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					                                                                                                                              Israel & Mideast
CHRISTIE                                Moammar Gadhafi’s strange courtship of the Jews                                                       IN BRIEF…
                                        By RON KAMPEAS                                   Jewish community’s foreign policy
NJ governor                             JTA                                              umbrella group. In the end, “we didn’t          Soldier arrested for
                                            WASHINGTON—Now it can be told: want to stand in the way of Libyan Jews
headed to Israel                        For the last decade or so, the Jews had having the opportunity to visit.”                        leaking information
                                        secret back channels to Moammar Gadhafi.             Especially notable was the fervor with          An Israeli soldier was arrested on
   Chris Christie said he would             What led the pro-Israel community into which the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-               suspicion that he leaked information
travel to Israel as part of his first   a careful relationship with Gadhafi 10 Calif.), a Holocaust survivor who then was                on military operations in the West
official overseas trip as New           years ago were considerations of U.S. the senior Democrat on the House of                        Bank to settlers.
Jersey governor.                        national interests, Israel’s security needs Representatives             Foreign       Affairs        Though no specific charges have
   Christie made the announce-          and the claims of Libyan Jews.                   Committee, embraced the cause. Lantos,          been made, it is suspected that the sol-
ment after meeting with Israeli             After his overthrow by Libyan rebels with the blessing of a George W. Bush                   dier’s actions allowed extremist set-
ambassador to the United States,        and his killing, the conclusion among administration seeking to contain radical                  tlers to disrupt Israeli army operations
Michael Oren, The Star-Ledger           many pro-Israel figures in America is that Islamist influence, visited Libya five times.         and carry out “price-tag” attacks.
reported.                               it was worth it, despite the Libyan strong-          “I am rational enough to recognize that         Investigators for the Israeli military
   “We look forward to continuing       man’s erratic behavior and his ignoble we must accept ‘yes’ for an answer,”                      questioned the soldier, and when he
to strengthen our ties,” Christie       downfall.                                                        Lantos told the Forward         refused to cooperate arrested him,
said. “There’s a great, great, great        The reason: Gadhafi’s                                        newspaper in 2004 follow-       according to reports.
long-term connection between            shift away from state ter-                                       ing     his    first   visit.       The soldier, a resident of the West
New Jersey and Israel, and I intend     rorism after the Sept. 11,                                       “Gadhafi’s record speaks        Bank who is a married father of two,
to make that as strong as I can         2001 attacks eliminated a                                        for itself—it’s an abom-        serves in the Samaria Brigade’s rab-
along with the ambassador and           funder and organizer of                                          inable record—but the cur-      binate as a kashrut supervisor and is
other important folks in the Israeli    threats to Israeli and U.S.                                      rent actions also speak for     not believed to belong to any extremist
government.”                            interests.                                                       themselves. He has now          groups, according to reports.
   The visit will probably take             Gadhafi’s overtures to                                       made a 180-degree turn.”            Israeli extremists recently vandal-
place in the spring, and will           the pro-Israel community                                             Lantos, associates said,    ized an Israeli army base in the region,
include his wife and children, he       began in 2002, when a                                            delighted in showing visi-      reportedly in retaliation for the razing
said.                                   leader of the Libyan                                             tors a gift he had received     of three homes in the West Bank’s
   Mark Levenson, chairman of           Jewish community in                                              from Gadhafi: a copy of his     Migron outpost. (JTA)
the        New        Jersey-Israel     exile,     David      Gerbi,                                     book “Isratine,” his idio-
Commission, said the governor
would probably meet with Israeli
                                        returned to Libya to bring                                       syncratic proposal for a
                                                                                                         single Israeli-Palestinian
                                                                                                                                         Controversy surrounds
                                        an elderly aunt to Italy,
Prime       Minister      Benjamin      where he and his family In this undated photo, David state.                                      Jerusalem councilwoman
Netanyahu during the trip, The          now live. His aunt, Rina Gerbi poses in front of Sla dar             Steve Rosen, now a
                                                                                                                                             Activists are working to reinstate
Star-Ledger reported. (JTA)                                             Bishi, the synagogue in Tripoli
                                        Debach, is believed to be that he hopes to renovate. consultant to a number of                   Jerusalem City Council member Rachel
                                        the last Jew to have lived Gerbi, an Italian Jew born in groups on Middle East                   Azaria, who was stripped of her portfolio
                                        in Libya.                       Libya, played a central role in issues, was at the time the      after petitioning Israel’s Supreme Court
                                            Through interlocutors, 2002 in the rapprochement director of foreign policy                  to ban gender segregation in a haredi
                                        Gerbi told JTA, “Gadhafi between Moammar Gadhafi for the American Israel
  STAR POWER…                           asked me if I could help to and Libyan Jews. JTA photo Public Affairs Committee.
