Swimming the Catalina Channel: Karl Jacobs' triumph ...                                                                         ...see Irv Jacobs story below

         San Diego Jewish World

                                            Thursday Evening
, July 19, 2007    

                                                                           Vol. 1, Number 80

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Principal participants at today's Quartet meeting in Lisbon: 

Amado       Ban             Blair                  Lavrov           Ferraro-Waldner   Rice            Solana

 Quartet backs Bush's call for Mideast conference

LISBON (Press Release)—The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East – comprising the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation and the United States – today supported US President Bush’s call for an international meeting in the fall.

The Quartet’s backing came in a communiqué released following a meeting in Lisbon that was attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado, and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner. They were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair.

San Diego Jewish World—July 19, 2007
  (click on headline below to jump to the story)

Israel & Middle East

Quartet backs Bush's call for Mideast conference

The 'Hamas question' snaps at Rice's heels

Livni and Solana conferred, met press in Jerusalem
before Solana went to Quartet meeting in Lisbon

Civil Marriages for non-Jews okayed in Israel

Ackerman says Middle East situation is worse in
 'scale, scope and degree' since Bush took office

ADL applauds Vatican's willingness to restudy wording of Good Friday Prayer concerning conversion of Jews

Mikulanis concludes AJC, ADL heads failed
to read the initial statement by Benedict XVI

Latin America
Large rally on AMIA bombing anniversary attracts
president, first lady and other leaders of Argentina

United States of America
American Jewish Congress supports bill to apply habeas corpus to terror suspects held by U.S.

Saving Israel's Private Ryans

Greater San Diego County

UJF combines two major fundraising dinners
Sept. 6 for special Dead Sea Scrolls program


Maybe they shoulda stayed in bed

Tel Aviv Lightning Zaps Modi'in Miracle, 3-2

Swimming the channel: father tells his son's saga

Arts & Entertainment
City Councilman invites residents to TICO concert


“The Quartet welcomed President Bush’s July 16 statement renewing US commitment to a negotiated two-State solution, and supported President Bush’s call for an international meeting in the fall,” stated the communiqué.

The Quartet agreed that “such a meeting should provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian State.

The Quartet welcomed Mr. Blair’s agreement to be its Representative and discussed with him “the urgent work that lies ahead,” according to the communiqué.

Noting the centrality of reform, economic development, and institutional capacity building to the establishment of a stable and prosperous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza that will unite all Palestinians, and live in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours, the Quartet urged the parties and all states in the region to work closely with Mr. Blair, and encouraged robust international support for his efforts.

The Quartet expressed support for the Palestinian Authority Government headed by Salam Fayyad, which is committed to the political platform of President Abbas. It also “encouraged direct and rapid financial assistance and other aid to the Palestinian Authority government to help reform, preserve, and strengthen vital Palestinian institutions and infrastructure, and to support the rule of law.”

The Quartet welcomed the resumption of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas, and expressed support for steps taken by the Israeli Government, including the resumption of tax and customs revenue transfers and the decision to release Palestinian prisoners.




The communiqué also encouraged continued bilateral dialogue and further cooperation and urged both parties to work without delay to fulfill their previous commitments and to build confidence.

Recognizing the continuing importance of the Arab Peace Initiative, the Quartet looked forward to the planned visit to Israel by representatives of the Arab League to discuss the Initiative.

“The Quartet emphasized the need to find ways to sustain Palestinian  economic activity and the importance of creating circumstances that would allow for full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access, particularly in view of the impact of crossings on the Palestinian economy and daily life,” the communiqué said, encouraging parties to address their obligations under the Roadmap – an outline plan envisaging a two-State solution – including an end to settlement expansion and the removal of unauthorized outposts, and an end to violence and terror.

The Quartet expressed its deep concern over the humanitarian conditions in Gaza and agreed on the importance of continued emergency and humanitarian assistance.

The communiqué also reaffirmed the Quartet’s  commitment to bring about an end to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to work to lay the foundation for the establishment of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security, as a step towards a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East, consistent with the Roadmap and UN Security Council resolutions.

The next meeting of the Quartet will take place in September, the communiqué says, noting that members will continue to consult regularly on developments in the meantime.

The preceding article was provided by the United Nations

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 Israel and Middle East

The Jewish Citizen
             by Donald H. Harrison

The 'Hamas question' snaps at Rice's heels

SAN DIEGO—Hamas, at least in the form of reporters' questions, snapped at U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's heels as she made her way from Washington DC
to Lisbon, Portugal, to attend the meeting of the Quartet powers.

Wherever she went, reporters were persistent in asking whether the United States and its Quartet partners—the United Nations, European Union and Russia— should be negotiating with Hamas rather than attempting to isolate it.

Sitting here in San Diego, reading the transcripts of Rice's answers lacks the immediacy of on-scene news gathering.  But, unlike reporters on deadline, I did have time to mull over the nuances of what the Secretary had to say about Hamas.

Rice set out her standard answer on Wednesday, July 18, the day before her trip, in an NPR interview with Michelle Norris, who suggested that because Hamas representatives had been elected by the Palestinians to serve in the national legislature, they therefore have some claim to legitimacy.

"Yes, Hamas was elected, but Hamas was also elected to act responsibly and Hamas has not acted responsibly," Rice responded.  "They have refused important international agreements the Palestinians signed and have held to for more than a decade. They have refused to renounce violence.  It's very hard to imagine a partner for peace that refuses to renounce violence and refuses to recognize the right of the other partner to even exist; not the right--not to recognize the other partner, but to simply recognize the right of the other partner to exist." (Emphasis added).

Before Norris could probe that distinction about the kind of recognition that Rice had in mind, the Secretary of State hurried on in the interview: "And so I find rather strange the notion that we should somehow try and engage Hamas, a terrorist organization that clearly has not lived up to the responsibilities of governing, rather than to work with and strengthen the Palestinian president who shares all the values that will, in fact, bring about peace between Palestinians and Israelis..."

Norris persisted.  Doesn't diplomacy mean engaging one's enemies?  Rice parried that Hamas is not just an enemy, it's a terrorist organization. "And we saw what Hamas did in Gaza when they threw people off buildings and then knelt to pray.  The violence in the Palestinian territories and the Gaza, in particular, is directly related to Hamas activities.  So to somehow engage Hamas and to reward that activity would make no sense."

En route to Lisbon today,  reporters noted that Russia perceives Hamas differently than the United States does.  Perhaps Russia will go off on its own, one reporter speculated. 

Rice said the "road forward" for Hamas requires that organization to adopt the international standard, "which is the roadmap... and then I think you would see a welcoming of any Palestinian faction that fully accepts and acts on those internationally accepted norms. As  to the Quartet, yes, Russia has a different policy because Russia does not list Hamas as a terrorist organization. The EU does.  Of course, the UN doesn't have a policy to do that.  But the Quartet, as the Quartet, has been very clear as to what its policies are..." 
(Jump to continuation)


Livni and Solana conferred, met press in Jerusalem
before Solana went to Quartet meeting in Lisbon

(Editor's Note: Following is a transcript of a brief joint press conference by Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the European Union's High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Javier Solana, held on Wednesday, July 18, in Jerusalem)

JERUSALEM (Press Release)—
Foreign Minister Livni: I would like to welcome a friend, Javier Solana, to the region, again, at a time which is important, I believe, to the region, to the Israeli-Palestinian process and, of course, to the Iranian issue. These are all topics that we discussed in our conversation - and, of course, the Israeli-European Union relationship.

