As Scandals Rock Israel, Detroit Jewish and Muslim Communities Come Together

“It is extremely important to have the kind of intellectual accuracy (in these conversations). Otherwise, people are simply building their emotions on houses of cards.”

Jake Neher/WDET

It’s easy to focus on the political chaos here in United States and forget that we’re seeing similar things in other countries around the world.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is embroiled in his own criminal investigation right now.

Last month, Israeli police recommended that the four-term prime minister be indicted of bribery in two cases.

Late last week, he was questioned in connection with a third investigation. This has added a new twist to the already complicated politics inside Israel. And, of course, it further complicates the much larger global controversies surrounding Israel.

“In some ways, it’s nothing new,” says Howard Lupovitch, associate professor of history and director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University. “Prime Minister Netanyahu has been engaged in scandals or accused of being engaged in scandals for some time. He’s very adept at talking his way out of things. As far as the way it affects larger issues, it’s unclear at this point, because it’s unclear as to whether he’s going to survive these scandals.”

How are Jews and Muslims here in Michigan reacting to these scandals? And what lines of communication exist for those communities to come together to have a dialogue about these and other issues?

The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC has joined with the Michigan Muslim Community Council to present, “A Shared Future: The Once and Future Jerusalem,” a series of community conversations hosted by Lupovitch and Saeed Khan, a lecturer of Near East and Asian studies at Wayne State University.

“The thing that we (Lupovitch and Khan) don’t have and that we’ve never pretended to have is the level of emotional investment that many in the community have that oftentimes eclipses the intellectual aspect of this,” says Khan.

“But, nonetheless, it is extremely important to have the kind of intellectual accuracy,” he says. “Otherwise, people are simply building their emotions on houses of cards.”

There will be three opportunities to attend the program:  March 7th at the Congregation Beth Ahm in West Bloomfield, March 28th (location to be determined), and April 11 at the Wayne State University David Adamany Undergraduate Library, Bernath Auditorium in Detroit.  All programs will take place at 7 p.m. Click here for more information.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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