Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

December's People

By: Gad Nashon

I never saw Senator D'Amato so excited and shocked in public. In a special lunch which was organized by the J.C.R.C. and the World Jewish Congress in the Seagram offices, the Senator blasted the Swiss government for its delay tactics as to the problem of the Jewish deposits and property, as well as gold to be found in the Swiss banks. The issue of the "Nazi Gold" is a burning issue of tens of millions of dollars.

Edgar Bronfman, the president of the World Jewish Congress, told 500 Jewish activists who attended this lunch that he estimated the total Jewish claims as between 400 to 800 million dollars! The Swiss claimed that they have to give back only 32 million dollars. "Many countries immediately responded to Jewish claims after World War II. But the Swiss still hide behind a stonewall of silence and secrecy. They still mark the truth," said Senator D'Amato outrageously. "They refuse to explain to me the process by which they expose only 32 million dollars. But I would like to stress the fact that the issue is an issue of justice, human rights and of Jewish pride and honor. We will never let history repeat itself," said Bronfman, who also exposed the fact that Norway stole 80 million dollars from the Jews who were captured and died in the gas chambers.

It looks like the Swiss actually conspired with the Nazis and today they hide the truth. Will the Jews boycott Swiss goods or services if this country will not tell the whole truth to us?

Bronfman also informed us at the lunch that President Clinton agreed to cooperate with Senator D'Amato for a change...

"I am dying to go home," Colette Avital, Israel's Consul General in New York City told me recently. For eight years she did not have a break to relax in Jerusalem. Recently, she was praised by Senator D'Amato as a 'champion' of Israel-American relationship. In the past, Avital was criticized for being too much of a "Democrat." Avital cannot go home because Israel's Foreign Minister David Levy cannot find a replacement who can match the job and achievements of Colette Avital. To many she was too "dovish", but all of the Jewish leaders tend to praise her openly.

Yitzhak Mordechai told me that he invited the American Chief of Staff General Shalikashvili to visit Israel. They met in Washington on October 15, 1996, when Mordechai came to introduce himself to his American counterpart and also to Christopher and Anthony Lake (N.S.C.) Mordechai said that the Americans understood Israel's positions and gave him full support. Also, he believes that Ron Arad is alive and discussed the issue with many officials.

Should Israel establish a national security council? The issue is being discussed in Israel. Many expressed rejection of this idea. The key is in the hands of the veterans Gen. (Res.) David Ivry, a legend in the history of Israel's defense culture. Ivry wants to retire, but Bibi and Israel need him badly. Ivry was also one of the founders of the Israeli Air Force.

Charles Bill Frederick and Lawrence Benenson were the recipients of the prestigious Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Award or the "David Ben-Gurion Continuity Award for 1996". The Award was given to them in a ceremony which took place recently at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. The president of the university, Prof. Avishay Braverman, was the main speaker. He praised the contribution of this family to this institution. More than 11,000 students enroll in this prestigious university. Many celebrities attended including Robert H. Arnow, Abraham Gosman, Larry Tisch, Michael W. Sonnenfeldt, Lis Gaines and Vered Malon. Tovah Feldshuh was the guest performer. It was a successful event of the American Associates of Ben-Gurion University. Its president is Kenneth I. Tucker and Harold L. Oshry is its Chairman of the Board.

T.N.T. and the U.J.A.- Federation of New York premiered the teleplay "The Man Who Captured Eichmann" on November 7, 1996 at the Paris Theatre. This film is based on Peter Malkin's best selling book "Eichmann in My Hands." The star of this film and its producer is Robert Duvall. Also starring is Arliss Howard. The teleplay was written by Lionel Chetwynd and the music by Laurance Rosenthal and the director was William A. Graham. This film is a must see for anyone who wants to understand the Holocaust and the Nazi sick mind.

Dr. Lev Hakak, a noted Israeli scholar and expert on Israeli literature, is the 1996 recipient of the prestigious "Friedman Award" of Ha Histadruth HaIvrit Be America. Its executive director Rabbi Abraham Kupchik, Prof Shmull Snieder and many others praised Dr. Hakak's contribution to the Hebrew culture survival in America. Dr. Hakak is a professor at U.C.L.A. in California and a novelist. Dr. Hakak, who was born in Iraq and made Aliyah to Israel, is a pioneer in researching the non-Ashkenazi literature. He was also the first scholar to cry out and expose the negative images of non- Ashkenazi characters in Israeli literature. Dr. Hakak, in the prize ceremony, gave an illuminating lecture on the Hebrew movement in Iraq.

