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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                     Sept. 29, 1995, V3, #178
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Settlers and Palestinians May Square-Off

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Minister of Religious Affairs in the Palestinian Autonomy Authority has sparked a controversy, saying Jews will not have the right to pray at holy sites that come under Palestinian control. Other Palestinian officials have disavowed the comment, but Jewish leaders in Israel are still angry and worried.

The controversial comment was made recently by Minister Hassan Tahboub in an interview with the Associated Press. Taboub said Jews would be allowed to visit holy sites under Palestinian control, but not to pray there.

Israel's minister of police responded sharply, calling the comments -- "The miserable expressions of a shortsighted man." Palestinian officials were quick to say Taboub was not expressing official policy. One official was Marwan Kanafani, the spokesman for the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat.

"There is no question that whenever the Palestinian Authority is in charge there will be free access to anybody belonging to any religion to visit his religious sites and pray. We are obliged to protect him and we are responsible for his well-being and his comfort and you name it."

Kanafani says the Palestinian Authority has proved this through its control of an old synagogue in autonomous Jericho, where Jews pray daily under the protection of Palestinian police. But Kanafani also says there will have to be negotiations about exactly which religious sites Jews will have the right to visit and just what the arrangements will be.

He says Tahboub's statement must be seen in the context of similar extreme statements made by some Jews, particularly in the Israeli settlers' movement.

Many Israelis are now concerned that under Palestinian control the sites might be closed to Jews, as they were for the 19 years that Jordan controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Even with promises that would not be true under Palestinian control, religious Jews, including settlers who live near the holy sites, are opposed to giving control of them to non-Jews. And in spite of the promises made by Palestinian officials, such as Kanafani, Israel's Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau is not willing to take a

"I do  not  see the need for it.  I do  not  understand why do we
have to make this test.  We always give a chance for everybody to
do what we call 'Tshuva,' to regret.  First of all, do they regret?
Did they ask apology?  What did they say?  He has promised. We have
proved. That's the difference. Always, 47 years, open for everyone. So there is a difference between promising and keeping."

Russian-Jewish Art Exhibit Opens in N.Y.

By Michele Kelemen (VOA-New York)

An exhibit described as the first comprehensive study of Russian Jewish art has opened at the Jewish Museum in New York and features more than 300 works by 50 artists. Visitors to the exhibit are taken on a 100 year journey through history, from the czarist period when Russian Jews emerged in the art world through the fall of the Soviet Union.

Many of the paintings and sculptures in this exhibit do not have explicitly Jewish themes. But, Columbia University history Professor Michael Stanislawski explains it is the balance between Jewish traditions and Russian and Soviet history that makes the new exhibit so interesting.

Stanislawski -- a consulting curator for the exhibit at the Jewish Museum -- says visitors will learn Jewish artists were central to the evolution of new artistic styles in Russia and the Soviet Union.

Visitors begin their journey in the final years of Imperial Russia when restrictions on Jews began to ease and Jewish artists like Isaak Levitan and Leonid Pasternak sought to participate fully in Russian life. The exhibit also covers the impact of Jewish artists during the Bolshevik revolution, the Stalin era, and the years leading up to and including the demise of the Soviet Union.

The Stalin era is represented with heroic images of Stalin and a classic of Soviet art: Isaak Brodsky's 1937 portrait of Lenin in the Smolny Institute. The second floor of the exhibit in the Jewish Museum is dedicated to nonconformist art of the 1960s and '70s and more recent works, including Grisha Bruskin's 1987 AlefBet series, one of the only works in the second half of the exhibit that features Jewish text and tradition.

The exhibit "Russian Jewish Artists in a Century of Change" successfully merges history and art, and includes works from around the world. It will be on display at the Jewish Museum in New York for the next four months.

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