Newsletter : 6fax0618.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
June 18, 1996 V4, #108
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Temple Mount Prayer in Gov't Guidelines
The fundamental guidelines of the new government contain a clause
concerning Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. It reads, "The
government will work towards arranging the prayer of Jews according
to Halacha in all of the holy sites." Arutz-7's correspondent
reports the original draft specifically mentioned the Temple Mount,
but at the last second the Likud heads hesitated and decided upon
a more general formulation.
Netanyahu Presents Cabinet This Morning
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to
present his Cabinet and policies for a vote of confidence in
parliament at 10 a.m. EDT. Even as Netanyahu concluded negotiations
with coalition partners Monday, he was still facing serious
disputes about cabinet portfolios within his own party.
The leader of the new immigrant party, Natan Sharansky, told
Israeli television, "We're inside." The leader of one of the
parties representing religious Jews said, "We have an arrangement."
With those few words, it became clear Monday that the prime
minister-elect had concluded negotiations on Cabinet posts and
policy statements and had formed a six-party coalition which would
win a vote of confidence today.
But within his own Likud Party, conflict raged. Senior party
members, including former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, complained
that the best Cabinet jobs had gone to the coalition partners and
that they were left with insulting offers to head minor ministries.
To placate them, Netanyahu was facing the prospect of withdrawing
offers of Cabinet posts he reportedly made to a top attorney and
the head of the Israeli Central Bank, as part of his desire to
create a government of experts. He also had fewer Cabinet
positions left to fill than he had senior colleagues and personal
loyalists to satisfy.
14th Knesset Convenes in Jerusalem
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's new parliament convened for the first time Monday. Large
blocs representing religious Jews and new immigrants joined
right-wing politicians to form a more conservative legislative body
than Israel has had in recent years.
Israeli President Ezer Weizman pounded the gavel and called
Israel's 14th parliament to order. He thanked the outgoing
government for its work, and welcomed the new government. But the
government Benjamin Netanyahu was elected to lead will not be
ready to take office until today.
Outgoing Prime Minister Shimon Peres delivered a farewell speech,
in which he said peace is within Israel's grasp and can be made a
reality. The 73-year-old Peres was given the task of reading the
oath of office on behalf of all the parliament members.
Then, the parliament secretary read the names of all 120 members,
and each answered "I promise."
When the new government is formed today, he will become leader of
the opposition. Peres told the new parliament, with its majority of
right-wing legislators, peace is within their grasp, and he urged
them to make it a reality.
The prime minister also spoke of his 49-years of service. It dates
back to before Israeli statehood -- during which, he said, he has
seen the dreams of the country's founding fathers become pale and
small compared to the reality of modern Israel.
Peres spoke of the country's political, economic, cultural, and
social progress. He said today's Israelis have the chance to
fulfill the last remaining goal of Zionism -- peaceful coexistence
with their neighbors.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner has said he will reveal his plans
after the new government takes office. He could serve as
opposition leader, or he could give that task to someone else.
He could retire from the parliament completely. Peres has declined
to give any hints, other than to say he will continue to work for
peace wherever he is.
Among those taking the oath for the first time was the former
Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, who leads a new party made up
mainly of recent immigrants. Just minutes before the parliament
meeting, Sharansky announced that his party had agreed to join
Netanyahu's coalition, bringing it seven votes in parliament and
putting him over the required majority of 61.
The smallest of the three parties representing religious Jews also
joined at the last minute, giving Israelis a new government
expected to lead the country in a more conservative direction --
with more privatization of the economy, more influence on Israeli
society by religious Jews and a slower, less-compromising approach
in the Middle East peace process.
Netanyahu took the oath as a parliament member for only the second
time. He will present his government program today, along with the
members of his Cabinet. Policy drafts made public in recent days
include clauses calling for the continuation of the peace process,
but also taking a tough stance on such issues as the Golan Heights,
Jerusalem, Palestinian statehood and Israeli settlements in
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