When it comes to the Iranian issue, I would like to reiterate our understanding of the need to enhance the sanctions in the Security Council. We believe that the Iranians are trying to gain more time in talking with the international community. Mr. Solana will also, I am sure, relate to his meetings with Larijani [secretary of Iran's Supreme National Council]. In fact, we believe that the determination of the international community can effect a change and that it means something to the Iranians; the world cannot afford a nuclear Iran.

So, this is a joint effort of the international community. The need to get everyone on board in the Security Council led sometimes in the past to some compromises regarding the nature of the sanctions, but it is not too late and we have not passed the point of no return. There is no such point. We would like to see determination on the part of the international community on this, and we shared our ideas. (Jump to continuation)

 Civil Marriages for non-Jews okayed in Israel

JERUSALEM (Press Release) —Couples in Israel who not considered Jewish according to Jewish law will be able to tie the knot in a civil marriage, following a consensus reached between justice minister Daniel Friedmann and Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi Shlomo Amir.

It is the first time that religious authorities have given the go-ahead to a civil marriage and divorce procedure. However, the bill drafted by Friedmann and Amir, will be restricted to cases in which both spouses are not considered Jewish according to Jewish law.

A statement from the Justice Ministry said that these kinds of marriages would take place in a civil court and would fall under family court jurisdiction. The existing law does not permit civil marriage in Israel. The Chief Rabbinate's monopoly on marriage and divorce since the state's establishment in 1948 has forced new immigrants, who are not considered Jews, to marry overseas. Some 264,000 people in Israel, most of them from the former Soviet Union, are not recognized as Jews according to the Israel Religious Action Center's figures.

However, these immigrants are entitled to automatic Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return. The law extends Israeli citizenship eligibility to anyone with a Jewish grandparent. In contrast, only people born to a Jewish mother are considered Jews according to Orthodox Jewish law, and only those immigrants are permitted to marry in Israel, unless they belong to another religion such as Christianity or Islam.

 The preceding story was provided by the World Jewish Congress


  Ackerman says Middle East situation is worse in
 'scale, scope and degree' since Bush took office

Editor's Note: Following are remarks delivered by U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (Democrat, New York) at today's meeting of the House Foreign Relations Committee

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)— "Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling today's hearing with Ambassador Dennis Ross, one of our nation's finest diplomats and a reliable source of wise counsel.

When Ambassador Ross left government service the situation in the Middle East was not that great. Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak had just failed to make an historic peace; the Palestinian Authority was instigating a revived intifada. Negotiations with Syria had likewise failed. Lebanon's government was unable to exert its sovereignty throughout the country. Saddam Hussein's brutal regime was trying to worm its way out of comprehensive but leaking UN sanctions. And Iran was continuing to sponsor terrorism, working to disrupt the Middle East peace process, and aggressively pursuing dangerous nuclear and missile technologies. Ohhhhh, for the good old days.

 The picture today, however, is not just worse, but much worse. It is worse in scope, scale and degree. It is worse for our friends and it worse for us with our foes. It is worse in terms of our options and it is worse in terms of our assets. Our enemies are stronger and we are somewhat spent. Our friends are less numerous, less capable and, in general, less friendly. This situation is not an accident. It is the outcome of the choices and the policies of the Bush Administration.

 We are bleeding and isolated in Iraq. We are failing there and only the President's intransigence and the loyalty of his backers here in Congress stand between us and an ignominious but necessary redeployment. Iran is months away from achieving a self-sufficient nuclear enrichment capability, and from that point, with almost mathematical inevitability, a nuclear weapon. Syria, having been ousted from Lebanon-a rare but momentary Administration success-is now on the verge of toppling the Lebanese government and perhaps reigniting a civil war in that small suffering country.

And in Israel, the situation is dire. Perceptions of Israel's military deterrent capability were badly diminished by the war in Lebanon. The Iranian nuclear threat grows incessantly. The threat of war with Syria grows daily. The threat from Hezbollah is as great as it ever was. A flood of Iraqi refugees could threaten Jordan's stability. From Gaza, rockets and mortar shells are falling on Israeli homes every single day. A Hamas take-over of the West Bank is prevented only by daily operations by the IDF and Shin-Bet. The survival of Israel's only viable partner for peace has never been in such doubt. Al-Qaeda appears to have established itself in the Gaza Strip. If this is the record produced by Israel's greatest friend, then hey-what are friends for?

Our interests and equities in the Middle East have never been in such jeopardy. And in response to all this chaos, where is the Administration's focus? On a desperate rear-guard action here on Capitol Hill to keep the "surge" alive until September, and a content-free peace process meeting here that month with whoever is still willing to have their picture taken with President Bush. January 20th, 2009 is long time to wait for things to get better."

The preceding article was provided by the office of Congressman Gary Ackerman

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ADL, AJC applaud Vatican's willingness to restudy Good Friday Prayer's wording on conversion of Jews

NEW YORK, N.Y (Press Release)—The Anti Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomed the comments of a senior Vatican official that the Good Friday Latin prayer to convert Jews could be removed from the re-introduced Latin liturgy. 

Holy See Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who ranks second to Pope Benedict XVI, told reporters that the Vatican could study the possibility of substituting the prayer.  "This could be decided and this would resolve all the problems," he said.

"We are pleased that the Vatican is listening to our concerns," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "We hope that Cardinal Bertone's public conjectures will shortly result in putting Catholic-Jewish relations back to the positive mode we were in before all this."

ADL has called on the Holy See to re-examine its decision to sanction the anti-Jewish Good Friday prayer, which is included in a new papal decree that grants wider usage of the Latin Mass, a worship service that has been restricted since the progressive reforms of the Second Vatican Council and the landmark Nostra Aetate document in the 1960s.  Because of the offensive language, Pope Paul VI in 1970 replaced the 1962 Latin prayer with a much more positive prayer for Jews.

"We appreciate the statement by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, making it clear that efforts will be made to replace the disturbing Good Friday prayer for Jewish conversion found in the 1962 version of the Latin Tridentine mass," said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC's international director of Interreligious Affairs.

Following the Pope's "Motu Proprio" announced on July 7, there had been concern that this pre-Vatican II prayer would again be more extensively used.

"Contrary to those who presented the Motu Proprio, as a retreat from advances in Catholic-Jewish relations, this clarification in effect confirms those strides and even advances them," said Rosen in an apparent reference to the ADL.

Foxman said that, "ADL has no position on the Latin Mass itself.  Our concern is focused on the Good Friday Latin prayer to convert Jews, which contradicts 40 years of evolving Catholic teachings about the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people, and the end of efforts to baptize Jews."

For well over half a century, AJC has been deeply involved in seeking to advance Catholic-Jewish relations around the world. Rabbi Rosen chairs the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations which is the official Jewish partner of the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry, chaired by Cardinal Walter Kasper.

