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July 20, 1984 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-07-20

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

14 Friday, July 20, 1984


'TV debate

No magic

(Continued from previous page)

by Sarah Honig

FOR A WHILE last week it
appeared that the election'campaign
was heating up. But it soon trans-
pired that despite all the smoke, no
real fire was burning.,
The television debate between
Mr. Shamir and Mr. Peres did not do
anything to heat things up, with both
on their best, image-conscious, be-
Outdoor rallies and street-corner
happenings this time are not what
they used to be, and without
Menachem Begin, the Likud lacks
sparkle and Labour lacks his chal-
The only refuge for the incurable
political addict is the television
election spots.
But night after night there are only
frustrated expectations. The Align-
ment seems to be determined to
sleepwalk the voters to the polls on
July 23, and the Likud is still sear-
, ching for a magic formula that would
wake up many of the same voters.
So just as the Likud will be alert to
pounce on any Labour mishaps,
Labour will be careful to avoid them.
All this sounds like a sure recipe
for maintaining the campaign at low
key to the end. But that is not
necessarily so. Unpredictability is
always a factor.
The Likud certainly sorely needs
high drama to catch up with Labour.
But there are no signs that Likud
leaders have a dramatic surprise up
• their sleeve.

Begin: will he talk?

If Begin would come out of seclu-
sion long enough to tape even a radio
message for his party, or issue an
appeal to the voters in writing, it
could be of real value to the Likud.
This is what Likud leaders fervently
hope to see.
The Likud, like Labour, is neg-
lecting some of its old party faithful.
And like Labour, it has targeted very
little of its campaign on the middle-
class Ashkenazi vote;
Just as Labour might lose precious
votes to Shinui, so the Likud might
lose even less affordable votes to
The intelligentsia and the diehards
may possibly defect to the Yuval
Ne'eman-Rafael Eitan banner. The
Likud, therefore, must make more
use of Defence Minister Moshe
Arens for the middle-class vote and
of his fiery predeceor, Ariel Sharon",
as an antidote to Raful.

SHARON HAS NOT been put in
political cold storage, a's some obser-
vers insist: Despite hostility to him

even in the Likud, he is seen as one
of Likud's bigger vote-getters. His
television appearances have been
few, simply because he has lost his
He is a tireless campaigner, who,
despite little love for him at Likud
headquarters, does four or five daily
solo electioneering jobs at one mar-
ketplace or another.
Sharon's television campaign de-
but may add some ferment to the
situation, though not of the sort the
Likud strategists would necessarily
Another potential source of ex-
citement which the Likud would de-
finitely not welcome is the publica-
tion of the latest cost-of-living index.
This blow, in the last week of the
campaign, may be a bad one for the
Likud, and its leaders thus far admit
they don't know how they will deal
with this potential disaster, almost
on the eve of the polling day.

happen, all that might be expected is
a slight additional closing of the gap
between the two large parties - a
process which, to some extent, is
The question is whether this will
be enough for the Likud considering
that in 1981, with Begin and minus
the Lebanon War and current infla-
tion figures, the party had only a
razor-thin advantage over Labour.

The writer is the political reporter of

The Jerusalem Post.

made tremendous investments in in-
dustrial infrastructure and social
amenities, and had ensured employ-
ment. Because of local and external
developments, he said, the economy
was confronted by three problems:
inflation, the balance of payments
deficit and reduced growth.
On the question of security, I he
candidates were asked to state under
what conditions they believed the
IDF can be withdrawn from Leba-
non, and how they would deal with
the eastern front, the Syrian danger
and continued terrorist operations.
Shamir said that the IDF will he
withdrawn from Lebanon only when
the conditions are right: a secure
northern border and certainty that
the terrorists will not return to South
Lebanon. The government's policy,
he said, is to support the develop-
ment of the South Lebanon Army
(SLA) and to come to agreements
with the local population. He aver-
red that progress is being achieved
and that General Antoine Lahad's
SLA is increasing the amount of
territory under its control. But he t
stressed that, "we can't set time-
tables for a withdrawal."
Massive settlement and opposi-
tion to a Palestinian state, Shamir
said, will guarantee security on the
eastern front, and Israel's military
strength and preparedness will pre-
vent Syrian provocation.
Peres responded that "anybody
listening would believe that the
country began seven years ago" -
whereas, in fact, the IDF is 36 years
old. The strengthening of the IDF is
the Alignment's primary task, Peres
said, pointing to his own role in the

