The Israeli political landscape was rocked again this week with the surprise announcement from Ariel Sharon that he had reached a tentative agreement to bring the Likud Party of defeated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into the new coalition government.
Just last week, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Aryeh Deri, stunned the nation by giving up his post at the insistence of Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak. Barak had demanded that Deri, who was convicted in April of corruption, step aside before Shas could discuss joining his coalition.
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses and Michele Chabin |
Staff Writer and Israel Correspondent
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:
After two weeks of preliminary talks, Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak was to begin serious negotiations with political parties late this week to form the broad coalition government he promised. But before the talks began, Barak met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discussed the latest fighting in southern Lebanon.
King Abdullah of Jordan said his recent meeting with Hafez Assad has convinced him that the Syrian president is ready to sign a peace agreement with Israel.
"I believe that President Assad is very keen to move in the right direction and have a peace with Israel," he told The Jewish Week on Monday during the final leg of a 10-day visit to the United States. "I am very optimistic with the statements that are coming out of Damascus."
Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak’s efforts to assemble his “dream team” — a broad-based, unprecedented 96-member coalition government — got off to a rocky start this week when the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox Shas party rejected his demand for the resignation of its leader, Aryeh Deri.
“We won’t go crawling to any government,” said outgoing Interior Minister and Shas negotiator Eli Suissa. “Whoever wants us will get us as we are. We won’t be performing any cosmetic surgery in order to get into a coalition.”
James D. Besser |
The Clinton administration got part of what it wanted in Monday’s landslide defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the man they regard as most responsible for suffocating Mideast peace talks. But it will be weeks before they know if they got the rest — a quick jump-start to the stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and a possible resumption of talks with Syria.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.