The preceding story combined news releases from the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee


Mikulanis concludes AJC, ADL heads failed
to read the initial statement by Benedict XVI

SAN DIEGO—Monsignor Dennis Mikulanis, vicar for ecumenical and inter-religious affairs for the Roman Catholic Diocese, said today he believes neither the Anti-Defamation League nor the American Jewish Committee closely read Pope Benedict XVI’s initial comments on the Latin Mass.

Mikulanis, who is a close student of papal pronouncements as they affect relations with other religions, asserted that the ADL’s Abe Foxman “ought to read the statement for himself…. The 1962 missal is not allowed to be used for Holy Week.  The Pope stated this at the outset.”

The monsignor was more encouraged by the AJC statement, but said, in response to our request for comment: “ This is good news.  However, I fear they, too, haven't read the motu proprio which explicitly forbids the 1962 Missal to be used for Holy Week.”



                       San Diego Jewish World
       Writing Contest #1 

What was your most interesting Jewish summertime experience?

Perhaps it was at summer camp, or on a family trip, or in summer school, or even at home.  Send us an essay of up to 1,000 words about a true experience.  We will publish up to six bylined essays.  Winners will receive two passes (worth $30 each) on San Diego's Old Town Trolley Tour or on the Seal Tour.

Please send your entries by July 31 to sdheritage@cox.net.  Your stories should be clearly identified in the email message line as contest entries. Include for verification purposes your full name, address, and telephone number. Winning essays will be published in August, and thereafter will be permanently archived on this site.

Questions may be addressed to editor Don Harrison via email above. 

Wiesenthal Center urges Denmark to rescind
award made to Holocaust 'skeptic' Eric Haaest

PARIS (Press Release)—The Simon Wiesenthal has urged Denmark’s Prime Minister Tofh Rasmussen to void a monetary award by the Ministry of Culture’s Art’s Council (Kunst Raadet) to Erik Haaest, known as the “Holocaust Skeptic”.
In his protest to PM Rasmussen, Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director for international Affairs wrote from Paris:    “Haaest reportedly received this prize for his work on The Danish Friekorps on the Eastern Front 1941 – 1965 – hardly a symbol of Danish National pride”, adding, “Haaest’s citations from Holocaust denial literature go back to the 1959 volume of the Journal of Historical Review published by the institute of the same name, frequented by neo-Nazis worldwide.”

Dr. Samuels cited the Culture section of DR Nyheder, which, under a photo of the gas chamber states, “Erik Haaest questions existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz KZ in Poland.”  Another publication reports Haaest as declaring Anne Frank’s diary “A swindle.”

The Wiesenthal Center protest declared  “your government’s award to Haaest violated the commitments of Denmark to the European Commission and to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This act legitimizes…Holocaust denial, incitement to antisemitism and is an offense to Holocaust survivors and to the families of all victims of Nazism. Our Center urges you to immediately withdraw this outrageous award, to investigate its circumstances and publicly dismiss those responsible.”

“Silence would only be construed by hate mongers as a seal of approval,” Dr. Samuels concluded.

The preceding story was provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center



Latin America

Large rally on AMIA bombing anniversary attracts
president, first lady and other leaders of Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (Press Release) —On the 13th anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people were killed and hundreds wounded, a large crowd gathered outside the restored building to remember the victims and to call for the perpetrators of the attack to be brought to justice.

Argentina’s president Néstor Kirchner attended the July 18 ceremony as a private citizen, alongside his wife Cristina (who will run for the presidency in the fall to succeed her husband), vice president Daniel Scioli and several government ministers. AMIA president Luis Grynwald declared that those responsible for the worst terrorist attack in the country were Iran as intellectual author, Hezbollah as executor, and the former president of Argentina, Carlos Menem, as the protector of the perpetrators.

Grynwald called on Kirchner’s government to break off diplomatic relations with Iran. He also exhorted the president to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization and urged the Argentinean government to support international actions to eradicate it and other international terrorist institutions.

Sergio Burstein, of the organization ‘Families of the AMIA Victims’, said that what was needed was an investigation into identifying the local accomplices of the attack, which was a prerequisite to establish truth and justice. He called on Kirchner to “please do everything you can to tell us who are the people responsible for the AMIA attack, the murderers and their protectors, those within this country and without - and be it on the last day of your presidency!”

Kirchner did not address the crowd, but he told family members that he would do everything in his power to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. He has been criticized by some, including his predecessor Menem, of being a friend of Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president who has close ties with Iran’s leader Ahmadinejad.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Ministry has called for the terrorists who destroyed the AMIA center to be brought to justice. A spokesman was quoted by the IRNA news agency as saying that the Iran had “shown its goodwill to help the Argentine government to identify the terrorists” and that the Foreign Ministry “had forwarded to the judiciary the inquiry it received from Argentine justice system against Iranian nationals”.

The spokesman added that the judiciary would uphold its duty to dispel any ambiguity against Iranian nationals and advised the Argentine justice system to maintain legal and judicial cooperation with Iran and “enjoy Iranian guidance to bring to justice those involved in the terrorist attack”.

The preceding story was provided by the World Jewish Congress


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Along with my husband Don, I co-publish San Diego Jewish World. As a couple we have gone to many places.  Cruising ranks at the top of our list of favorite ways to travel.

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Adventures in Cruising

Aboard Holland America Ryndam
San Diego  to Mexico cruising

Pool area, roof retracted, on Ryndam

Thanks to Abe & Bea Goldberg of San Diego and Ruth Kropveld of Cincinnati for sharing their family cruise photos!


United States of America

American Jewish Congress supports bill to apply habeas corpus to terror suspects held by U.S.

NEW YORK (Press Release) — The American Jewish Congress today announced its support for the Specter-Leahy Restoration of Habeas Corpus for Those Detained by The United States Act (S. 2022), now pending in the Senate.

If passed, the bill would again allow the filing of writs of habeas corpus by persons detained in the war on terror and held within the jurisdiction of the United States.

“This would be a welcome return to the very first principles upon which our government was founded,” said AJCongress President Richard S. Gordon, noting that the Founding Fathers so valued the writ of habeas corpus that they provided in the Constitution that it could not be suspended except in the most extraordinary of circumstances, defined as “Rebellion or Invasion.”

“If adopted, as we think it should be, the bill will require the Administration to justify its detention of those held in Guantanamo and the procedures used to determine who is a terrorist,” Gordon said.

In issuing its support, AJCongress rejected arguments that the bill would undermine the war on terror.

“Allowing the writ to issue simply allows a court to inquire about the legality of a particular detention,” noted Marc D. Stern, the group’s general counsel.

Stern added, “Allowing the courts to conduct that inquiry does not necessarily mean that anyone currently held in Guantanamo will be released. We reject the view held by some (including the ACLU) that the available alternatives are full criminal prosecution or release. The reality of contemporary terrorism is too complex for such simplistic solutions. But it is entirely inconsistent with fundamental notions of liberty, hard-won over centuries, to allow the Executive Branch unchecked authority to detain persons indefinitely, subject only to review by bodies under the full control of the Executive Branch.”

Gordon concluded, “Passage of the Specter-Leahy bill will not end all debate over how the United States handles detainees. It is, however, an indispensable first step. We urge the Senate to pass this important measure.”

The preceding story was provided by the American Jewish Congress 


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San Diego, CA, (USA) 92119. Please include the name of the city where you live.

