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|04-26-03: Celina resident offers Israeli perspective of
|By BETTY LAWRENCE
The Daily Standard
The people of Israel, for the most part, remained calm during the
United States' war against Iraq, Israeli Avram Keusch said he feels.
Keusch moved to Celina with his wife, Sarah Baker, and two young
daughters nearly 18 months ago for an analyst job at Community First Bank.
He has lived the majority of his 38 years in Israel, where his parents
and most of his immediate family still reside.
"Israel is about 300 miles from Iraq, and there were some fears
about missile attacks and chemicals, but all in all, I think they were calm about the war.
His family did not follow the war all that much," Keusch said during a recent
interview at his Celina home. "It was different in 1991, when Hussein paralyzed the
country. He sent missiles and now, the majority of our people are very happy to have the
Iraqi regime toppled."
Keusch remembers, as a child, occasional terrorist attacks and said
suicide bombings in Israel have increased, particularly in the last two years.
"It's really a terrible thing. And now, when the United States'
war with Iraq broke out, the people in Israel were given gas masks, because of the
possibility of chemical warfare," Keusch said.
"At that time, Purium, a holiday that resembles Halloween in the United
States, was being held and parents just told their children the gas masks were part of the
holiday," His wife added.
Keusch notes that he has lived in Israel and returned back to the
United States on at least two separate occasions.
"I was born in the United Sates and was 6 years old when my family
moved to Israel, in 1970," he said. He spent his childhood in Jerusalem, Israel.
In Israel, all men must serve three years in the military when they
turn 18 and women are required to serve two years. Keusch served his three years prior to
earning a bachelor of science in mathematics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Luckily, he was not involved in warfare during his stint with the
At the age of 24, Keusch came to the United States to work toward his
doctorate in business administration at Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington, Ind. It
was there he met his wife Sarah, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind.
Coincidentally, his wife had spent a year in Israel during her junior
year of studies and knew Keusch's parents, who had operated a post office on the campus.
"When I met Avram at IU, I couldn't believe it when he told me who
his parents were, that I actually knew his family," she said.
At the age of 28, Keusch returned to Israel with his new wife. Their
two daughters, Rivka, 7, and Naomi, 4, were born in Israel. The couple spent eight years
in Israel before returning to the United States two and a half years ago.
The United States' war against Iraq was not their biggest fear, they
said. It was the United States' shift in foreign policy that causes them the greatest
"They (United States) decided to go on their own with the war
against Iraq (without the sanction of the United Nations). This was a war to change a
regime, a war of choice," Keusch said. "That is worrisome to me. Iraq doesn't
exist now. There is a lot of thinking on what they want to get done, but little thought on
what they will do now. I would like to see a realistic approach to foreign policy."
"My fear is that a precedent may have been set," Sarah Keusch
added. "You have to consider the rest of the world."
Keusch enjoys talking before an audience about Israel and has been a
guest speaker at area functions. Unfortunately, his job at Community Bank was brief and he
is seeking employment now. His wife is a freelance writer for various publications.
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