Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah terrorists in southern Lebanon moved from the battlefield to the political arena this week.
Ehud Barak, the Labor Party candidate seeking to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the May 17 elections, vowed to withdraw Israeli troops from Lebanon by June 2000, within the context of negotiations with Syria. Netanyahu, whose Likud Party at first chastised Barak for turning the issue into a “simplistic election gimmick,” later came close to matching Barak’s pledge.
After three years of postponement, Israel’s High Court of Justice finally convened this week to consider the validity of two non-Orthodox conversions in Israel — and immediately sought to sidestep the issue.
At the very start of the nearly three-hour hour session, Supreme Court President Aaron Barak surprised the plaintiffs with this question: would they be content having the state recognize the nationality of the two adopted children as Jewish, but leave their religious status blank?
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses
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.
Jordan’s King Hussein was similar to Alabama’s George Wallace, a man whose brutal leadership gave way to penance and reconciliation. But when Wallace died, the media trotted out the horrific film clips revealing the indignities he wrought in the early 1960s. When the king died, however, there was little, if any, accounting the king’s equally horrific history in those very same years.
Even before King Hussein’s death Sunday, his eldest son and successor was mending fences with old foes and reassuring friends like Israel and the United States of Jordan’s continued close ties and commitment to Middle East peace.
But without the political acumen and moral suasion of his father, King Abdullah, 37, is expected to face formidable challenges as he tries to maneuver Jordan among the conflicting forces that make up this highly volatile region.
Former Defense Minister Yitzchak Mordechai was not “fully aware of the impact” of his Knesset vote last week in favor of a bill designed to keep Reform and Conservative representatives off of Israel’s religious councils, according to his running mate on the new centrist party.
“He was not aware,” insisted former Israeli Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak in an interview here with The Jewish Week just hours after he called Mordechai for an explanation.