  Saving Israel's Private Ryans

  By Michael Rosen

SAN DIEGO—Stephen Spielberg's stirring 1998 film Saving Private Ryan bore the fitting tagline “The mission is a man.”

The movie harkened to a more innocent time in the U.S., when good and evil were distinct, when all Americans supported the war effort, and when the military was willing to endanger numerous soldiers to retrieve a missing G.I.

World War II afforded many opportunities for valor.  But this final aspect – the idea of leaving no man behind enemy lines – bespoke a certain sort of especially rare courage and fraternity. 

Even in the movie, the mission was perceived as especially risky.  One of the soldiers on Ryan’s trail expressed his private disapproval of the operation, saying “You want to explain the math of this to me?  Where's the sense in risking the lives of the eight of us to save one guy?”

It’s even harder to imagine contemporary Americans so riveted to the fate of a single soldier that they would accept a military mission designed to rescue him.  We’d be more likely to do the math and calculate that it’s just not worth it.

But we have indeed been riveted to events in Israel, where for more than a year, the government has sought to retrieve Corporal Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas, and Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, snatched by Hezbollah.  Yet as we solemnly mark the first anniversary of their capture, has Israel lived up to the standards set by “Private Ryan”?

While Israeli soldiers and civilians are all too frequently killed in action, successful kidnappings are rare.  When Corporal Nachshon Waxman, an American-Israeli, was snatched by Hamas in 1994, I was studying with Americans and Israelis in Israel; I still recall the tragic moment when Waxman was killed, along with several terrorists and an IDF commando, in the brazen rescue attempt. 

Then, as now, Israel courageously risked her bravest to redeem her captives.  That another soldier was lost in what ultimately turned out to be a futile attempt to bring back Corporal Waxman didn’t caused Israelis to question the strategy.  The “math” was quite simple: one of our boys is lost, so we go get him. (Jump to continuation)



Jews in the News          
 Like you, we're pleased when members of our community are praiseworthy, and are disappointed when they are blameworthy.
Whether it's good news or bad news, we'll try to keep track of what's being said in general media about our fellow Jews. Our news spotters are Dan Brin in Los Angeles, Donald H. Harrison in San Diego, and you. Wherever you are,  if you see a story of interest, please send a summary and link to us at sdheritage@cox.net and we'll acknowledge your tip at the end of the column. To see a source story click on the link within the respective paragraph.

*Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke says the housing slump will cause the economy to grow less than anticipated.  The Associated Press story by Jeannine Aversa is in today's San Diego Union-Tribune.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday the only lingering concern over the explosion of a steam pipe in midtown New York was the possibility of asbestos contamination. The Associated Press story is in today's Los Angeles Times.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioned U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker by video hookup.  U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California) reminded him he once said that electricity service was more important to the average Iraqi than all the benchmarks, winning a concession from Crocker that electrical service is worse today than it was before the onset of the Iraq War.  The story by Julian E. Barnes and Paul Richter is in today's Los Angeles Times.

*Phyllis Diller,
turning 90, recently cracked her back and had to cancel an appearance on the Jay Leno Show.  The story is in the "Public Eye" section of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

*Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Syria for meetings with Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Syria's President Bashar Assad, was asked if he expected another war with Israel to break out.  He answered cryptically: "We hope the summer will bring victories to the region's nations and failures to their enemies."  The story was carried by Y-Net News.

*Black-clad professional burglars have been targeting the rich and famous of Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and the Encino Hills, making off with millions of dollars worth of possessions. Said to be among the victims are former Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing and writer husband William Friedkin.  The story by Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein is in today's Los Angeles Times.

Morris 'Fritz' Friedman, a member of the Valley Village Neighborhood Council, says the San Fernando Valley community should perhaps be split into east and west portions, with one restricting the "mansionization" of older neighborhoods, and the other, where he lives, permitting such construction to occur. The neighborhood debate is taking on religious overtones because nine of the 15 Neighborhood Council members are Friedman's fellow Jews and opposed to building restrictions.  The story by Ari B. Bloomekatz is in today's Los Angeles Times.

*When Isaac Meir makes a plea for environmental sensitivity, it is not just with words. PLEA stands for Passive, Low Energy Architecture, and he specializes in creating it in Israel's desert.  The story by Stephanie Freid was carried by Israel21C.

*The Jewish community of New Orleans has shrunk from 10,000 to 7,000 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, so the community is running ads in New York City trying to attract some new immigrants who want to "make a difference."  The story by Richard Fausset is in today's Los Angeles Times.

*Mariane Pearl, widow of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, has brought federal suit in Brooklyn against Habib Bank Ltd of Karachi, contending the financial institution knowingly financed the terrorists who killed her husband.  The Associated Press story is in today's San Diego Union-Tribune.

*Holocaust survivor Miki Schwartz of San Diego has been shown from the recently opened cache of 50 million Nazi documents a piece of paper—possibly a death list— from which his name was struck off, clearing the way for him to be sent to a World War II rocket factory and survival.  The story by Lisa Petrillo is in today's San Diego Union-Tribune.

*A well-known madam, Jody "Babydoll" Gibson, is a potential witness in the Phil Spector murder trial, and has been ordered by Judge Larry Paul Fidler not to discuss allegations that shooting victim Lana Clarkson may have worked for her during interviews with the media.  The Associated Press story is in a column of regional briefs in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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BELL-RINGERS—San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Diane Bell tells the story of an unusual would-be visitor to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit.  His name: "Theodore."  He is a little brown mouse kept as a pet by  gray-haired lady who wanted him to accompany her.  Both were sent home. .. The columnist also reported that composer Burt Bacharach was among the opening day crowd at the Del Mar Race Track.

POLITICAL SCENE—Recently the National Jewish Democratic Council chapter in New York City produced a light-hearted video saluting the eight Democratic Jewish women who are members of the House of Representatives, calling them the "Dazzling Democratic Dames."  The executive producer of the video was Marcia Sudolsky, formerly of San Diego.  The honorees in alphabetical order are: Shelley Berkley of Nevada, Susan Davis of California, Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, Jane Harman of California,  Nita Lowey of New York, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.

ISRAEL NEWS SUMMARY—The European Jewish Congress, in its summary of Wednesday's news coverage in Hebrew language newspapers, focused on a report by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss concerning lack of preparedness on the home front during the Second Lebanon War.  Lindenstrauss specifically blamed Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and IDF Generals Dan Halutz and Yitazhak Gershon.  Here is a link.

               Greater San Diego Region

Rae and Ed Samiljan to host combined fundraising dinner at Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit

UJF combines two major fundraising dinners
Sept. 6 for special Dead Sea Scrolls program

SAN DIEG0 (Press Release) –United Jewish Federation of San Diego County (UJF) will hold its annual Major Gifts and Lion of Judah Dinner—for the first time together on Thursday, Sept.6, at the San Diego Natural History Museum. The event, chaired by Rae & Ed Samiljan,  will give the attendees the opportunity to view the Dead Sea Scroll’s exhibit

This Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit of ancient biblical manuscripts, discovered between 1947 and 1956 near Jerusalem, is presented by UJF Donors, Joan and Irwin Jacobs.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls are the bridge to our past,” said Chairpersons Rae and Ed Samiljan. “This unique event showcases these 2,000 year old manuscripts which remain in use and largely unchanged today.”

