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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Tevet 2, 5766, 1/2/2006

      Israel's State of the Union


      After army bulldozers demolished the Jewish community of Amona this morning outside Ofra, and Hamas terrorists prepare to take the reins of power in Gaza, it is worth taking a moment to contemplate Israel’s State of the Union.

      Amona Domestically, the Government is dividing the nation by continuing to expel Jews from their homes in the Land of Israel. An entire sector of the public is being targeted, its values and belief system callously trampled, all for the sake of Ehud Olmert’s election campaign.

      The residents of Amona offered a number of compromise proposals in order to avert a confrontation, but Mr. Olmert seemed determined to put on a messy little show, in the hopes of consolidating his support among left-wing voters.

      Mr.Olmert would do well to heed the words of US President George W. Bush, whose State of the Union address before Congress last night included the following words:

      “…even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger.  To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of goodwill and respect for one another -- and I will do my part.  Tonight the state of our Union is strong -- and together we will make it stronger. “

      Can Israel’s Acting Prime Minister make a similar claim? Hardly.

      Moreover, Mr. Olmert seems determined to carry out further withdrawals from Judea and Samaria, sending a thinly-veiled hint to this effect last night when he said that his Kadima party would draw the country’s final borders.

      Here, too, Mr. Olmert should consider well what Mr. Bush had to say last night:

      “In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders.  If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone.  They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores.  There is no peace in retreat.  And there is no honor in retreat.”

      And so, in these perilous times, America can be grateful that it has a leader of vision and courage who is willing to mend internal disputes even as he confronts his country’s external foes.

      And Israelis can only look on with envy and wonder: when will we too merit to have a leader of similar fortitude?

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