The famous builders Samuel J. LeFrak, chairman of the LeFrak Organization, and his son Richard S. LeFrak, the company president, were the recipients of Israel's Bonds' Jerusalem 3000 Medal, in recognition of their contribution to the economic achievements of the State of Israel. Peter S. Kalikow and Sheldon H. Solow chaired the medal ceremony at The Pierre Hotel (November 7, 1996).

Two hundred Jewish and gentile celebrities attended, recently, the official installation of Martin S. Begun as the new president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (J.C.R.C.) and the officers and Board of Directors of this umbrella organization.

Hon. Judge Judith S. Kaye, Chief Judge, State of New York who, by the way, is a relative of Begun, presided over the ceremony. The keynote speaker was Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who described the coming disaster of New York City's social and medical services as a result of the new Federal laws. The event took place at the U.J.A. Federation ballroom.

"Arafat is a liar. He will not change anything. He praised terrorists who murdered Israelis as martyrs. He is always double talking," said Z.O.A.'s president Morton Klein, who was honored by a standing ovation at the annual Zionist Organization of America's dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on October 20th in Manhattan. The Z.O.A. honored at this dinner two of its activists, James H. Rapp and Dr. Arnold M. Soloway, with the "Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award". Rose Mattus was the dinner chair, Hon. Ben Gilman and Eliahu Ben-Elissar were the featured speakers and Ed Ames performed. Among the many celebrities were Dov Hikind, Arthur Schneier, Mark Green, Kenneth Bialkin and Dr. Yitzhak Ben Gad. Bibi Netanyahu sent his greetings: "The Z.O.A. has performed a vital service...I urge you to support the Z.O.A."

Morton A. Klein, Z.O.A.'s president, likes to tell this story: At a meeting with Al Gore, together with Bibi Netanyahu, he asked the vice president, "Did you learn today something new about Bibi?" Gore answered, "Of course, now I know that at high school he was a soccer player at the left wing." Bibi then said, "One moment Mr. Vice President, I was playing in the left, but I always managed to kick the ball to the right..."

Since Netanyahu's father left Israel for America, he had to study in high school in the Philadelphia area. Later, after graduation, Bibi went back and joined the Israeli Army like his brother Jonathan, the hero of "Entebbe Operation" (1976).

Bibi is very busy these days. Many in Israel expressed criticism as to the timing of the official opening of the ancient (Macabim) tunnel. Timing is always of the essence. Netanyahu and his defense minister Yitzhak Mordechai also had to use paratroopers to combat the Palestinian rioters in Gaza Strip.

In honor of the presentation of the first annual Spirit of Anne Frank Awards, Andrea Marcovicci performed at the Alice Tully Hall on October 18. In this Anne Frank center U.S.A.'s benefit event, a show called "I am Anne Frank" (Lyrics: Enid Futterman, Music: Michael Cohen) was premiered. Also featured was Miep Gies (narrative): "One has to experience the Holocaust viscerally," said Marcovicci.

President Clinton is under pressure to parole the spy Jonathan Pollard. No one knows why Pollard received such a severe penalty as if he was a big traitor. "During the term of office, I carefully reviewed Mr. Pollard's case... and concluded at the time that it was not appropriate for a parole for Mr. Pollard. I am convinced that Mr. Pollard has expressed the appropriate remorse and served adequate time and should be considered for parole or probation," wrote Senator Dennis Deconcini to Clinton.

The first street in the U.S.A. was named after the Yiddish legendary author Sholom Aleichem (East 33 Street between Park and Madison Ave. in N.Y.C.). It was initiated by The Sholom Aleichem Memorial Foundation which plans more dedications in North America. Many dignitaries came to the ceremony, including Sidney Gluck, the chair, Belle Kaufman, the niece of Aleichem, Sheldon Harnick, Prof. Tom Bird and others.

King Hussein is not always willing to scold Bibi. We saw the disappointment on his angered face at the last little summit at the White House. Bibi was in Amman a few times and was welcomed by the King, the super master of survival.