The Samiljans have been active UJF members in key leadership roles since the early 90’s. Rae chaired the Women’s Division Lion of Judah category, was a member of the Women’s Division board and remains an active solicitor and supporter of Federation endeavors.

Serving as Chair of UJF’s Jewish Continuity and Program Development Committee, Ed spurred the creation of many vital initiatives which have touched thousands of lives in our Jewish community.  These programs include Pathways to Judaism, the UJF Israel Center, LLC and Jewish Resident Camp Scholarships. 

Ed’s most fervent dream for a San Diego Jewish Community Camp and Retreat Center was realized with the establishment of Camp Mountain Chai.  In its second year, the summer camp has enrolled close to 200 children and plans to host 1,500 people for Shabbatot and camp week-ends.

The Major Gifts Dinner recognizes and honors the generosity of UJF’s largest donors, including the Women’s Division Lion of Judah and the Young Adult Division’s (YAD) Ben Gurion Society (BGS).  Activities for the evening include a private viewing of the Dead Sea Scrolls, along with cocktails, hor’s d’oeuvres and dinner.  An informative discussion and Q and A session will be led by Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, Curator of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

UJF has been serving the needs of the community for over 70 years. In partnership with its local and overseas beneficiary agencies, UJF provides the critical resources that bring food, refuge, health care, education and emergency assistance to thousands of San Diegans and millions Jews around the world.

To learn more about UJF or the Major Gifts and Lion of Judah Dinner, visit www.jewishinsandiego.org or call 858.571.3444.

The preceding story was provided by the United Jewish Federation


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      The Jewish Sports Fan 

Unless otherwise indicated, source for these stories is today's edition of The San Diego Union-Tribune, to which we gratefully provide the links below. We do not apply halacha to determine if a player is Jewish; rather, if he or she has a Jewish parent or has converted to the faith, we count him or her as a member of our community.

Maybe they shoulda stayed in bed

BASEBALL—Kevin Youkilis drew a walk and scored a run, but he was hitless Wednesday, dropping his average to .313.  His Boston Red Sox dropped a 6-5 decision to the Kansas Royals, and Youkilis spent his third day of exile from the list of the American League's top ten batters.  To get back, he need to overtake teammate Dustin Pedroia, who is batting .316 and is tenth on the list.

HORSE RACING—Nope, no winners for jockey David Cohen in the second day of racing at Del Mar.  Sweet Dreams, his mount in the 5th was scratched; and Sinners N Saints and Tough Contenders, respectively his horses in the 7th and 8th, finished out of the money.

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        News from the    
  Israel Baseball League

Text Box:  

  Tel Aviv Lightning Zaps Modi'in Miracle, 3-2
  By Nathaniel Edelstein

TEL AVIV  (Press Release)—After the Tel Aviv Lightning lost both games of a doubleheader on Wednesday to the Modi’in Miracle, Tel Aviv came back today to beat the Miracle 8-3 at Sportek Field.
Modi’in was in control of most of the game and up 3-2 through 5.5 innings until the Tel Aviv offense came alive in the bottom of the sixth.  Centerfielder Bryan Langbord of Atlanta,  Georgia,  tied the game up with a solo homerun on a night in which he went 2-for-4 with three RBI.  The Lighting continued to pile on five more runs in the inning including an RBI-single from third baseman Nate Fish, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI to raise his average to .386 on the season. 
The Tel Aviv win snaps Modi’in’s eight-game winning streak and drops the Miracle 2.5 games out of first place.
For the second consecutive night the first-place Bet Shemesh Blue Sox played the last-place Petach Tikva Pioneers and for the second consecutive night the Sox got the best of Petach Tikva, winning easily 14-4 at Kibbutz Gezer.
Bet Shemesh piled on the runs all night long as shortstop Greg Raymundo of California led the way, going 5-for-5 with a homerun and two RBI.  Centerfielder Sean Slaughter launched two homers and added three RBI while rightfielder Jason Rees of Australia went 3-for-4 with a homerun of his own and four RBI.
Pitcher Jeff Mor enjoyed the support of 18 Blue Sox hits while picking up his first win of the season and the fifth consecutive for Bet Shemesh.
The Ra’anana Express beat the Netanya Tigers for the second straight game, winning 6-2 today at Yarkon Field in Petach Tikvah to hold onto fourth place. 
Ra’anana pitcher Nathan Mittag overcame five Express errors to throw a complete game and allow just two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.  En route to his first win, Mittag was supported offensively by Dominican first baseman Juan Ramirez, who went 1-for-3 with his fifth homer of the season and two RBI.  Catcher Jesse Michel also added a solo shot of his own as Ra’anana handed the Tigers their fifth straight loss.      



                          1   2   3   4   5   6   7    R  H   E

Modi’in              1   0   0   2   0   0   0    3   9    1

Tel Aviv             0   0   0   1   1   6   x    8  10   0

W: Mike Etkin (1-0); L: Audy Alcantara (1-1); HR: Noah Walker (5), Bryan Langbord (3)


                          1   2   3   4   5   6   7    R  H  E

Petach Tikva      0   1   1   0   0   2   0    4   4   2

Bet Shemesh      5   3   2   0   1   3   x   14  18 0

W: Jeff Mor (1-0); L: Scott Cantor (0-3); HR: Sean Slaughter (3), Gregg Raymundo (6), Johnny Lopez (11), Jason Rees (12)  


                           1   2    3   4   5   6   7    R   H   E

Netanya              1   0    0   0   1   0   0     2   5    0

Ra’anana            2   0    2   0   1   1   x     6    5   4

W: Nathan Mittag (1-1); L: Mike Kerfeld (0-3); HR: Juan Ramirez (5), Jesse Michel (2)



Team                             W    L     %     GB

Bet Shemesh Blue Sox   16    4    .800     –

Modi’in Miracle             13    6     .684   2.5

Tel Aviv Lightning         12    7    .632    3.5    

Ra’anana Express            8    12    .400   8.0

Netanya Tigers                5    12     .294   9.5

Petach Tikva Pioneers     3    16    .158   12.5

Friday at 10 am the Modi’in Miracle visit the Ra’anana Express at Yarkon Field at the Baptist Village while the Petach Tikva Pioneers take on the Tel Aviv Lightning at Sportek in Tel Aviv.  At noon the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox host the Netanya Tigers at Kibbutz Gezer.  For directions to the fields visit www.IsraelBaseballLeague.com.

Edelstein handles public relations for the Israel Baseball League

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Karl Jacobs was closely monitored during his swim across the Catalina Channel
Swimming the channel: father tells his son's saga


  By Irv Jacobs               

“Ye-hi ra-tson mi-l’la-fa-ne-cha…Lead me…until I arrive at where I’m going.  Deliver me from every enemy, ambush and hurt that I might encounter on the way and from all afflictions…”  —Traveler’s prayer-Tefilat HaDerek

LONG BEACH, California—As we loaded our gear into the boat at Long Beach Harbor, Joel, a fellow swimmer from South Africa, put in a cell phone call to Rabbi Yeruchum Eilfort in Carlsbad.  With speakerphone activated, he put the challenger for a Catalina Channel swim, Dr. Karl Jacobs, on the call.  Rabbi recited the Talmudic Jewish travelers’ supplication, Karl repeating each word.

