traditions and events.

"I listen to the radio a lot in my car, but it was the only show I listened to at home," Wax said. "I think that the city with the second largest Jewish population deserves a show like that."

Sunday, Feb. 4, marked the final airing of "L’Chayim Radio." With little warning, the show was canceled by KCSN.

"It was definitely a shock. It has been on the air for 27 years, and I have been doing the show for 17 of those years," said its host, Michael Russ, cantor of Congregation B’nai Emet in Simi Valley.

Though not often done in radio, the station allowed one final show, which generated a strong audience response.

"I was amazed on Sunday," Russ said. "Mark Eastman, my volunteer assistant, couldn’t be there, so my wife came in. The phone was ringing off the hooks. I couldn’t talk to most of them, but my wife told me that people were crying."

The show was born as "Kol Shalom" in 1973 when Mark Alyn and Sid Kaufman joined forces to bring Jewish news, information and music to listeners of the radio station at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Kaufman soon left the program, but the show continued as "L’Chayim Radio" with Alyn for 10 more years.

Alyn said the original was somewhat more serious in nature than Russ’ show. "We did live remote broadcasts. We went to Israel," he said. "We taped Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in the evening and aired them in the morning for those who couldn’t attend. We were even syndicated to a few other stations. We tried to be a voice, a sugar-coated voice, for the community."

When Alyn left to move on to other broadcasting opportunities, Russ volunteered to take over. Donating his time from 10 a.m. to noon every Sunday, Russ focused primarily on music, bringing everything from traditional holiday fare to klezmer and even reggae — all with a Jewish focus — to the Los Angeles airwaves.

Along with the music, Russ’s show served as an outlet for Jewish organizations and voices. "Different organizations sent me announcements, and I would read them on the air," Russ said, "or sometimes I’d have Jewish nonprofit organizations come to the station…. They would come on and tell about their event or program. It was very community-based."

Local celebrities in the Jewish community such as Ed Asner and Monty Hall, as well as figures from the Jewish music scene, like Debbie Friedman and Craig Taubman, were frequent guests of the show.

Russ said he knew that the station’s management was not extremely happy with the show. "Rene Engle, the station manager, came in two to three years ago. He’s very Jewish. We sat down together, and he told me that Jewish radio was problematic for him. A Jewish guy was the first guy to ever have a problem with a Jewish show."

Engle insisted that the show’s cancellation was a programming and fundraising decision. "We have a problem when a program is so narrowly focused and seems not to be attracting an audience at all," Engle said. "For a program that has been in the community for such a long time, it has never built an audience, and that audience has diminished in the four years that I have been here. Radio stations just have to make programming changes that are to the benefit of the listeners and to the benefit of the station."

Engle indicated that the station had not come to a decision about what will replace the show but has been "developing some other concepts for a while."

His response to the idea that the Los Angeles Jewish community needs Jewish radio programming is that KCSN provides Jewish content by covering Jewish events and programs during the station’s other shows. "We do a lot of Jewish-related things in ways that have more impact because they are done for a general audience," he said.

Russ believes that the show had a wide following, citing Canadians who would listen whenever they visited Los Angeles. He also remembers receiving calls from Muslim and Christian listeners. "It was a very positive thing for the Jewish community," he said. Recently, the program began broadcasting over the Internet, making it accessible worldwide.

Cantor Kenny Ellis, who sat in for Russ on many occasions, also laments the loss of the show. "The community is really the one who is going to suffer from this," he said. "It had importance for people who are shut in and have no other available outlet for Jewish culture, as well as for all other members of the Jewish community. With the amount of Jewish people in Los Angeles, there is not enough Jewish culture on TV or radio. This was filling that void, and now it is a black hole."

Russ has not lost all hope about the future of "L’Chayim Radio." Though he has limited experience in the world of radio, he is hoping to find a new venue. "People have been very encouraging. They keep saying, ‘Please, find a way to do this someplace else.’"

Until then, Wax may need to search out his grandfather’s old record collection. "I would like people to do something," said Wax, suggesting that fans of the program call and write the president of CSUN and complain. "A time comes when you have to make noise." And if that noise is music, what could be better?n

Off the Air


To Israel Radio’s ear, the Reform and Conservative message “There’s more than one way to be Jewish” may be too “ideologically controversial.”

The decision to delay the movements’ ads prompted threats from the liberal Jewish streams that they will petition the Supreme Court against Israel’s national public radio authority.

Last weekend, the Reform and Conservative movements launched their first joint advertising campaign. Large-print advertisements appeared in prominent national and local newspapers and on public buses. Radio advertisements were to be aired this week.

