World Jewry should have no veto on Jerusalem’s fate

While every Jew in the world (along with every other person) certainly has the right to express an opinion about how the Jerusalem issue should be resolved, the State of Israel alone should make that important decision, since it involves the security of the state and its people.

Israel is a democracy. Its Arab and Christian citizens should have a greater voice in security decisions, even those involving religious sensibilities, than Jews who are not Israeli citizens. Every Jew has the right to become an Israeli citizen. Those of us who have chosen not to exercise that right must defer to the outcome of Israel’s democratic process.

It is the citizens of Israel who risk their lives by serving in the army, by traveling on buses, by living in Sderot, by enduring rocket attacks from Hezbollah and by subjecting themselves to the possibility of nuclear attack from Iran. It is these citizens who must weigh the costs and benefits of particular options for peace.

Jerusalem is not an issue entirely separate from the total package that will inevitably be involved in any resolution of the Israel-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If Israeli citizens believe that peace has a better chance of prevailing with a divided Jerusalem, then noncitizens should not be able to veto that decision.

Consider the implications of any other conclusion. In 1967, the Israeli government told Jordan that if it did not attack Israel, Israel would not begin a war with Jordan. In other words, Israel essentially told Jordan that if it remained out of the war, it could keep Jerusalem divided and, indeed, maintain control even over the Jewish Quarter and the Kotel. Should Jews around the world been able to second guess that decision, as well? No!

Israel is a secular, Jewish democracy. It does not have an established religion, though it does have a Jewish character. For the majority of Israelis, this character is not exclusively religious in nature.

Theodor Herzl’s concept of Israel as a Jewish state contemplated a “normalized” secular democracy, as did David Ben Gurion’s and Chaim Weitzman’s. Decisions about war and peace are quintessentially the province of a nation’s democratically elected leaders — or people, in the event of a referendum.

Once these decisions are made, there is room for input on purely domestic religious issues, such as the status of the Kotel as a place of prayer. Jews from around the world should have some input into purely religious decisions, because Judaism as a religion is international in scope. But it would violate all principles of democracy and sovereignty for the Israeli government to surrender its exclusive authority over national security issues to any group of noncitizens, regardless of their support for or commitment to Israel and its capital Jerusalem.

Just as there should be “no taxation without representation,” there should be no representation without the burdens of citizenship. World Jewry has important roles to play in supporting Israel and even critiquing its policies when warranted, but this role does not include either a vote or a veto on issues of national security.

Alan Dershowitz’s latest book is “What Israel Means to Me” (Wiley).

‘Non-Jewish’ Jews endure challenges living in Israel

In Israel, the “non-Jewish Jews,” as some Israelis call them, are everywhere. They drive buses, teach university classes, patrol in army jeeps and follow the latest Israeli reality TV shows as avidly as their Jewish counterparts.

For these people — mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not Jews according to Israeli law — the question of where they fit into the Jewish state remains unanswered nearly two decades after they began coming to Israel.

At an estimated 320,000 people and with their ranks growing due to childbirth, the question is growing ever more acute.

“They are not going to be religious but want to be part of what is called the Jewish secular population,” said Asher Cohen, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University, who has written a book on the subject.

“Thousands are being born here, and they are no longer immigrants,” he said. “They are raised just like their secular neighbors, and these children want to know why they are not Jewish because their mother is not Jewish. The problem is just getting worse.”

In almost every respect, these Israelis live as do their secular fellow countrymen, even marking the Jewish holidays, lighting candles on Chanukah and conducting seders on Passover. But, because they do not qualify as Jews according to halacha, or Jewish law, they are treated differently when it comes to matters that are the purview of the Orthodox-controlled religious establishment, such as lifecycle events like marriage, divorce and burial.

For some, the real question is about identity and fitting in.

Unlike non-Jews residing in Israel illegally, these are people who qualified to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, which grants the right of Israeli citizenship to all descendants of a Jewish grandparent or those married to such persons. But the Israeli government does not consider them Jews, because their mothers are not Jewish. Non-Jewish Israelis constitute almost a third of all immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

Some of these people say they’ve always considered themselves Jewish and were thought as such by others — until they came to Israel.

