Newsletter : 6fax0917.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Sept. 17, 1996 V4, #172
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Netanyahu Requests Minyan
Ten students of the Hesder Yeshiva in Kiryat Shmonah spent the Rosh
HaShanah holiday in the secular kibbutz Beit HaGoshrim. Such was
the request of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was vacationing there
with his family. Netanyahu wished to pray with a minyan (religious
quorum required for prayers), and to hear the sounding of the
Israel Wary of Syrian Moves in Lebanon
Prominent figures in diplomatic circles in Jerusalem are of the
opinion that Syria's President Assad is attempting to wage a
psychological war against Israel. They said that the redeployment
of 10,000 soldiers eastwards towards the Syrian-Lebanese-Israeli
border - the largest mobilization of Syrian troops on the Syrian
side of the Golan since the Yom Kippur War - is an attempt to
present before the Israeli public only two options: either a
full withdrawal from the Golan, or war.
The experts also note, however, that Syria fears that Israel will
not settle for military actions against Hizbullah, but will also
strike out at its Syrian sponsors. Middle East expert Yossi Olmert
Arutz-7, "Assad apparently feels that if he begins some sort of
military aggression, this would help him improve his negotiating
position. I don't think that we need to panic, but we must be
Prime Ministerial Holiday Quotes
In a pre-holiday interview with Kol Yisrael Radio, Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu was asked how he expects to make peace with
Syria, in light of Rabin's failure to do so even after offering
them the entire Golan.
Netanyahu's answer: "The previous government made concession after
concession, and therefore the Syrians thought that they could get
even more if they would just hold out a bit longer. Our government
handles negotiations differently."
On another issue, in an interview with Maariv newspaper, Netanyahu
said that he would never agree to give up vital assets for the sake
of our good relations with America. "Our friendship with the United
States is important, but Jerusalem and our security are more
UK Foreign Secretary Goes to Switzerland for Nazi Gold Meeting
By Gordon Martin (VOA-Geneva)
The past weeks have seen a growing international outcry over Swiss
failure to disclose the extent of holdings deposited in Swiss banks by
Jewish Holocaust victims or by the Nazi government and its
officials during World War 2. But on Monday, the Swiss government
promised more energetic action. In the half century since the end
of World War 2, investigators have carried out the hunt for gold
looted by Germany's Nazi government.
And there have been repeated accusations that Swiss bankers,
protected by secrecy laws, have stalled much of that gold, as
well as funds deposited by Jews who later became victims of the
After continued pressure from Jewish organizations, the Swiss
Bankers Association agreed to form with them a joint commission
to try to track down Jewish assets.
Former US Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Paul Volker has already
started work on this probe.
But last week, new impetus was given to the calls for an inquiry
into deposits made by Hitler's regime itself, with the publication
of a report by the British Foreign Office suggesting that most of
the Nazi gold, thought to have been held in Swiss banks at the end
of World War 2, might still be there.
That hoard would today be worth $7 billion.
Though the British report contained few new facts, its publication
triggered an outcry in the British press and elsewhere, and demands
the Swiss should disgorge far more than the $60 million worth they
agreed to hand over to the Allies, who waived all further claims in
Stung by the accusations, and by the bad publicity, Switzerland's
seven-member Federal Council, which runs the country, announced
monday that it was backing a plan to set up a commission of
inquiry, and to make any further foot tracking difficult.
If the draft bill is approved by Switzerland's two houses of
parliament, the commission will have the right to compel banks to
open their files.
The investigators will be required to keep the government regularly
informed of their progress, and their reports will be made public.
The commission will also be given a five-year deadline in which
to complete its work.
The Swiss Foreign Minister, Flavio Cotti, told a news conference
Monday that the government takes the latest allegations very
Switzerland had been accused of being a receiver of stolen property
for the Nazi regime. Cotti said "We must, therefore, either prove
our innocence, or admit our moral guilt."
On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind is due to
make a visit to Switzerland for talks with Cotti. Though the visit
was planned a long time ago, the Nazi gold affair will certainly
dominate their meeting.
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