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Dr. Frank Dimant CEO B'nai Brith Canada

 
AS ROSH HASHANA BEGINS :WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

by Frank Dimant, CEO of B'nai Brith Canada September 2, 2010

As Jews around the world prepare to usher in a New Year on September 9th, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarks on a fresh round of direct Middle-East peace talks in Washington, not seen since 2008. Despite the optimistic and joyous nature of Rosh Hashanah, we cannot help but notice the black cloud of uncertainty that hovers overhead. The timing of the negotiations and Tuesday’s murder of four Jews in Hebron is far from coincidental, and is thus shrouded in symbolism. The terrorist attack in Hebron was intended to communicate a clear message regarding the future of the Jewish State and of its people – Jews are not welcome there. In particular the murder of a pregnant woman, the annihilation of two generations of Jews, sends a deafening message to those who wish to reside within their historic homeland and reminds us of the manifestos of terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah who vow the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people.


In the wake of this most recent terrorist attack against Jews in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu will face many difficult decisions in the year to come. Questions abound as to whether Bibi will remain loyal to the Likud party and its Zionist ideals, or whether he will buckle under Washington pressure and repeat the demoralization of Israel during the era of Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat. In his desire to soften his hard-line image, will he stay true to his campaign promises or risk a similar Likud split like that which occurred under Ariel Sharon’s administration?


President Barak Obama has openly stated that Hamas was “purposely trying to undermine these talks” and advocates a staunch effort from all sides to achieve a peace agreement within the year. However, to ignore the threats to the Jewish State, as seen in Tuesday’s murders and decades of terrorist attacks within Israel, is to side with the Palestinians who took to the streets of Gaza and the West Bank in celebration of the Hebron murders.


We see in the media the notion that the most immediate threat to the new round of peace talks is the impending conclusion to the building moratorium in the West Bank set to take place on September 26, 2010. To call the building of homes for Jewish residents within Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) a “threat to progress” is to deny the rights of the Jewish people to freely inhabit the Land of Israel. Bibi will soon be forced to decide whether the moratorium on building is to be reinstated in an effort to appease Mahmoud Abbas and continue the “peace” negotiations, or whether to keep his pledge to his coalition partners against the construction freeze.


Perhaps the single-most hopeful area of understanding and cooperation between the negotiating parties is the issue of Iranian nuclearization, one that should be at the forefront of Middle-East peace discussions considering the imminent threat Iran posses to the entire region. The Iranian nuclear bomb will after all not differentiate between Jews and Muslims residing throughout Eretz Israel, which includes Judea and Samaria. The fallout will not even spare the radical Jihadists in Gaza. Thus far, Obama has proven himself to be only a diplomatic opposing-force to Iran’s ongoing nuclear efforts, implementing the equivalent of slap-on-the-wrist sanctions. The question remains, will Obama proceed to deal with the Iranian threat pro-actively, or will his previous responses to Iran merely have set the stage for future reactions?


So, as we sit joyously around the Rosh Hashanah dinner table next week, let us not only remember the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attack which left 6 children orphaned, but also ruminate on the uncertain future of Israel and the Jewish people that hinges on the current Middle-East peace discussions in Washington and on the decisions made by Prime Minister Netanyahu. We can only hope for a sweet year amidst the mystery that surrounds negotiations as perilous as the Iranian threat.

 

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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