Lilia Itskov, 36, grew up in Siberia with a paternal grandmother who preserved the traditions of her observant Jewish home. She said she is heartbroken when her daughter questions whether they are Jewish because Itskov’s mother was not Jewish.

“She studies the Bible in school; it’s all she knows,” Itskov said of her daughter. “She cannot understand why she is not considered a Jew.”

Itskov observed Jewish holidays even back in Siberia, and she said she never tried to hide her Jewishness.

“I want people to understand we are part of this country, and where we lived before we were always considered Jews,” she said. “And now, after so many years, I am told that I am a goy (non-Jew).”

Others are believing Christians who struggle to maintain their religious identity while living in Jewish communities in Israel. Keeping a low profile, many of them attend religious services on Sundays in community members’ apartments or go to Arab-run Christian churches in Jerusalem and Jaffa on major holidays. In the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem, there are church services held in Hebrew.

“Little is known about them; there is no research about them, and they try to hide their faith,” Cohen said of the active Christians among the Russian-speaking immigrants. “It’s hard for them to be Christians in any overt way here.”

For Vera Gorman, 21, whose family immigrated to Israel from Russia seven years ago and whose mother’s grandfather was Jewish, the sting of exclusion hit for the first time when it came time to marry.

In Israel, where there is no civil marriage, all citizens must be married by clergymen, and Jewish clergy are not allowed to perform intermarriages. Gorman is Jewish, but the man she planned on marrying, Maxim Gorman, was not, so there was no way for the couple to get married in Israel. Instead, they had to go to Prague. Marriages abroad are recognized in Israel. They were angry and bewildered by the rules.

Maxim Gorman, 25, who served in an Israel Defense Forces combat unit and twice was injured in fighting in Gaza, said he does not understand why, if he spilled blood for his country, he had to go abroad on the most important day of his life.

“It was especially hard, because although I am not Jewish according to halacha, I do feel Jewish in my heart,” he said. “In my opinion, state and religion simply do not go together. Israel needs to be democratic and Jewish, and we need to protect our traditions, because this is what unites us. But we live in the 21st century, and we need to be going forward.”

Some Israelis, especially religious ones, take issue with the large number of non-Jews able to become Israeli, saying they threaten the Jewish character of the state. They complain about the rising number of butchers that sell pork and condemn the proliferation of Christmas trees, tinsel and plastic Santa Claus dolls that go on sale at shops around the country around Christmastime to cater to the growing population in Israel that celebrates the holiday.

Russian immigrants — Jews among them — say they’re not so much celebrating Christmas as participating in festivities honoring the new year.

A few rabbis and members of Orthodox parties in the Knesset have suggested changing the Law of Return to exclude non-Jews from becoming Israeli. But many secular Israelis argue against such changes and say immigration is vital to the country’s future.

Despite the challenges they face in Israel as non-Jews, only a minority of non-Jewish immigrants to Israel choose to convert to Judaism.

Because Orthodox conversions are the only kind accepted by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, which controls religious law in Israel, prospective converts must master Jewish knowledge and pledge to become strictly observant Jews. Most immigrants from the former Soviet Union — both Jewish and not — are secular and uninterested in enduring a lengthy, restrictive conversion process.

Public Reactions Are Strong to A Personal Journey

Los Angeles photographer Naomi Solomon capped off her informal summer presentation series “Settlers: A Photographic Journey of the Life and Disengagement of the Jews Living in Gaza” at Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills last week, drawing more than 150 people.

Her evocative slide-show was a culmination of her personal explorations of life in Judea, Samaria and Gaza that began with her initial visit in 2002 to the mixed secular-religious Judean outpost, Ma’aleh Rechavam, and continued through the Gaza disengagement of August 2005.

After months of post-production since her return to Los Angeles, Solomon created a show of 100 select photos, which she has presented largely to Orthodox synagogues in the L.A. area. However, she says her mission to portray the diversity, humanity and culture of settlers and settlement life through her photographs is far from complete.

“My focus now is to branch out of local synagogues,” Solomon told the Jewish Journal in a telephone interview.

Predicting a particularly strong anti-Zionist sentiment on campuses this year, she plans to secure speaking engagements at universities, as well as at Reform and Conservative synagogues. Synagogues of all streams, however, have sometimes been reluctant to host her, as they fear that her presentation is too “political,” a fear that Solomon attributes, in part, to her provocative title.

