Newsletter : 6fax0521.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
May 21, 1996 V4, #93
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Dan Shomron Endorses Likud
Former IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Shomron, is supporting
Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud in next
week's elections. Shomron said it is preferable that the Likud, and
not Labor, conduct the negotiations on the final arrangements with
the Palestinians, as "Labor is stuck on the peace process as an end
in itself," and that it would therefore tend to concede any points
on which the PLO is stubborn.
Peres, Arafat Reach Agreement on Division of Jerusalem
The east Jerusalem daily newspaper An-Nahar reports Yasir Arafat
and Shimon Peres reached a secret agreement one month ago
concerning the division of Jerusalem.
The reported agreement is based on understandings reached prior
to that between Minister Yosi Beilin and senior PLO figure Abu
Mazzen, in which four Jerusalem neighborhoods will come under
Palestinian control: Shuafat and Beit Hanina (in northern
Jerusalem, near Pisgat Ze'ev), Sheikh Jarrah (opposite Maalot
Daphna), and Azzariyah (east of Mt. of Olives).
Peres and Arafat also agreed most of the Temple Mount will be under
Palestinian control. The report stated that an official
announcement was being postponed until after the Israeli elections.
The Religious Want Likud, But May Vote Labor
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
One of the main groups in a position to influence the outcome of
next week's Israeli election is Orthodox religious Jews, whose
parties are expected to retain the 16 seats they now have in the
120-member parliament. The three main Orthodox parties are
expected to be key power brokers in the coalition building which
will follow the May 29 vote.
Their impact on the day-to-day lives of the vast majority of
Israelis who are relatively not observant is minimal. But when
it comes to politics, the religious are organized and wield a
power many Israelis say is beyond their numbers. Some of the
religious people vote for mainstream parties of the right, center
or even the left. But in a country sharply, and roughly evenly,
divided between right and left on issues of economics, social
policy and peace, the religious parties are in a position to hold
the balance of power.
Rabbi Avraham Ravitz is a member of parliament from an
ultra-Orthodox coalition party called United Torah Judaism. "We do
have a position on the peace process, but we feel as a small party
that we have to bring up our specialty. Our specialty is not our
position on the peace process."
The "specialty" of the parties representing the black-robed
ultra-Orthodox is to obtain government funds for their schools
and other institutions, and to try to keep the generally secular
Israeli society as Jewish in outlook and practice as possible.
Ravitz says the religious parties prefer the right wing policies of
Prime Minister candidate Benjamin Netanyahu. But he says they
might be willing to accept the territorial compromises advocated by
Prime Minister Shimon Peres as long as he gives them what they
"The most important step that Mr. Peres did was that he said that
after he reaches an agreement, he will bring it to the referendum. By
saying so, I think he made it able for other parties, even if
they believe in the right wing ideas, in the national right wing
ideas, this makes them much easier to join a government like this."
That fact has not been missed by Labor Party strategists, such
as Interior Minister Haim Ramon. He is looking at the likely
balance of power in the parliament and the possibilities of Labor
joining with the more conservative religious parties to form a
This has been a problem in recent years because of the Labor
Party's peace policy. But this time, Ramon says, it will be
easier because for the first time Israelis will cast two ballots,
one for Prime Minister and another for the party they want to
represent them in parliament.
But there is one religious party which, although it shares the
ultra-Orthodox interest in promoting Judaism in Israel, also has
firmer views on the peace process. The National Religious Party,
representing more-modern Orthodox Jews, has in recent years taken
the position that territorial compromise with the Palestinians
would go against the will of God.
But one of the party's senior leaders, Yitzhak Mayer, says that
view is changing among many party members. "The party is very much,
I think, more moderate, even though it does have the hardline
wings. But things that happened in our midst here in Israel have
caused a lot of soul searching. And there is an attenuation of the
hardline stance that had been taken."
Mayer says the NRP's platform has been softened. He says that like
the ultra-Orthodox, it would prefer the right wing's version of
peace, with limited Palestinian autonomy. But he says it could
accept the left wing's plan, possibly including Palestinian
statehood, under the right conditions. That would include money
for religious causes, no changes in the power of the religious
hierarchy on social issues, and a peace policy which the religious
party leaders could justify as not placing Jews in danger.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)