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January 12, 1979 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-01-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


14 Friday, January 12, 1919


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Peace May Pose Tougher Problems Than War

This attempt at crystal
ball-gazing if made on the
premise that 1979 will be



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ter Yitzhak Modai, candidly
told a Jerusalem audience
last week that part of the
"price of peace" would be
three very tough years, in
economic terms, starting
with 1979.
Inflation, which topped
50 percent in 1978, is un-
likely to recede what with
the sums to be poured into
the work of rolling back
from Sinai and even more
significant, building the
eventual new defenses in
the Negev and the substi-
tute air bases there.
In the very first week of
the new year there were
ominous signs of new
labor unrest in the offing.
Histadrut demanded
cost-of-living compensa-
tion payment for salaried
persons with their
January wage checks.
With the inflation over
the last quarter of the old
year running at more
than five percent a
Month, the Histadrut
leaders contended that
workers could not wait
until April for their COL
increments. The govern-
ment and private em-
ployers, predictably,
balked at this.
Whatever level of Ameri-
can aid is eventually agreed
upon, it is already clear that
the economic burden on the
shoulders of every Israeli
breadwinner will grow even
heavier as a result of the
cost of peace and with-
In the long term, of
course, peace is likely to
bring investments and eco-
nomic prosperity. But 1979,
at any rate, and the years
immediately following, are
going to be hard for Israelig,
and Ehrlich deserves credit
at least for not seeking to
distort the hard truth.
The alleviation of the
threat of war may also bring
to the surface the religio-
secular ideological conflict
that has been simmering
beneath Israeli society vir-
tually since the state was
born. It is perhaps no coin-
cidence that a near-crisis in
the - coalition over theater
performances in Tel Aviv on
Friday nights came in the
first days of the new year.
The National Religious
Party threatened to bolt
the government when the
city of Tel Aviv agreed to
allow a municipal-owned
theater to schedule Fri-
day night performances.
The crisis was temporar-
ily averted when Mayor
Shlomo Lehat bowed to a
< personal plea from Begin
to cancel the permit for
Friday night perform-
It seemed to reflect a
pent-up determination in
secularist and religious
camps — now that peace
was at hand — to return to
the days of the open conflict
over the "status quo," days
that had been virtually for-
C r
gotten since the Yom Kip-
pur War because the years
since then have been taken
up with the weightier con-
siderations of war and
The peace, then, will

the year of peace with
Egypt. At the time of this
writing that happy condi-
tion is not yet secure. But
the indications, from
Jerusalem, Cairo and
Washington .increasingly
point to the three parties'
desire to revive the stalled
treaty negotiations and
wrap up the remaining,
relatively minor, points of
In any event, Israel's
economy is a major problem.
Finance Minister Simha
Ehrlich, presently fighting
for his political future
against a head-on attack
from fellow Liberal Minis-




bring on the oft-predicted
test and strain upon the fab-
ric and cohesion of Israeli
society, with religious and
secular foces inevitably
stepping up their efforts to
mold the still-developing
society after their own im-
To date these forces have
been held in check by the
exigencies of the ongoing
state of war. But with the
advent of peace, ideologies
and personalities can be ex-
pected to clash with "no
holds barred" and only time
will tell whether the Israeli
body politic is strong
enough and well-founded
enough to stand this buffet-
ing and emerge whole and
Most of the religious
and ideological struggles
that. certainly lie ahead
will be played out over a
period much longer than

one calendar year. But
one at least, that between
the Gush Emunim and
the legally constituted
power of the state, is
likely to come to -a head —
during , the next 12
months as the pullback
from Sinai becomes a
reality and the Palesti-
nian autonomy begins to
take shape.


To date, Premier Begin
has shown himself tougher
and more aware of thip
threat posed to democrac
by the Gush than his Labor
Party predecessor, Yitzhak
Rabin. If he continues to
stand up to the Gush during
the months ahead he will
have convincingly quashed
this challenge to the rule of
law in Israel and will have
set a useful precedent for
the challenges that lie

Likud MK Blames Carter
for Israel-Egypt Impasse

MK Abraham Sharir,
chairman of the Likud par-
liamentary faction, is
claiming that President
Carter was responsible for
Egypt's hardened position
on a peace treaty with Israel
and warned that if the
stalemated negotiations are
not resumed within two or
three weeks, the Middle
East will embark "on a long
crisis, the end of which is
hard to foresee."
Addressing a press con-
ference at the Israeli Consu
late here, Sharir said the

_Seek Negev Dig
Prior to Outpost

The Cabinet earmarked IL
10 million for an "emer-
gency archeological survey"
of the Negev in advance of
the projected new military
deployment there following
•peace with Egypt. The work
will be done under the aegis '
of the Education Ministry.
Officials explained that
Deputy Premier Yigael
Yadin, a leading ar-
cheologist, and a number of
- his academic and ministe-
rial colleagues feared that
archeological treasures
would be irretrievably
damaged or destroyed in the
course of constructing Is-
rael's new defense lines in
No such survey had ever
been undertaken in the
past, Cabinet Secretary
Arye Naor said.
Naor said the an-
nouncement did not sig-
nal new optimism over
the course of the still-
stalled peace talks with
Egypt. But, he said, the
"assumption" was that a
treaty would be signed
and thus the survey was a
matter of pressing
urgency. -
He explained that the
plans were to conduct quick
digs at key sites unearthed
by the survey to salvage as
much as possible that might
otherwise be • crushed
forevef by the bulldozers.

Egyptians hardened their
position as a result of
President Carter's "ex-
treme", siding with the Arab
cause. He said the U.S.
could play a positive role in
reviving the peace talks by
taking more balanced posi-
tions between the parties.
But Sharir, a member of
Likud's Liberal Party wing,
said nonetheless' thin the
feeling in the Knesset is
that a breakthrough will
soon be made in the stalled
Asked by reporters to
what this feeling could be
attributed, Sharir said
that Egypt and Israel
both went too far in
search of peace to go
back now. He noted that
Israel has agreed to de-
mands for changes in Ar-
ticle IV of the draft -treaty
calling for a review of the
military aspects after five
years. But he said that Is-
rael would not agree to a
target date for autonomy
on the West Bank and
Gaza Strip or to changes
in Article VI, the priority
of obligations clause.
The Israeli parliamenta-
rian, who is.. on a two-week
visit to meet American
media representatives and
U.S. officials, warned that
recent developments in the
Middle East, notably the
crisis in Iran, allowed the
Soviet Union to increase its
influence in the region.
He predicted that Saud
Arabia will be the next
Middle Eastern country to
face turmoil, this despite
the massive American mili-
tary build'-up there. "To
weaken Israel now will be a
grave mistake" on the part-
of the U.S., Sharir said.


A Low Profile

Israeli mission in Teheran
flies no flag nor has any
identifying signs on its
gates and outer walls.
Before rioting against the
Shah began, exports from
Israel to Iran had reached
the $100 million level.

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