While in her presentation Solomon makes clear her stance against unilateral withdrawals, she asserts that her aim is to “share her experience” rather than her political opinions.

“My goal is to unravel a human story within a political tornado,” she said.
Her photographs range from romantic scenes of settlers building homes, tilling land, playing guitar and surfing on the Gaza coast, to the more emotion-packed scenes of settlers protesting and soldiers evacuating settlers and demolishing their homes.

Solomon cannot say with any certainty that the recent war in Lebanon has drawn more interest in her work, although she believes her presentation is already changing perceptions. At the end of the recent show at Nessah, which climaxed with the image of the gates of Gaza closing, many congregants were tearful and the hall was silent. She related that on several occasions audience members came up to her afterward and retracted their support for the disengagement.

Thoughts on the Lieberman Selection.

As a centrist observant Jew working in the secular professions, I am particularly struck by Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s selection of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman as his vice-presidential running mate for the November 2000 elections.

The life of the Orthodox Jew at this moment in American history is so fascinating that it is difficult quite to place all the pieces. In my own life, I practice civil litigation and First Amendment law at a nationally prominent law firm, wear a yarmulke at work, go by my Hebrew name at the office, schedule deposition dates around the Jewish Sabbaths and holidays, and even have kosher food delivered for me and my family during business functions.

Jews in the United States have begun participating more openly and directly in the American experience during the past quarter century, and that bodes good – even as it affixes aspects of apprehension. From Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to other cabinet-level appointees who are Jewish to United States Senators, Jews have become part of the American political landscape. Orthodox Jews, too, have become more direct participants in the American experience. As attor-neys, doctors, engineers and accountants, we have always been players to one degree or another. But several years ago, Cantor “Dudu” Fischer (no relation) played Jean Valjean, the lead role, in the Broadway staging of “Les Miserables” – and he did not perform on Fri-day nights or Saturday matinees. He successfully played Broad-way, and art has reflected life.

There was a time in American life when we Jews were told to hide our identities and roots. It was a time when actors in Hollywood changed names from Bernie Schwartz to Tony Curtis and from Betty Perske to Lauren Bacall. But those times began a-changin’ as several comedians in the late 1960s began using their names on stage, people like David Steinberg and Robert Klein. In time, a new generation arose, no longer hiding, no longer fearful that Jewish identity would hurt at the box office or would deter success in other aspects of American life.

It is instructive that Lieberman came to the national stage not from New York or even California but from blue-blooded Connecticut, the state that was synonymous with the “gentle-men’s agreements” that so quietly typified upper-class American anti-Semitism in the 1940s and 1950s. Lieberman ran for statewide office, open about his religion, and he defeated a landed incumbent, Lowell Weicker, before winning resounding reelection in 1994.

But if the selection of Lieberman marks a watershed moment for American Jews in general and for Orthodox Jews in particular, sensibility also points to the less salient implications. Lieberman’s views on defense, taxation, school vouchers, abortion, Social Security and such issues are better known than are his views on more parochial Jewish subjects. Where does he stand on the question of moving America’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem? Where does he stand on Jewish rights to establish communities in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank” region)?

Jews know he opposes the release of Jonathan Pollard from federal detention, even though Pollard has been incarcerated longer than has been any other spy in American history who conducted espionage for an American ally. Jews know that he ardently supports Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the New York Senate seat, despite her very shaky record on the parochial issues that concern Jews, including her stand-out role in calling for an Arab independent country in Judea and Samaria; reticence while standing alongside Suha Arafat, Yasser’s wife, as Suha crassly accused Israel of poisoning her nation’s water supply; similar silence while standing in the presence of another anti-Jewish tirade in New York. So it is not clear where Lieberman stands on parochial issues affecting his co-religionists and whether his low profile augurs a readiness, if asked, to pressure Israel to make dangerous concessions.