development of the defence indus-
The Alignment will ensure that
Israel Res within defensible bor-
ders, he said. "We pushed Jordan
out of the West Bank and we will not
permit a single Arab soldier to en-
ter... We pushed the Syrian artillery
out of the Golan and they will not be
allowed to return."
Finally, the candidates were asked
to state their personal credos; to
describe what sort of government
they would like to see. "You (the
Likud) learned to make mistakes .;
we learned from our mistakes," •
Peres said. The Alignment listens to
the voice of the people and knows
that the nation is tired of war, he
He said that high-technology in-
dustries would be built throughout
the country, in particular develop-
ment towns. The country, he said,
must live from production, not from
"U.S. handouts." Peres concluded
by saying that he believes that peace
and security can be combined. "I
believe in a country living in peace
with itself and with others."
Shamir saw three main tasks the-
t)ing the next government: to bring
more Jews to Israel - he mentioned
the figure of one million -.to ensure
the unity of the nation, and to free
the country from economic weak-
ness. Unity demands a strong gov-
ernment and action against the
"irresponsible elements" contribut-
ing to the "collapse" of parliament,
he said.
Shamir stressed that he believed
economic weakness had dogged the
country from its inception. He said
that Israel must use its potential to
build a developed, Western country
based on advanced technology.

Settlements,. Hussein are campaign topics

Jerusalem (JTA) — Former Israeli Premier Yitzhak
Rabin and Defense Minister Moshe Arens, the man Rabin
would replace if Labor wins the elections next. Monday,
debated future policy with respect to Jordan and Lebanon
before a capacity audience in a Jerusalem theater Satur-
Rabin thought that Israel should offer territorial con-
cessions to induce King Hussein of Jordan to join the peace
process. Arens believed it was a mistake to announce a
willingness for concessions in advance of negotiations.
Otherwise, the two were not very far apart. Although
Labor has been pressing the "Jordanian option" for years,
Rabin conceded that in the event the next government is
headed by Labor there is no guarantee that Hussein would
enter negotiations.
He said a Labor government would never give up
Israel's security line along the Jordan River and a 30-
kilometer-deep stretch parallel to that line. But he pre-
ferred that Jordan police the heavily Arab populated hin-
terland of the West Bank.
- "They know better than us how to deal with this,"
Rabin said, recalling that 14 years ago "he indirectly as-
sisted Hussein to crush the PLO and he did just that and
since then there is quiet along the border, mainly thanks to
preventive measures by the Jordanian army."
Arens said the Likud government was ready to
negotiate with Hussein "without preconditions." The prob-
lem, he said, is not what Israel is willing to give up but
Hussein's refusal to sit down and talk. "He is not prepared
to take the slightest risk," Arens said.
The Israel election campaign was marred by serious
rowdyism for the first time late last week. Shimon Peres
was harassed at a Labor-rally in Ramat Sharon near Tel
Aviv when pro-Likud youths took up the chant "Begin,
Begin" in an attempt to drown out his speech. Rabin
encountered the same outcry during a campaign appear-
ance in a movie house in Kiryat Shmona on the Lebanese
border. There the hecklers also chanted "David, King of
Israel," a reference to Deputy Premier David Levy who,
like many residents of Kiryat Shmona, is Sephardic.
Kiryat Shmona residents, for years the target of ter-
rorist rocket attacks from Lebanon, are extremely sensitive
to the issue of security. Rabin took pains to distinguish the
original "Operation Peace for Galilee" in June, 1982, which
the Labor Pary supported, from the incursion by Israeli
forces all the way to Beirut, an extension of the war that he