Aya Azrielant, an Israeli- American jewelry designer, recently received the Metropolitan Achievement Award from the American Jewish Congress. The ceremony took place in the Hotel Riga in Manhattan. She is the executive director of Andin International, Inc.

Dr. Alvin Rabushka, the founding father of IASPS (The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) in Jerusalem and in Washington, D.C., attacked in his quarterly report (Fall, 1996) the Israeli ... Banana! and he asked from the depth of his heart, "Isn't Israel the true Banana Republic? How could you insult Israel?" He pointed out that "Bananas in Israel are small, ugly, tasteless, invariably bruised and blackened from being abused in handling..."

Brig. Gen. Arthur Gerwin, USAF (Ret.) is a prominent lawyer who is active in the legal community and he is a devoted supporter of Israel in America. But first of all, Gen. Gerwin stands for dignity and humanity. He has a message to the legal community through his own unique non-profit organization, "Respect for Law Alliance." Well, even lawyers and judges often need to give in to Gerwin's military discipline...

The famous Israeli artist Frank Meisler, whose unique works of art are being sold by Fortunoffs, will host admirers at the office of Fortunoffs the end of November. He will also sign copies of his new book, "On the Vistula, Facing East", also being sold in America at ... Fortunoffs.

Thank God we do not have to schlep ourselves to Washington, D.C., because Governor Pataki and Mayor Guiliani unveiled on October 10, 1996 the cornerstone plaque for "A Living Memorial to the Holocaust" or The Museum of Jewish Heritage. The construction they promised will be finished in spring, 1997. Peter Vallone, Ernie Michel, Robert Morgenthau, Elie Wiesel and Director Dr. David Altshuler were the guest speakers.

"Maccabi U.S.A." and "Sport for Israel" have begun to prepare the American team for the 15th Maccabiah Games. The "boss" of the famous Gold medalist winner Mark Spitz, who career took place first at the Maccabiah Games. Then he was only a child. Spitz is managing a project of support and fundraising as an honorary chairman. Spitz recalls the names of the famous stars who have been Maccabim: Dolph Schoyes, Ernie Grunfeld, Brad Gilbert, Mitch Gaylord and Bruce Fleisher. Spitz calls for a support of sports both here and in Israel. More than 90 U.S. Maccabians have participated in the Olympics, such as Isaac Berger, Henry Laskau and Marilyn Ramenofsky. The next Maccabiah Games will take place in Israel in the summer of 1997.

Can you imagine the world of Jewish philanthropy without George Klein? Klein, by the way, is also a well known Republican. Klein has always expressed a high degree of love for his people. Recently, he promoted the establishment of the "Museum of Jewish Heritage" in New York!

Beverly Sills hosted "An Evening with King David" recently at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. Among the performers at this event were the cellist Yo Yo Ma, dancer- choreographer Twyla Tharp. This special event was organized by the "Jerusalem Foundation" which was founded in 1966 by Teddy Kollek. Among the chairmen were David Geffen and Martin Peretz. The benefactors included Ivan Boesky, Dina and Rafael Recanati and Alice and Tom Tisch.

Rabbi Allan L. Berkowitz and Patti Moskowitz have worked for a period of 25 years with converts. The two decided to share their experience with the converts (in Hebrew known as gerim or mitgairim), through a new illuminating book, "Embracing the Covenant", Jewish Lights Publishing, Vermont. In the book, converts to Judaism talk about why and how they did it.

Yeshiva University is more than happy to stimulate Jewish life in the Ukraine. Therefore, it welcomed the 16-year-old new freshman from the city of Kirovograd, Ukraine, Yakov Marmer, as its love affair with this Jewry. "Jews were observant for 4,000 years and then there was a 60 to 70 year gap for my family. My great- grandpa was religious but it was impossible for my grandfather to be religious because of the Soviet powers," explained Marmer in New York.

Shimon Peres was the guest of the 13th Annual Israel Film Festival which took place in The Angelica Theater recently. Among the films were "The Italians are Coming" (Director - Eyal Halfon) and "White Night" (Director - Arnon Tsdok). This film was the recipient of the "Young Jury Award for Best Foreign Film" at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.

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