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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Nov. 20, 1995, V3, #211
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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No Law of Return for Kach Members

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's National Commission of Inquiry into the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin began its work Sunday. Meanwhile, the Cabinet announced a crackdown on militant right wing groups, such as the one believed to be behind the murder.

The three-member state commission began its hearings amid tight security at a conference center in Jerusalem. Israel's Security Service has come under intense criticism in the two-weeks since the killing for not adequately securing the area where the prime minister's car was parked, for not having a plan of how he might escape the area, for not having communication with the nearest hospital, and for not having followed up on information which might have led to the confessed assassin before he had a chance to act.

In addition, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday the Security Service had an agent planted in the militant group Eyal, of which the assassin was a member, but either he failed to learn of the plan or to report it, or that his superiors failed to act on the information. The report has been denied.

Meanwhile, Israel's Cabinet agreed to steps aimed at combating militant Jewish organizations, including stricter enforcement of existing laws and perhaps some new ones.

Education Minister Amnon Rubenstein says the Cabinet decided it must take strong action against organizations whose aims or methods violate the law. This would include any group deemed racist or to advocate violence. Rubenstein said the plan amounts to an end of what he called a policy of restraint toward such groups in the past. "These steps include stopping Jewish immigration or even visits of people who are associated or are members of these illegal organizations and control of state funds which have financed up to now these subversive organizations. I think it is a very important step which sends a very clear message to all and sundry -- enough is enough."

ADL Visits Saudi Arabia, Returns with Message

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

An American Jewish group has made a sort of shuttle mission between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The group's leader says the action resulted in some additional small steps toward contact between the two countries, and a timely reaffirmation of Saudi support for the peace process.

It is no longer such a rare event for a Jewish group to visit Saudi Arabia. But on this trip led by the ADL, several participants went to Saudi Arabia immediately after attending the funeral of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and then returned to Israel.

The circumstances resulted in a message being passed from the Saudi government to the Israeli government expressing condolences for Rabin's death. Even though the message did not have any policy content, the delegation leader, Abraham Foxman, says it reflects Saudi support for the peace process and what he sees as a new level of comfort among Saudis about contacts with Israel.

"Whether it is royalty, whether it is the government ministers or businessmen, there is a consensus from all the people, that we talked to, in support of the peace process. They see it as important to the stability of the region and important to them as well."

Foxman says he was told the condolence message included the feelings of King Fahd, who he was told, felt a loss upon the death of Rabin even though the two men had never met. "There is another issue out there which is very sensitive to them, and that is Jerusalem. So, there is even a possibility that if the Syrian track moves ahead they will still wait with some progress on their behalf on the final determination of all the issues."

Still, Foxman is encouraged, not least because of how his delegation was treated in Saudi Arabia. "Previous visits of American Jewish groups were done quietly, discreetly, almost in secret. Ours was public. We insisted on it, and they agreed. We came publicly. We were there publicly. We talked with the press. They helped facilitate our press release. So that also is another little step in the direction. If they relate publicly to the American Jewish Community, which means world Jewry, it is just another link in contact with Israel."

Foxman says this kind of liaison role is a familiar one for American Jews, although it has been reduced in recent years as Israel has developed direct relations with more and more countries. But Foxman says it will continue for a while with Saudi Arabia and some other countries.

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