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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Nov. 22, 1995, V3, #213
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Pollard Receives Israeli Citizenship

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has granted citizenship to convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, who is in prison in the US. Acting just two hours before a new Cabinet was to be named, Interior Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement saying he had decided to grant Pollard's request for citizenship, made on the grounds Pollard has done a service for Israel. Pollard was imprisoned for life 10 years ago for passing US government secrets to Israel.

Israeli governments have asked for his release several times, and Barak said Tuesday Israel will continue to work on his behalf. Just a few months ago, President Clinton turned down a request from the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to grant Pollard clemency.

Pollard asked for Israeli citizenship earlier this year, but the government declined. He appealed to Israel's Supreme Court, which ordered the government to explain its decision by the end of this week. Instead, the government changed its position. Pollard hopes having Israeli citizenship will help him in his effort to get out of jail.

Peres Unveils New Cabinet

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Acting Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres has announced the make- up of his new government, taking the defense portfolio for himself and promoting recently retired Gen. Ehud Barak to the post of foreign minister. Peres presented the new Cabinet to the Central Committee of his Labor Party, and will ask for a vote of confidence in parliament today.

The promotion of Barak from interior minister to foreign minister is seen as an effort to bring in something like the security reputation of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. But analysts say Barak was not made defense minister so he could not appear to be second guessing Peres on security issues if concessions are made to Syria or the Palestinians.

Barak will be replaced at interior by Labor Party renegade Haim Ramon, who split with the party two years ago. Peres' closest political ally, Yossi Beilin, was named minister in the prime minister's office. Beilin served as deputy foreign minister under Peres for three years and was recently made economics minister. As one of israel's original peace negotiators with the Palestinians, he is expected to play a key role in talks on remaining issues, including the future status of Jerusalem.

Ministers Beilin, Ramon, and Barak will join Peres on the inner Cabinet, which makes key policy decisions. Labor Party veteran Moshe Shahal is also expected to be part of that group in his new role as minister of internal security -- a newly created job. He has been minister of police, but sought a broader role.

Perhaps the most interesting addition to the Cabinet is politically moderate rabbi, Yehudah Amital, who was appointed minister without portfolio. His job is expected to be liaison with Israel's religious right, which has come under criticism since a religious young man assassinated Yitzhak Rabin on Nov. 4. Amital is not a member of parliament.

The Labor Party will rule together with the same two coalition partners it had before, the 12-seat left-wing Meretz Party and the two-seat rightist splinter group, Ye'ud. The new government, like the previous one, will control only 58 seats in the 120-member parliament, but it will have outside support from at least five other members from two parties which draw their support mainly from Israeli Arabs.

The political structure has drawn criticism from some opposition groups. They complain major decisions in the peace process affecting the future of the Jewish state are being made by a government which relies on non-Jewish votes.

Assassins' Parents Interrogated

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli police summoned the parents of the confessed assassin of Yitzhak Rabin for questioning Tuesday, and released them three hours later. The parents of Yigal Amir appeared at a police station in a Tel Aviv suburb. It was not known what police asked them. But their son, Yigal, has confessed to the assassination and their elder son, Hagai, is being held as an alleged accomplice.

Police found a stash of weapons and explosives hidden in their house and buried under their yard. Leaving the police station, the boys' father, Shlomo, repeated his claim that he did not know anything about his sons' activities.

The parents were questioned on the same day police released two of the young men who had been held for allegedly knowing of the assassination plan. The two were released from jail on $1,000 bond, put under house arrest, and were barred from speaking to reporters or entering the occupied territories. At least one of the men is still suspected of forming an organization to attack Arabs.

Police presented another man in court Tuesday, 24-year-old Avshalon Weinberg. Contrary to earlier reports, they did not charge him in connection with the Rabin assassination, but rather with planning an attack on Arabs.

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