“This is an unprecedented outreach to the Israeli public to inform them about the merits of alternative choices in Judaism,” said Rabbi Uri Regev, director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center.

He said the $360,000 campaign marked the first time the two movements had launched a joint initiative to attract Israelis to liberal Judaism while emphasizing the differences between the streams.

Regev said the campaign was designed to publicize the liberal streams of Judaism “with a message that is not connected to crisis or controversy.”

The radio campaign sparked controversy from the start. The movements planned to air 30-second segments in which Conservative and Reform rabbis introduce themselves and invite non-Orthodox Israelis to visit egalitarian synagogues as High Holiday services near.

Israeli army radio officials refused to run the ads after they heard that the Reform and Conservative movements were sponsoring them. Israel Radio, which is under the auspices of the state-backed Israel Broadcasting Authority, signed an agreement with the movements’ ad agency last month. The first spots were supposed to be aired this week.

But according to a letter sent by Amnon Nadav, manager of Israel Radio, to the radio’s legal adviser, the Reform and Conservative ads “appear to represent an issue that is ideologically controversial. In such a case, they must not be approved for broadcast.”

In the letter, Nadav asked his legal adviser to provide a defense for the radio’s position if the case is brought to the Supreme Court.

Carmela Israeli, spokeswoman for Israel Radio, insisted that the station had not officially scrapped the ads, but was seeking a legal opinion as to whether they are indeed controversial.

“There has been no decision yet,” she said. “According to our advertising regulations, we are not allowed to broadcast any advertisements that are ideologically or politically controversial.”

Yossi Cohen, account executive at the Cohen Plus ad agency, which handles the account, rejected the claim that the ads were controversial.

“There is no provocative message here,” he said. “This is just a warm message from two movements inviting people to learn about them,” he said.

Israel Radio has often debated whether certain proposed advertisements were controversial. However, other campaigns — some for clearly controversial issues — have been broadcast. In 1992, Peace Now petitioned the Supreme Court against a public service television commercial on Israel’s Channel One in which the Housing Ministry tried to attract people to buy homes in West Bank settlements.

Peace Now claimed that the advertisement was “ideologically controversial” and, therefore, according to broadcasting regulations, should not be aired. The Supreme Court rejected the argument and allowed the advertisement to air.

Media lawyers note that Israeli regulations on advertising in public- and private-sector media are far more stringent than those common in the West.

Inside Woody Allen’s TV Past


Before films such as “Radio Days,” Woody Allen had his television days. And, for the next three months, fans from “the earlier, funnier Woody” camp will find plenty of artillery for their cause at the Museum of Television and Radio, where “Woody Allen’s Television Days” is screening a two-part retrospective of the filmmaker’s work as a stand-up comedian and television writer.

Part 1 kicks off with comedy he created for Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows,” followed by Allen’s 1960s “Tonight Show” and “Jack Paar Program” appearances. Next month, Part 2 of the series will showcase his 1967 performances on “The Dean Martin Show” and “The Ed Sullivan Show,” as well as a rare interview on Dick Cavett’s show, where Allen discusses an encounter with Groucho Marx, his nightclub days, and idol Bob Hope.

The cornerstone of the first 90-minute anthology is the 1967 episode of “The Kraft Music Hall” variety series that Allen guest-hosted, shown in its entirety. The television special includes a hallucinogenic tête-à-tête with arch-conservative William F. Buckley Jr., in which the liberal Allen faces Buckley and tells him, “I’d like to see you become president for a year — it would cure this country of conservatism for a long time.” During the face-off, when an audience member asks Allen if Israel should give back the land they took from the Arabs, Allen quips: “No. They should sell it back.” The show also includes a variety of entertaining skits — including one in which Allen portrays a spoiled Shirley Temple-esque child actor named Baby Bobby Dimples — and musical performances by Aretha Franklin and Liza Minnelli.

Allen’s wit is in top form throughout the Museum of Television and Radio’s tribute. Many of his monologues are peppered with punch lines derived from Judaism, including references to interfaith marriages, Hollywood and kashrut. While tracing his family tree in one riff, Allen describes his ancestor who accepted the Ten Commandments from God to hand to Moses: “He said, ‘Here, Moses — take two tablets and call me in the morning.’ Moses laughed so hard, he could hardly smite him.”

While visiting the museum, be sure to catch the companion exhibit, “Al Hirschfeld Radio and Television Drawings,” a display of the master cartoonist’s original pen-and-ink illustrations.

Part 1 of “Woody Allen’s Television Days” continues through Feb. 18. Part 2 runs from Feb. 19 to Mar. 21. For more information, call Museum of Television and Radio at (310) 786-1000.