                                                                                                                                         Orthodox neighborhood.
                                                                                                                                             Thousands of individuals and plu-
                                        normalize the relationship courtesy of David Gerbi.              He said the pro-Israel com-
                                                                                                                                         ralist organizations have signed a peti-
                                                                                         munity decided to not stand in the way of
 DiCaprio invests                       between Libya and the United States.”
                                            Gadhafi’s motives were clear, according U.S. rapprochement with Libya because of
                                                                                                                                         tion to restore Azaria to her positions
                                                                                                                                         on the council. Azaria was relieved of
 in Israeli startup                     to Gerbi: Saddam Hussein was in the U.S. the relief it would offer Israel.
                                        sights at the time and Gadhafi, who already          Rosen and Alan Makovsky, a staffer for
                                                                                                                                         her duties by Jerusalem Mayor Nir
                                                                                                                                         Barkat after the court agreed to her
    American actor Leonardo             was tentatively reaching out to the West Lantos, were surprised when around                      petition and upheld a ruling that had
 DiCaprio has invested in an            through Britain, did not want to be next on 2002—the same time that Gerbi was mak-               banned gender segregation on the
 Israeli visual media platform          the list.                                        ing the case for Libya in New York and
                                                                                                                                         streets of the Mea Shearim neighbor-
 start-up company.                          “He saw what’s next, he was on the list Washington—Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam,             hood.
    DiCaprio participated in a          of terrorist countries,” Gerbi said.             sought them out at a conference on the
                                                                                                                                             Azaria’s duties on the City Council
 $4-million first round of fund-            Gadhafi agreed to end his nascent Middle East in England.                                    had concerned community councils and
 ing for Mobil Ltd. and is              weapons of mass destruction programs and             “He kept finding ways to bring us into
                                                                                                                                         childhood issues. She was elected on the
 reported to be advising the            to a payout in the billions of dollars to fam- the dialogue,” Rosen recalled. “It became         independent Jerusalemite ticket in 2008.
 company as well, though he             ilies of victims of the terrorist attack that plain we were the reasons for his coming to            Barkat’s office told the Israeli
 does not have a high-tech              brought down a Pan Am flight over the conference. He considered us influen-                      newspaper Haaretz that Azaria was not
 background, according to               Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.                    tial in Washington because we were pro-
                                                                                                                                         relieved of her duties for opposing
 VentureBeat.                               Gerbi, who still hopes to re-establish a Israel.”                                            gender segregation but for suing the
    “It’s about him knowing             Jewish presence in Libya, immediately                Rosen took the younger Gadhafi’s case
                                                                                                                                         city in the Supreme Court.
 and understanding branding             launched a tour of the United States in to the Israelis, who gave AIPAC a green                      In a Facebook message, Azaria con-
 and marketing,” company                hopes of rallying support for bringing light not to oppose Libya’s overtures—but                 demned Barkat for siding with extrem-
 CEO and co-founder Moshiko             Libya into the pro-Western fold. He met they also counseled caution.                             ists.
 Hogeg told VentureBeat.                with pro-Israel groups and lawmakers.                “Most of them raised an eyebrow, say-
                                                                                                                                             In Mea Shearim, a faction within
    The company has offices in              “There were extensive discussions ing you can’t trust Gadhafi, but the idea of               the community had set up fences and
 Israel and New York.                   about what would be appropriate and not a rogue state becoming moderate appealed                 stationed private ushers to enforce sep-
    Mobil has invented a new            appropriate,” recalled Malcolm Hoenlein, to them,” Rosen said.                                   aration between genders during
 photo-sharing application that         the executive vice president of the                  That view seemingly was vindicated
                                                                                                                                         Sukkot, when the streets are filled with
 allows users to share images in        Conference of Presidents of Major when Libya destroyed its weapons of mass                       city residents out celebrating, as well
 real time. (JTA)                       American Jewish Organizations, the destruction under U.S. supervision. ▲                         as visitors. (JTA)


www.jewishvoicesnj.org                                                    JEWISH COMMUNITY VOICE                                                          November 2, 2011       5

				
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