Still, there is a coming-of-age quality to all this. Only days before his selection, the American Orthodox community was surprised by federal district judge Nina Gershon’s decision in the Southern District of New York to overturn New York State’s longtime “kosher laws” that empower the state’s agriculture department to send inspectors into food establishments to monitor the authenticity of shopkeepers’ claims that the food they are selling meets kosher requirements. Orthodox Jews spent the weekend asking what such a ruling means, coming as it did on the heels of similar decisions in Maryland and New Jersey in recent years. And, on deeper reflection, some were beginning to consider that, with the evolutionary maturation of American Orthodox Jewry, maybe the judicial ruling, even if upheld on appeal, would not matter all that much. Days later, we are reflecting on the degree that Jews who walk rather than drive on Saturday, who eat beef short ribs rather than pork spare ribs and who do not mix milk with beef, can function in the greater American society as full participants. For, beyond Lieberman, it marks a period when Orthodox Jews can feel a bit more confident in daily life, knowing that there is nothing wrong with asking an employer to accommodate the need to leave work early on Friday or to assert the preference for a kosher sandwich at the company lunch.

Which is not to say that all is hunky-dory. Only one year ago, three temples were desecrated in Sacramento, Orthodox Jewish pedestrians were attacked while walking to synagogue on a Friday night in Chicago and a Washington State hatemonger drove to Granada Hills and allegedly shot children at day camp. That, too, is part of the Jewish situation, in America, throughout the Diaspora: moments of hope tempered by the imprinted experience of history.

One People: Religious Christians and Jews?

Most of the mainstream secular Jewishorganizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the AmericanJewish Congress would like us to think so. But a recent gathering inWashington proved that a grass-roots movement is taking hold amongJews — not only the Orthodox — whose views are economically,politically and socially more in line with members of the ChristianCoalition than with either the ADL or the AJC.

My husband and I were among the nearly 300participants from 34 states who attended the conference, sponsored bySeattle-based Toward Tradition and held at the Capital Hilton. TowardTradition’s founder, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, has labored for the past sixyears to create a coalition of Jews and Christians who share acommitment to bringing back a God-based morality into American lifeand politics.

Rabbi Lapin has fought an uphill battle. Many Jewshave disagreed with Lapin’s premise of working with Christians on thegrounds that Christians must, by definition, want to convert Jews. Heresponds: “Only Jews who are insecure in their own Judaism will havetrouble with a polite ‘No, thank you’ to any attempts at evangelism.Besides, any sucess they enjoy is less a tribute to the appeal ofChristianity than it is an indictment of American Jewisheducation.”

This second Toward Tradition conference, titled”Toward a New Alliance: American Jews and Political Conservatism,”was an enthusiastic gathering of Reform, Conservative, and OrthodoxJews along with Christians and Catholics. I dare say that thisecumenical gathering was far more harmonious and warm than any singlegroup of Jews meeting alone. Many of the non-Jews were relieved thatthe fervently secularist Jewish groups, who leap to join lawsuits tokeep menorahs off public parks and deny even silent, voluntary prayerat school, do not reflect the thinking of all Jews. Jewish attendees,for their part, were grateful to be in an environment whereconservative ideology was not considered freakish.

Gary Polland, an attorney and Republican activist,spoke at the conference about his disillusioning experience with theADL, for whom he used to serve as Southwest regional chairman.Polland was asked to resign from his post after adding his name to anadvertisement that ran in The New York Times protesting the ADL’sdistribution of a book titled “The Religious Right: The Assault onTolerance and Pluralism in America.”

“They had taken many quotes [from Christianleaders] out of context in that book,” Polland said, “and made itseem like anyone who was part of the Christian Right wasautomatically anti-Semitic. It wasn’t fair or true.” At a meetingwhere Polland was supposed to have had a chance to defend his case(he had brought 27 pages documenting the errors in the book and itsconclusions), he was told flatly by a national ADL officer, “We’renot interested in what you have to say.” Two years later, this bookis still in circulation and is available for purchase, according to alocal ADL representative.

When groups such as the ADL need to demonizeIsrael’s and Jews’ staunchest supporters in order to justify theirown existence — and employ the very discriminatory tactics they arecharged with rooting out — they reveal the hollowness of their ownmission. In fact, several speakers at the conference, includingformer Reagan administration official Elliot Abrams, noted that thereal enemy of American Jews today is not external anti-Semitism atall but a lack of spiritual connection with Judaism. Abrams’ newbook, “Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America,”argues this very point.

