Lawrence Cohler-Esses is a staff writer. James D. Besser is Washington correspondent.
Like Lucy holding out her football for Charlie Brown to kick again, President Clinton, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat once more raised the world’s expectations Monday for a breakthrough on their long-stalled peace agreement.
But when the three faced an expectant White House press corps after their meeting, Clinton again voiced the phrases heard so often before.
Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, a key architect of Israel’s breakthrough negotiations with the PLO in 1993 at Oslo, urged Palestinian leaders last week to stop insisting that Israel fully implement its most recent agreement with them, the Wye River Accord.
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat ultimately will have little choice but to accept Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s request to delay Israel’s hand-over of West Bank territory, a prominent Palestinian analyst predicted this week.
But, warned Ghassan Khatib, director of the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, “It will destroy the credibility, if any is left, of the Mideast peace process with the Palestinian public.”
Jerusalem — For more years than he cares to remember, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch and his movement, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, have been pressing Israel’s Interior Ministry to comply with the law.
But that law, which requires the ministry to accept and register as Jews immigrants who have converted to Judaism abroad, repeatedly has faced a harsh political reality:
Chai L’Yisrael, the cheaper of the two at $180 round trip from New York, is offering flights tied to the May 17 election for prime minister and parliament, the Knesset. The latter will decide the fate of the Orthodox religious parties.
Kesher’s round-trip flights are for an expected June 1 runoff between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud Party and Ehud Barak of the left-leaning One Israel Party. Kesher’s fares are $449 from New York and $649 from Los Angeles.
Nearly a half-million dollars raised in America for Israeli children by Likud fund-raisers cannot be properly accounted for, a joint investigation by The Jewish Week and the Israeli daily paper Haaretz has found.
The joint probe, which included scrutiny of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign financing, has found that some of the money in question — about $47,000 — was instead channeled directly to the Likud Party and other Israeli political causes.
Members of the Chabad chasidic sect danced in the streets Monday when one of its local activists emerged from an Israeli prison, where he had been imprisoned on suspicion of plotting an attack on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But in Brooklyn Monday, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chabad’s international director, was striving to put as much distance as possible between the organization and the activities of its Israeli members.
“I don’t know who he is,” said Rabbi Krinsky, “I’ve never heard of him.”
Al-Burg, West Bank — From her hilltop village of Al-Burj, located southwest of Hebron, Majida Talahmeh closely followed Israeli and Palestinian negotiators last month as they put the finishing touches on the Wye River Memorandum in the United States.
Like many Palestinians, Talahmeh, 27, worried about how a new agreement on security cooperation would affect the Palestinian people. Her family feels that it has already paid a heavy price for Israeli security demands.
Just outside of Ashkelon, on a huge expanse of land in Kiryat Gat, Intel, the U.S. computer chip giant, is building the single largest foreign investment in Israel’s history. Rising from the ground now at a quickening pace, Intel’s “Fab-18” plant will cost $1.6 billion to build. It will employ at least 1,500 people. And it is expected to generate about $1 billion per year in revenue once it opens, some time next year.
With the resignation of Foreign Minister David Levy from his government this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unsheathing his final, and perhaps strongest, weapon for staying in power: the opposition Labor Party.
Even as some among those remaining in his government threatened to bring it down if he ceded any more West Bank territory to Palestinian control, others vowed to do so if he did not.