Newsletter : 5fax1120.txt
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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
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
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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