Washington — Ehud Barak, the general-turned-politician who hopes to lead Israel’s Labor Party out of the wilderness, tried out some of the themes that will drive his campaign for the post of prime minister this week during his first high-profile visit to the capital.
The battered peace process and Barak’s view that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is damaging Israel’s security by allowing it to languish were at the top of his agenda.
Seeing an area of unrealized potential, Israeli firms and trade officials are preparing a major push in marketing biotechnology partnerships with American companies. “Israel has tremendous potential in life sciences,” said David Rubin, Israel’s trade envoy to North America at a recent Manhattan conference exploring cooperative ventures. “We have the scientists and the means to do the work. In the next five to 10 years, we can capture a larger share of the international market.”
In a major move to strengthen waning Israeli-diaspora relations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans for the first time to include a separate line in next year’s budget to help foster Jewish education overseas.
Netanyahu revealed his intentions in a June 23 meeting with leaders of the Jewish Agency, Trade Minister Natan Sharansky and Charles Goodman, former president of the Council of Jewish Federations, according to his diaspora affairs adviser, Bobby Brown.
Calling it a “real victory for the community,” the chief operating officer of UJA-Federation of New York announced that the 1998 annual campaign that ended June 30 had raised $123 million, a record $6 million more than the previous year.
“The record campaign, while certainly helped by a strong economy, also reflects a renewed commitment to the importance of the annual campaign and to federated giving,” said the official, John Ruskay. The $123 million figure represents a gain of 5 percent over last year.