Monday night, July 9, was destined for the record books.   A San Diego Jewish man, Karl Jacobs, my son, was about to endure the 21-mile ocean swim between Santa Catalina Island and the Point Vicente Lighthouse at Palos Verdes.  We were 17 assembled aboard the Bottom Scratcher, a 63’foot charter excursion boat mainly rented out for snorkelers of the South California coast.  Seasoned Captain Greg Elliott also had escorted more than 70 Channel swimmers over the years.  To date, 133 had accomplished the goal.   

Before the midnight swim, there was much to be done.  The professional crew consisted of three men and a woman.  As Karl has asthma, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, Ltd., which makes the inhaler he uses, sent Nicole, a public relations representative to cover the event. 

She came with two young men, videographers and photographers.  Along were six of Karl’s swim associates, mentors who had helped him train for this challenge, to supervise and record the details of this “officially-sanctioned” swim.  Three of them had swum the Channel.  Lastly, Karl’s mom (Jacqueline), his brother Ken from Portland, his uncle Aaron Lerner from Chicago, and I were aboard.

Our family cluster had celebrated a mini-reunion the prior weekend, over the coming challenge.  We, and his many friends, toasted Karl repeatedly, in synagogue, at home, in a restaurant. 

The Bottom Scratcher, which sleeps 24 and is equipped with a full kitchen, was stocked for the anticipated 15-hour excursion.  It would take two hours to motor boat from Long Beach Harbor to the Island, before we slowly accompanied the swimmer northward to the lighthouse.  Finally there would be an hour-long trip south back to Long Beach.  Captain Greg briefed the entire entourage on the safety rules of the boat, warning strongly of the dangers and precautions to take.   

The swimmer is accompanied by a kayak rowing alongside, which supplies him with liquid nourishment each 30 minutes, and by periodic volunteer swimmers who swim along for up to an hour. The biggest danger occurs when these people return to the escort boat, at which time it is mandatory that the engine is in neutral.  The two 42-inch propeller blades are knife-like, and can easily suck a person into them and swiftly turn him into “a strawberry margarita.”  Since the captain can’t see what goes on at the stern, which contains the ascent ladder, it is a must that he be signaled loud and clear by rear observers when someone is in his waters.  All criteria must be “cleared” before a swimmer can approach the boat, and again before the engine is put into gear.

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                 Arts & Entertainment

  City Councilman invites residents to TICO concert

  By Jim Madaffer
San Diego City Councilmember

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—Residents are once again invited to attend a free community concert at Allied Gardens Community Park this Sunday, July 22, at 7p.m.  The park is located at 5155 Greenbrier Ave.
Last year over 1,500 attendees attended and enjoyed a wonderful concert by the Tifererth Israel Community Orchestra (TICO). There is no charge to attend. Event organizers are suggesting guests come early, find their listening area and meet other residents. Bring the family, neighbors and friends. Enjoy your community and bring a blanket, low back chairs and pack a picnic basket for dinner on the green.

The Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra includes 70 volunteer skilled musicians from around San Diego and Imperial Counties and Baja California.

This year’s music consists of selections from: "Saturday Night at the Movies"; "Oklahoma";  "Jamaican Rumba";  "Can-Can Music"; Henry Mancini Medley; Sousa Marches  and much more.

The orchestra is conducted by acclaimed conductor David Amos.  He has made it his specialty as an orchestral conductor to introduce to the public lesser known works of composers worthy of greater recognition, as well as more obscure music of famous composers. To this end, Amos has commissioned new works as well as conducted many world premiere performances in concert and in recordings.

His musical training includes two degrees from San Diego State University, and doctoral studies in conducting at Indiana University. He has conducted and recorded over 150 compositions on more than thirty two compact discs. Only five of these works are from the familiar standard repertory. In these recordings, he conducted orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, The Royal Philharmonic, the Polish National Radio Orchestra, the Slovak Radio Symphony, the Slovak State Philharmonic, The New Russia Orchestra, The Philharmonia, and the Jerusalem Symphony. 

Amos is a resident of the seventh councilmanic district.  He was also the first director of music at Patrick Henry High School and wrote the school's fight song and alma mater.   

This free event is sponsored by the Navajo Community Foundation and the major financial contributors for this year's concert are William Lyon Homes and Bob Stall Chevrolet. 

The preceding story was provided by the office of San Diego City Councilman Jim Madaffer

                 Story Continuations

(Continued from above)

Welcomed to Lisbon by Portugal's Foreign Minister Luis Amado, the first question asked at a joint press conference was whether the time was now right to include Hamas in the negotiations.

Amado, who could speak not only for Portugal but the European Union, responded first.  The seeming fluidity of his position may have troubled Rice.  The Quartet needs to deal with the Palestinian camp, he said. "But now (emphasis added) we are dealing with the (Palestinian) President (Mahmoud) Abbas... As you know we have decided at the European Union Council last month that we would strongly support President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. So this is our position. We have no other position at the moment (emphasis added) than cooperate strictly with Prsident Abbas.... I see no conditions at the moment to engage a new relation with Hamas without a new position from them."

When it was her turn, Rice again offered that subtle distinction that she had mentioned in the NPR interview with Michelle Norris: "Let me be very clear, no one is saying the recognition of Israel. (Emphasis added) But when you can't even acknowledge the right of your partner to exist, it's going to be very hard to have peace talks."

She added that "we have a very good partner in Mahmoud Abbas who, after all, is the elected President of the Palestinian people.  He was elected by the Paletsinian people by something around 64, 65 percent of the vote..."

In Lisbon, Rice granted an interview with Colin Brazier of Sky TV, among others.  "Do you foresee a time in the future perhaps when Tony Blair could negotiate with Hamas?"

She didn't answer that one directly.  She reiterated her points about renouncing violence, and being bound by the agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  "And so Hamas knows the road to international respectability.  Hamas knows how to be a part of a constructive Palestinian state.  But we do have a constructive Palestinian partner in Mahmoud Abbas.  We have also in Salam Fayyad..."

Back in Washington DC, the Hamas question also barked at the heels of Tom Casey, the State Department's deputy spokesman.

"Can you have a viable meeting without the Syrians and Hamas present?" a reporter inquired. Casey, having read the responses of his boss and Portugal's foreign minister at their joint press conference, responded that Hamas refused the opportunity to engage with the international community by being unwilling to accept the roadmap. 

"But our focus in on working with President Abbas, with Prime Minister Fayyad and his government, as well as, of course, with the Israelis to see how we can progress this conversation and see what we can accomplish."

Will all these hints somehow nudge Hamas into changing its ways?  Will someone explain what difference it would make if Hamas recognized Israel's right to exist, but didn't recognize Israel?  We'll all have to stay tuned.

Livni-Solana ...

(Continued from above)

When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and process, we are a day after the meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as part of an ongoing process and meetings between the two leaders. After the formation of the new Palestinian government, we believe that there are chances for a change. Israel is willing to work, and in fact Israel is working with the new government, with the understanding that they represent, basically, the moderates in the Palestinian Authority.

This is a government that met the requirements of the Quartet and the international community and, in a way, it represents the interests of the Palestinians in terms of their national aspiration. We decided that it is part of the Israeli government policy to work with this government and to help them to deliver to the Palestinians a better life. I hope that we will know, together, how to use this point in time in order to create a better future for Israelis and Palestinians as well.

