Newsletter : 7fax0620.txt
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>JN June 20, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 111
Egypt Says it will Continue Peace Initiative
By Douglas Roberts (VOA-Cairo)
Egyptian officials acknowledge they have made no progress in
efforts to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
While hoping for a new initiative from the United States, the Cairo
government is also seeking further diplomatic backing from key
European governments. Egypt launched its diplomatic effort to break
the stalemate in the peace process several-weeks ago.
Presidential advisor Osama al-Baz travelled to Jerusalem and Gaza,
seeking ways to bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the
Baz has since hosted a string of separate meetings with
representatives from the two sides here in Cairo -- most recently
on Wednesday, when Israeli Cabinet Secretary Dani Naveh spent three
hours with the Egyptian official.
In a frank and glum account of the diplomatic effort, Foreign
Minister Amr Moussa told the newspaper "Al-Ahram" Thursday Cairo's
initiative has produced no results. The gap between the two sides
remains very wide, he said, blaming Israel for the continued
There has been some speculation Cairo will soon abandon its
initiative. But in Thursday's newspaper interview, Moussa said
Egypt will continue its effort to salvage the peace process.
Two Women Married by Rabbi in Tel Aviv
Haaretz reported Thursday that Reform Rabbi David Ariel-Yoel,
of the Harel synagogue in Jerusalem, performed a wedding ceremony
between two women at a Tel Aviv catering hall.
The women each wore evening gowns and carried floral bouquets. A
tallit was raised over the couple to serve as a chupah. They signed
a marriage contract in the presence of witnesses, and exchanged
vows and rings. The rabbi then invoked a priestly blessing.
Ariel-Yoel told the daily newspaper that it was the first time he
had performed a wedding for a lesbian couple. He said he decided to
perform the ceremony because he felt it was important that Jewish
couples mark their union with some sort of religious ceremony,
"In my eyes this was certainly a wedding, and if...these women ever
choose to separate, they will have to do this through a ceremony
with religious context."
AJC Poll: U.S. Jews Still Anxious About Anti-Semitism
An American Jewish Committee survey shows that US Jews have an
"ongoing sense of anxiety" about anti-Semitism. A majority of US
Jews believe anti-Semitism is a greater threat to Jewish life in
America than intermarriage. However, of the 61 percent of
respondents who selected anti-Semitism as a greater threat, 82
percent of them were intermarried.
The 1997 annual survey of American Jewish Opinion found that 61
percent of American Jews said they supported the "Netanyahu
government's current handling of the peace negotiations with the
The AJC said the February survey of 1,160 adults was taken after
the Netanyahu government signed the Hebron agreement, transferring
most of the West Bank city to the Palestinians. But was taken
before the controversy over construction of a Jewish housing
project at Har Homa in Jerusalem.
AJCommittee's director of research, David Singer, said the main
finding of the survey is the Jewish perception of anti-Semitism.
- 95 percent of American Jews believe that anti-Semitism in
the United States is either a "very serious problem" or "somewhat
of a problem."
- Jews perceive the religious right and Muslims as the most
anti- Semitic groups.
The study, released this week, found that:
- 74 percent of those who identified themselves as Reform Jews
and 75 percent of those who said they were "just Jewish" answered
that intermarriage was less of a threat than anti-Semitism.
- The view that anti-Semitism was a problem was more prevalent
among those who are older, have lower incomes or have less
Forty-three to 44 percent of respondents over 40 years old
said anti-Semitism is "a very serious problem," compared with 34
percent of those under 40.
In terms of income, 52 percent of those who make less than
$30,000 backed that view, compared with 36 percent of those who
make more than $50,000.
On questions related to Jewish identity, 47 percent of those
surveyed said that "being part of the Jewish people" was most
important to their Jewish identity; 18 percent said "social
justice" was; 16 percent cited "religious observance."
Seventy-one percent of American Jews said celebration of the
Jewish holidays was "extremely important" or "very important."
The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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