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>Israel Faxx
>JN Jan. 21, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 11

Arafat to be VIP at Holocaust Museum

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has reversed itself and is now prepared to invite Yasir Arafat to a VIP tour escorted by the museum's two top-ranking officials. After the museum refused to invite Arafat as a VIP, tremendous pressure was applied by officials from the American government. In response to the proposed visit, Israeli Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh said that it was a cynical maneuver by Arafat solely for political advantage.

Netanyahu-Clinton Meet in Washington

By David Gollust (VOA-White House)

President Clinton held talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he began an effort to re-start the stalled Middle East peace process. Netanyahu's visit came amid reports of strain in his relationship with Clinton and US frustration over his approach to peace-making. But after the 90-minute meeting, there were positive comments from both sides about the tone and substance of the discussions.

The prime minister said he did not consider the low-key arrangements for the talks a snub and that he and Clinton had a detailed discussion of key issues -- including the long-delayed next phase of Israeli troop withdrawals from the West Bank.

"I explained our security concerns, but equally our willingness to make that redeployment subject to our security concerns, and of course seeing that measure of Palestinian compliance which has been lacking so far. What we have talked about, I think, is the attempt to achieve an overall package, that in addition to the specific steps would be a package of goodwill. The goodwill is there. The pieces are there. We're trying to put them together and we're making a real effort to do so."

McCurry said it would be misleading to say that the president had presented a comprehensive US proposal, and that how close the two sides might be to progress depends on the outcome of Thursday's Clinton-Arafat meeting.

Clinton's meeting with Netanyahu was the only one of their schedule, but the spokesman left open the possibility of another session before the Israeli leader left Washington. He said there was no planning for a three-way session including Arafat.

Christian Evangelists Praise Netanyahu

By Nick Simeone (VOA-Washington)

The American visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu follows months of strained relations between the US and Israeli leaders over the stalled peace process. Late last year, while both men were in Los Angeles, President Clinton was unable to find time to meet Netanyahu, a gesture that was widely seen as a snub. This time, Netanyahu appears to have tried to send the White House a message -- by meeting with some of the president's most vocal opponents just minutes after arriving in the United States.

The White House says it is not upset by the Israeli leader's decision to meet with some of Clinton's most vocal political opponents. As soon as he arrived in the United States Monday, he attended a welcoming rally by a group of conservative Christians and Jews. One of the leaders of the rally was Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Christian evangelical group "The Moral Majority." Most of Falwell's followers do not support Clinton and tend to vote Republican.

"Israel has only one really dependable community of friends outside the Jewish community and that is the evangelical community. We stand solidly with Israel in these matters. We believe that Netanyahu is the Ronald Reagan of Israel. He's a man of courage and conviction and not since (former Prime Minister Menachem) Begin has Israel had the kind of solid leadership she has right now."

American Jews are divided over Israeli policies in the peace process. Falwell believes evangelical Christians have now become Israel's more reliable friends. The warm embrace the prime minister received from a ballroom full of Falwell's followers may have been a not-so-subtle gesture aimed at the White House.

"We told the prime minister that there are millions of us who do not believe the president is right, as a matter of fact, think he is very wrong (in pressing Israel to be more conciliatory in the peace process). He literally gave a cold shoulder to the prime minister earlier, while showing great support for and friendship with Yasir Arafat."

Chabad Women Upset Hadassah Hospital Employees

By IINS News Service

Officials of the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus say the weekly Friday visits made to the sick by the Chabad/Lubavitch Women's organization, has upset many patients.

The women, who hand out candles for the Sabbath and try to assist those who will remain hospitalized over the Sabbath, also distribute the nationally published "Sichot Hashavua" printed by Chabad. The hospital officials stated the printed handout contains political matter and is therefore unacceptable.

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