Javier Solana: Very briefly, I want to say that, as you know, as a member of the Quartet - tomorrow there is going to be a Quartet meeting, and I wanted to visit Israel and to visit with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to see how they see the important moments in which we are living nowadays.

You have to put that also in the context of the important speech [by US President Bush] that was delivered not long ago - a few days ago - and in which a lot of initiative was placed. We want to see how we can discuss with our friends the Israelis and also with the Palestinians how to get into this initiative. The [Quartet] meeting, again, will take place tomorrow. I wanted to have personal information from the leaders of Israel and Palestine, so that tomorrow I will be able to explain to the other members of the Quartet what the situation is from the point of view of the leaders here.

So, that is the main aim of the trip. As you know, I come here regularly. I have very good friends in Israel, I am a friend of Israel, and I have also good relations with the Palestinians, and we want to see if we can put forward, to take advantage of this new situation, across the Middle East, which is a dream of so many people in the region.

Q: Foreign Minister Livni, following the State Comptroller’s report, do you think the Prime Minister should resign due to the serious findings regarding the home front’s readiness for war?

And Mr. Solana: Are you or will the European Union take part in the international conference that President Bush declared a few days ago? Are you going to be part of it?

Q: I wanted to ask you both if you don't believe that this is the right moment to begin negotiations on the final status issues.

And, to Mr. Solana, if I might add, the European Union does support the deployment of an international force in Gaza and would the European Union send forces to this international force?

Q: Dr. Solana, President Abbas said this afternoon that he expects the PLO central council to issue a call for early elections and that, if that happens, he will issue the decree ordering those elections. Does the international community support the idea of early Palestinian elections? Is that something you would regard as viable at this point?

Javier Solana: OK, I have three questions that were addressed to me. On the international meeting, you know that this is something that the Quartet has been defending for a long time, and no doubt we will be present there.

Now, the second thing is about an international force. I think that this is something that has been around for some time, and some ideas have been suggested, but nothing has materialized yet, so I don't think that this is the moment to make a formal decision, a formal statement on that. We will have to see how the situation evolves and what is the possibility of something like that. That will have to be decided in New York - the United Nations will have to say a word about that. But, as far as talking to the parties, I don't see for the moment a tremendous anxiety for that.

And the third question, on the elections. I really have not spoken with President Abbas on the elections, although he has said that in a press conference with me, because the question was posed to him. What we think is that this government is a legitimate government and is the only legitimate government that we should support, and whatever they decide to do, and to move forward, we do not have to interfere; they will have the responsibility to do it.

But I don't think that this is something for [the Quartet's discussions] tomorrow, as you can imagine.

FM Livni: To your question about the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians - basically, of course, Israel wants to live in peace with the Palestinians. We adopted the vision of the two-state solution, with the understanding that the ideal is for two states, two different homelands for two different peoples. We would like to be in a situation in which we can reach an agreement with the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, sometimes vision is not enough and it is important to translate it into a way which represents not only the willingness of Israel and maybe the moderates of the Palestinians, but also the ability to do so.

I believe that part of the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians should be on things which are needed in order to send the message to the Palestinians that this government can deliver on a daily basis - when it comes to the release of prisoners, or to giving the money to the new government... This is something that we do in order to strengthen this government, in its need to deliver to the Palestinians and to ease the life of the Palestinians.

When it comes to the political process, there are several sensitive issues, and in the past we learned that in opening with the most sensitive issues, the result for Israel was years of intifada, because of the frustration of the lack of ability to reach a full agreement and to end the conflict.

I hope that we can end it, and I think that what we need to do is to find the wider, the broader common denominator between Israel and the Palestinians. This is something that is a part of the dialogue, and I hope that now, when there is a government that has met the requirements of the international community to accept the right of Israel to exist and accept also the former agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, this can be a basis to find the wider, the broader common denominator. I do not want to relate to final status now…

For example, one of the basic issues for Israel is two states, two different homelands. The meaning is that the Palestinian state is the answer, the national answer, to the Palestinians, including the refugees, and this is the basic understanding. It is a part of the final status issues, but it is also a part of the vision.

There are certain needs for Israel's security, and I am sure that, on the Palestinian side, they will put on the table things which are in their interest and their need to give a political horizon to their own people and the hope that the Palestinian state is not only a vague vision, but something which is more concrete.

In answer to your question, although I did receive the [State Comptroller's] report, I haven't had time to read the findings yet. However, I would like to say, simply and clearly, that the government’s job is to rectify the findings revealed in the report. This process has already begun, and the government has decided to appoint the Ministry of Defense as the party responsible for all the shortcomings in the home front. I think that this is what needs to be done. Some things have already started to be implemented but, naturally, all the findings in the report need to be addressed in an orderly manner.

Something else should also be understood in the context of the home front and the front line. Something has changed regarding the threats facing Israel, so the correction here is quite significant. If, in the past, we were used to relating to the front line and the home front separately, the new threats that Israel is facing, whether threats of terror or of rockets, in fact blur the distinction between the front line and the home front, so that is what we have to prepare for. That is the job of this government and that is what is being done.

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Israel's Private Ryans...
(Continued from above)

But whence this Israeli valor?  It derives partly from the small size of the Jewish state and the Jewish people: every single individual counts.  The Talmud counsels that he who saves a single life has saved the entire world.  Jewish tradition, while pragmatic, generally rejects a rank utilitarian calculus when it comes to human life.

This Israeli mettle also reflects the spirit of its armed forces, originally a bunch of rag-tag fighters defending an embattled state against massive Arab armies.  While the IDF has blossomed into a fearsome, technologically savvy force, it still hews to the ethos of “Acharay!” – the battlefield cry of “After Me!” shouted by officers leading their troops into the field.

But just as American attitudes have evolved between the age of Private Ryan and today, much has also changed in Israel between 1994 and now.  While the old valor remains, it has encountered new challenges.

First and foremost, the Hamas that captured Shalit is rather different from the earlier version that nabbed Waxman.  No longer a marginal terrorist group, Hamas now rules the roost in Gaza.  Its exterminationist aims haven’t faltered, but they now animate official Palestinian policy.

Likewise, the nettlesome Hezbollah of 1994 has metastasized into the unofficial government of South Lebanon.

So rather than dispatching commandos to infiltrate a compound based on pinpointed intelligence, the IDF had to insert entire divisions into Gaza in an effort to pressure Hamas into coughing up Corporal Shalit.  It also launched a weeks-long invasion across the northern border.  Both missions failed to achieve their official objective of bringing the boys home.

But this strategy highlights a second major difference between the rescue mission of 1994 and the incursions of last year, which indirectly impact the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese.                                                                                             

Predictably, Palestinians and assorted leftists last summer lambasted Prime Minister Olmert for “terrorizing civilians” and conducting kidnappings of his own.  Both Hamas and Hezbollah have insisted that the kidnapped soldiers will be released only in exchange for many thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners (this alone suggests the relative value each side places on an individual life: apparently, Israel’s enemies concede that a single Israeli is worth 10,000 Arabs).

