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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Nov. 16, 1995, V3, #209
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Two Yeshiva Students Arrested for Desecrating Rabin's Grave
Two Yeshiva students attempting to spit and urinate on the grave of
the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin were arrested by the police
at the Mount Herzl Cemetery. Ha'aretz reported that the students
confessed to the crime and remain in police custody.
Peres' Long Day's Journey to Peace
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
As Acting Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres works to form a new
government in the next several days, he has a remarkably free hand
because the main opposition party has pledged not to oppose the new
Cabinet when it is presented to parliament. But Peres is facing
the same sharply divided public, and narrow parliamentary majority
Yitzhak Rabin faced when it comes to key basic issues.
Should Israel shrink almost to its 1967 borders and allow the West
Bank and Gaza to come under Palestinian control, or should it
retain control over as much of the biblical land of Israel as it
can and halt the autonomy process?
Those are the key questions at the core of Israel's political
debate. Peres' position as one of the architects of the autonomy
plan is clear, and the staunch opposition of his critics is equally
clear. So while there have been calls from all sides for lowering
the tone of the political rhetoric, the basic dispute remains.
One of Peres' key political allies, and one of the Cabinet's most
liberal members, is former peace negotiator and now Economics
Minister Yossi Beilin.
"The question is a pragmatic question, whether we can have a Jewish
and democratic state by controlling so many Palestinians, and the
answer is very clear, and it is negative."
But on the other side of the political spectrum, at the Council
of Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, spokeswoman Yehudit
Tayar sees the central issue quite differently. "It is a matter of
the character of the State of Israel and it should be a Jewish
character because we are talking about the State of Israel as a
Jewish state. And we believe it is our right, if in the sands of
Tel Aviv or in Holon, certainly in the places where we began as a
To Tayar and other settlers that means the now Palestinian cities
of Nablus and Hebron, among other places, that are about to become
autonomous under the government's peace plan.
Beilin says the government might be willing to change some of its
policies to accommodate the opposition, but not the basic approach
to the issue.
Among the calls for dialogue, the harsh rhetoric has continued from
both sides. Members of the ruling party have accused its opponents
of coddling dangerous, potentially violent extremists, and the
opposition has accused the government of engaging in a witch hunt.
Peres Readies New Government
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's president has formally asked Acting Israeli Prime Minister
Shimon Peres to form a new government, in the wake of the
assassination of his predecessor, Yitzhak Rabin. President Ezer
Weizman spent two days meeting with the leaders of all of Israel's
main political parties. All of them recommended that he select
Peres to form the new government. Opposition leaders have not
modified their objections to the policies of the ruling Labor
Party, but they have said they do not want to reap any political
benefit from Rabin's death. Weizman, who has been critical of some
aspects of the peace process, also told Peres on national
television he has his full support to pursue that policy.
Peres will now have up to six weeks to form a new government, but
he said Wednesday he hopes to complete the process very soon. He
said he will do his best to make peace with Israel's neighbors and
within itself. Israel has been wracked by acrimony since the Rabin
assassination, with the left wing accusing conservatives of
coddling dangerous militants, and the right accusing the ruling
Labor Party of engaging in a political witch-hunt.
The acting prime minister is expected to retain the foreign affairs
or defense portfolio for himself, and to give the other one to
former Chief of Staff Ehud Barak, who joined the Cabinet just a few
months ago as interior minister.
'Witch hunt' Continues as Conspiracy Unravels
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The Israeli police have arrested a young woman and accused her of
being a key conspirator in the assassination of Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin. Police presented 20-year-old law student Margalit
Harshefi before a judge in a Tel Aviv suburb and said they will
charge her with conspiracy and membership in an illegal group.
Harshefi, carrying a small prayerbook in her cuffed hands, said she
is not guilty and requested to meet with a lawyer.
A police investigator said the suspect was described as a dominant
member of a group that planned the assassination of Rabin on Nov.
4, and was also planning attacks on Arabs. The judge ordered her
held for 12 days while charges are prepared.
Harshefi is a resident of a settlement (Beit El) near the West Bank
town of Ramallah, and studies law at Bar Ilan University, the same
school where the confessed assassin Yigal Amir was a student. Her
father admitted she knows the gunman, but denied she has been
involved in any extremist group.
Also on Wednesday, the police freed one of the seven men implicated
in the Rabin assassination. The leader of the militant Jewish
group Eyal, Avishai Raviv, was freed on condition that he remain in
his parents' house for seven days while the investigation
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