The Jewish “alphabet” groups took a well-deserveddrubbing at the conference, though many other issues were discussed.Jewish groups rushing to “remove God from the public square,” asRabbi Lapin is fond of saying, do far more damage to the Jewishcommunity even than the occasional vandal. There’s no better way tofoster anti-Semitism, Rabbi Lapin insists, than having people withJewish surnames from the ACLU or the AJC suing to remove the TenCommandments from their town’s classrooms. As Dennis Prager, also aconference keynote speaker, has noted on his show, “Jews gave theworld the Ten Commandments and are now in the forefront of trying totake them away.”

As more examples of this kind of extremesecularism envelop our society, it’s no surprise that more peoplefind Toward Tradition’s message compelling. Arthur Fass, a Jewishphysician from the San Fernando Valley, is a good example. Althoughhe belongs to a Reform synagogue, Arthur sends his children to aprominent Catholic private school where 30 percent of the studentbody is Jewish. When I asked him why, he responded with severalreasons: The school fosters the moral values that he and his wifeshare (as distinct from theological values), the quality of theeducation, the modesty and seriousness of the girls hishigh-school-aged daughter meets there, and — are you listening,Federation leaders? — the affordable tuition. (Arthur told us thattuition at this school is half that of the Conservative Jewish schoolin their area.)

He told us that he planned to share some of whathe learned at the conference with his temple men’s club, despiteknowing that most of them were politically liberal and theologicallyindifferent. He explained: “You know, there are simply consequencesfor believing in God and consequences for not believing in God, andthose consequences for not believing are coming back to haunt us….There’s a liberating effect on the human spirit from knowing clearlyright from wrong.”

The conference attendees — whether they woresidecurls and black hats (as some did), knitted yarmulkes (as severaldid), or even crosses (as some did) — clearly share Arthur’s view:that in the twilight of this millennium, the human spirit andAmerican culture have been damaged by the moral relativism thatstates that nothing is absolutely right or wrong anymore (with thepossible exception of cigarette smoking). We believe that ournation’s financial wealth counts for little in the face of ourspiritual sickness. And we are coming together to pronounce –unapologetically — that we reject the liberal dogma that hasfostered this moral confusion.

As Jews and conservatives, we also believe in theconcept of tikkun olam, (healing the world). We just think that we need to followGod’s advice more closely on how to achieve it.

Judy Gruen is a writer living in Venice. Herwritings have appeared in the Washington Times, the Chicago Tribune,the Los Angeles Times, and many Jewish publications.

I Hear Mermaids Singing: Listening to theRight

By GeneLichtenstein,Editor-in-Chief

Like Judy Gruen (above), I, too, recently attendeda forum organized by Jewish conservatives. Mine took place at the endof September in San Diego, and the sponsoring group was the JewishPolicy Center, a nonprofit Washington-based think tank.

Actually, the JPC is an outpost for intellectualJews who take a conservative approach to most political and religiousissues and whose fellows and sponsors are articulate JewishRepublicans.

The links with Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s organization,Toward Tradition (based in Seattle), are multiple and overlapping.For example, Rabbi Lapin and talk-show hosts and authors DennisPrager and Michael Medved were speakers at both forums, rounded outin San Diego by the addition of Barry Farber, billed as the “Fatherof Conservative Talk Radio,” and author and political activist DavidHorowitz. Both men could have easily appeared at the Washingtonconference.

Unlike Gruen, I found the tenor
and tone of mygathering discouraging and somewhat discomforting. It left me withthe sense that, while the panelists seemed engaging and friendly,pleasant enough to spend an evening with, what they were cobblingtogether was a nasty, thuggish mix of politics and religion, thelines often blurring between the two.

It was not the issues themselves that weredisturbing. They were familiar enough: Vouchers and educationalchoice for parents, the bankruptcy of welfare policies, the need fora moral society, and the error of keeping school prayer and religiouseducation out of the schools. I agreed with the speakers on somepoints, disagreed on others.

But these were just headlines as bait, earnestmoney for the real sport that lay ahead. The point of the evening,echoed and restated throughout, was the game of “get the Jew,” inthis instance, the liberal and the secular Jew. It was not anennobling performance, though I must admit that the 200 or so Jewsgathered at the Hilton Hotel on San Diego’s Mission Bay lapped itup.