Yet, in a third distinction from ’94, it’s not just Israel’s enemies who’ve laid into Olmert: Israelis themselves have criticized the government’s conduct. 

Noam Shalit, the corporal’s father, has ripped the IDF for its unwillingness to release prisoners in exchange for his son’s freedom.                                                        

Others have blasted the government for failing to combat the Qassam missiles fired from Gaza into Israel and the Katyusha rockets Hezbollah has unleashed from Lebanon.  Residents of Sderot, a small town near Gaza regularly pummeled by Qassams, staged hunger strikes and helped engineer the ouster of the hapless Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who also lives in Sderot. 

The Winograd Commission blasted Olmert for initiating and conducting the war with rank incompetence.  The IDF, according to the report, was not adequately prepared to launch its invasions when it did.

Thus, last summer’s operations intertwine the fates of the captured soldiers and of Israel’s broader insecurity.  Yet when push came to shove, for better or for worse, the government chose to privilege the former over the latter.

Thus, it seems that Israel’s commitment to its founding values of valor, battlefield courage, and the preservation of lives persists unto this day.  True, the execution of the battle plan proved to be an utter shambles, and the persistent captivity of Shalit, Regev, and Goldwasser are an enduring stain on the Olmert government.  But in a sense, it’s still refreshing that, like in the movie, the mission is still a man.

Rosen is an attorney in San Diego.

Catalina Channel swim...
(Continued from above)

Danger from sharks is an obvious concern, but Karl’s homework assured him this was minimal and actually has never happened in Catalina Channel swims.  Furthermore, his course was to be sandwiched between the escort boat and the kayak, with plenty of observers to sound an alarm.  During his swim, our cluster was visited several times by dolphins, playing and sometimes leaping in unison.  On one occasion, a blue whale bobbed and surfaced for a minute, perhaps a quarter mile away.  The captain quickly consigned the wheel to his co-captain and launched a motorized skiff.  With three others aboard, they chased after the whale, to perhaps a mile away from us, to no avail.  He was gone!

The official rules mandate that a swimmer begin with his toes completely out of the water at the rocky beach starting point at the west end of Catalina Island, never receive a buoyancy assist, and end up unassisted on the rocky beach below the Palos Verdes lighthouse, toes again out of the water, with his arms reaching upward.  This means that he can’t wear a wetsuit, only goggles and a swim cap with his swimsuit.  Each 30 minutes, by the clock, the kayaker reaches over to hand the swimmer 10 ounces of concentrated liquid nourishment, in a plastic container on a tether.  The swimmer treads water, drinks the volume in about 30 seconds, and then returns to steadily stroking the ocean.  In Karl’s case, a loud group cheer, “Go Karl!” arose from the boat during “nourishments.”  

Karl’s swim associates prepare the concentrated drinks 3 or 4 at a time in the galley, in advance of use.  Their favored formula consists of potato starch, honey, and green tea.  They also monitor progress of the swimmer, tracking on a map each hour the distance traversed, using a global positioning system via earth satellites.  They monitor the swimmer’s stroke rate, which in Karl’s case was a steady 60 per minute throughout, and for signs of aberrant behaviors. 

A special element attached to Karl’s swim was a fund-raising campaign he and his wife Audrey arranged.  They raised $5,000 for the San Diego Surf LifeSaving Association’s “Swim-4-Kids” program.  This group provides free swim lessons and beach excursions for underprivileged children.  

It was a sleepless night, not only for Karl but also for most of us aboard the Bottom Scratcher.  It is hard to catch a few winks, in a boat with its rocking pattern constantly changing, while it slowly plods along at about 2 knots per hour, the motors noisily changing their pitch with every adjustment by the skipper.  In addition, I heard constant bits of muffled conversations going on in the galley, incomprehensible except that I recognized the trading of “long-swim” stories.  

Water conditions actually were “calm” and 67 degrees “warm,” nearly ideal but the ocean still is constantly moving.  I was told that an overhead marine cloud layer through the night acted with calming effect on the waters.  As far as I know, no one actually got seasick.  For myself, I got a low-grade dizziness by 2am, for which I took 50 mg of Dramamine.  It probably helped, but I “passed” on all the food selections available, except for a soft plum, eaten slowly at the end of the swim.  Lying still in my bunk, from time to time, mitigated the dizziness and probably prevented full-blown misery. 

Prowling the decks through the dark night, I always found someone who offered swim stories and talk.  Particularly wonderful was Dave Clark, who swam Catalina in 1986 and the English Channel in 1988.  Though he no longer does such long distances, he remains active in supporting swimmers who do.  It was Dave, who represented the Catalina Swim Federation, with his Coast Guard license, who officially monitored and charted Karl’s progress.  It was he who certified the recorded time of the swim at 10 hours, 7 minutes, 58 seconds.  Karl climbed the rocky beach at Palos Verdes and raised his arms at 9:57:58 am on July 10, having begun at 11:50pm the night before.  He is the first this year to do the Channel.

For the last few hundred yards of the swim, three volunteer support swimmers followed Karl and ascended the beach after him.  Among them was his brother Kenny.  They swam through two parallel rows of protruding seaweed forest 100 yards from the shore, which signaled finally the rock-strewn beach truly in sight. 

Karl was triumphant, with gleaming bright blue eyes, though his face and eyelids sported numerous wrinkles and swelling, from the ordeal and the pressure from his mask-like goggles.  His hands were pale white and wrinkled, likely from blood vessel constriction in the cool water.  His feet were marked by multiple small cuts, from maneuvering the multiple sharp stones on the destination “beach.” 

He and the others, after multiple photos to record the climax moment, re-entered the water.  The kayaker came by, picked him up, and dashed him back to the Bottom Scratcher, where he was immediately wrapped in blankets to re-warm.

In recounting his impressions, Karl reported that, at 2-1/2 hours into the swim, in the pitch black of the darkness, he was seized with a dark feeling of “hitting the wall…It was bleak.  I was unsure of whether I wanted to continue.  I was frightened.” However, he persisted, determined not to fail, and within 20 minutes, he “entered a zone,” with a resurgence of positive feelings “from nowhere.”  From then on, he maintained his lonely journey, “one perfect stroke at a time.”  He counted “to 100 over and over,” and meditated. 

With the dawn breaking soon after 5am, there was another boost in his feelings, as he actually saw the coast ahead.  The distance is deceptive, as it was still halfway to go.  The distance remained deceptive until there was finally only a few hundred yards to go.  Toward the end, he felt he was repeatedly stung about the shoulders and neck by unseen jellyfish.  He was aware also of stiffening and pain in his shoulders, wrists, and hands.  When he mounted the Palos Verdes Beach, he feared “I wouldn’t be able to raise my arms,” to signal.  Two days afterward he was still nursing a burning sensation in his mouth and lips, from the long exposure to salty water.

On the fast ride back to Long Beach, Captain Greg learned that Karl is a psychiatrist.  That, he proposed, explains his being “crazy” to swim the Channel.  The support team announced that Karl will be cited in the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park, as the 134th person to do Catalina, a world-class swimmer.

In the eyes of proud parents, Karl was and remains “world class.”  Imagine this about a Jewish boy!  His and our prayer is answered.

He plans to do the English Channel within two years, after he adjusts to his family’s move to a new home to the University City area of san Diego and his third child, due to arrive in September.

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