Liberalism is a secular religion and a destructiveforce, according to Horowitz, whose recent autobiography, “RadicalSon,” chronicled his journey from a teen-age communist to amiddle-aged proponent of right thinking.

Liberals lie and resort to deception, pronouncedmoderator Medved, a nationally prominent film critic and a talk-radiohost in Seattle who is soon going national. His tone was genial andeven jocular, but there was little doubt that the hyperbole was themessage.

Prager intoned solemnly that some of his goodfriends are liberals and that they are nice people — yes, nicepeople, he emphasized, before anyone could contradict him. It is justthat their policies have evil and disastrous consequences.

Rabbi Lapin could barely contain himself. If apolitical movement to ban circumcision on grounds of child abuse orif one to end kosher practices because of cruelty to animals werelaunched in this country, the liberal and secular Jews would be atthe forefront. They are ignorant of Judaism and, he implied, areopposed to its religious and moral practices. It is not too great aleap to see them as the enemy.

Who then will save kashrut and circumcision, whowill preserve Judaism in the United States from the attacks ofliberals and secular Jews, and serve as Rabbi Lapin’s allies? Noneother than the religious Christians. I assume that this was either anemotional response or one based on impressions Rabbi Lapin hadgathered from meetings with evangelical leaders. But there was noevidence offered for his conclusions. (I wondered, too, how Horowitzwas feeling on the panel, for he is a secular Jew. He remainedsilent.)

I must admit that it took me awhile to find mybearings. Why did all the speakers sound so angry and so much like aminority under attack, I wondered. According to Medved, Lapin andHorowitz, liberals seemed to be everywhere and to be in control. Ifyou did not attend to reality closely, you might think that liberalswere running the country, despite our Republican-controlled Congressand the majority of conservatives on the Supreme Court. “After all,”I said to Medved, “you and Prager and Lapin alone must reach millionsof people every day on your radio programs. I can’t think of manyliberals with audiences like yours. Why do you sound sobeleaguered?”

It’s the Jewish community we are worried about, Iwas told, not the nation. Jews still seem swayed by what Gruen refersto as the “alphabet” organizations, still tend to vote Democratic innational elections, still hold to past shibboleths and earlier(generational) political beliefs.

In one important way, this concern of thepanelists made sense. If the Jewish conservatives are going to allythemselves with religious Christians — and this certainly is true ofLapin’s movement, Toward Tradition — then they will need to bringtroops to the field. Otherwise they are the “token Jews” trotted outbefore Christian groups to offer prayers and religious homilies fromthe Hebrew Bible. It is little wonder that we are warned about peoplewith Jewish surnames who exercise their right of free speech onbehalf of causes that anger the Christian right. There is no betterway to foster anti-Semitism, says Rabbi Lapin.

Still, I wondered, who are these destructiveliberals? Are they the same people who helped secure voting rightsfor African-Americans? The same people who advocated positions andequal pay for women in law firms, universities and on newspapers? Orare the JPC conservatives creating some mythical scapegoat, caught insome outdated time warp when being anti-communist meant something?Their cry might better be: Communists of the world, where are you nowwhen we need an actual foil?

Indeed, the buzzword “liberal” has taken on someof the coded meaning that “fellow traveler” used to have. Only, ofcourse, it often stood for “Jewish fellow traveler,” nowtransmogrified into Jewish liberal.

The difficulty with this line of reasoning is thatliberals vs. conservatives no longer is relevant. The complex issuesthat beset us today — vouchers, affirmative action, abortion, moralrelativism and the weakening of family ties — require analytic andpragmatic solutions, almost on a case-by-case basis, rather thantired, old political labels.

If this is what passes for political rhetoric onthe right, it is not very impressive. This was brought home to mewhen Horowitz declared that liberals were pushing a peace policywhich was suicidal for Israel.

I know people who share that point of view, but,more importantly, I know many, many Jews who endorse the peace policy– an overwhelming majority, Republicans and Democrats. Are these theliberals who need to be overcome?

But soon it became evident that Horowitz’sopinions on Israel were not quite so solid. It turns out that theywere derived from second- and third-hand sources (which, I hasten toadd, does not make them necessarily invalid). He has never been toIsrael.