proclaimed ill-advised and "devisive."
Enthusiastic Laborites in the front rows applauded the
former Premir but the hecklers in the rear shouted their
imprecations more loudly. Scuffles broke out and a large
force of police intervened. Six youngsters were hauled off to
the local jail and kept there until Rabin left town.
Peres ran into trouble during his evening visit to the
religious settlements of the Gush Etzion bloc between
Bethlehem and Hebron. He was harassed there by suppor-
ters of Likud, Tehiya and the Kach Party who seemed
intent on provoking fist fights with his security men.
Peres managed to hold a serious dialogue with Gush
Etzion residents. He recalled that this bloc of settlements,
founded before 1948, abandoned during Israel's War of
Independence and re-established in 1967, was always sup-
ported by Labor governments and considered part of Israel.
But the residents were clearly unhappy with his remarks
about other areas of Jewish settlement on the West Bank.
Peres and Rabin have made it clear in the campaign
that a Labor govenment would drastically cut back settle-
ment activity in, the heartland of the Judaea and Samaria
districts for budgetary, security and political reasons. The
Laborites believe Israel's security would be best served by
settlements along the Jordan River and in the environs of
Jerusalem, avoiding the heavily Arab populated regions
which Likud seems intent on colonizing with Jews.
The Ministerial Settlement Committee on Sunday ap-
proved a burst of activity on the West Bank, culminating
with the establishment of nine new settlements in the
territory by Sunday, the day before election day.
The infrastructure for most of the nine has already
been built.
The Labor Alignment accused the government of play-
ing politics with a serious, sensitive and divisive issue. It
has complained to the Central Elections Committee that
the ceremonial inaugurations of the new settlements re-
present the use of public funds for electioneering purposes.
.Zeev Ben-Yosef, a senior official of the World Zionist
Organization's settlement department denied that the rul-
ing Likud Party was trying to make political capital. Sup-
reme Court Justice Gavriel Bach, chairman of the Central
Elections Committee, warned however that if the cere-
monies were used for electioneering, he would ban the use
of government funds for the purpose.
During the past month, the Likud government has
invested some 500 million Shekels ($2 million) in nine

"outposts" in the occupied territories, each the nucleus of a
settlement. Roads have been built, electric power and
water lines have been laid and 15 pre-fabricated housing
units were trucked in.
The new settlement drive led to an angry exchange
between the co-chairmen of the- WZO settlement depart-
ment, Likud MK Mattityahu Drobless and Laborite Nissim
Zvilli, who succeeded veteran settlement expert
Raanan Weitz on his retirement last month, charged that
only three of the nine new settlements had been allotted
funds. The rest Were financed from the regular operations
budget, at the expense of other projects. He said moreover,
that the decision to lay down nine new settlements by
election day was taken without his knowledge.
Drobless insisted that his duty was to establish as
many settlements as possible and that he had violated no -
regulations or exceeded his authority.
Former Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, running for
election at the head of his new Yahad party, told an election
rally at Herzliya that Jewish settlements on the West Bank
were a defense liability, not an asset. In case of emergency,
the Israel Defense Force would have to protect them, he
said and in any case they were not a national priority.
In New York, a Labor victory in the Israeli elections
was described as an essential but iwonclusive step towards
an Arab-Israeli peace, according, to speakers at a Peace
Now - sponsored disussion.
"Though Labor may know the way to peace," it is "far
from certain" that Labor can muster the political will
needed to follow its path, said Dr. Leonard Fein, founder,
editor and publisher of Moment magazine, one of three
speakers at Hebrew Union College last week.
American-born Peace Now activist Galia Golan, a pro-
fessor of political science at Hebrew University, said the
Israeli peace moveent's immediate task is to defeat Likud
in the July 23 elections. She and the other speakers con-
demned Likud for creating "poisonous" and "tragic" di-
visions in Israeli society.
Golan said that after Labor is installed, Shalom
Achshav, as Peace Now is called in Israel, must "act as the
voice of the public" to counter expected heavy opposition
and to encourage Labor to begian negotiations based on
territorial compromise. She hopes that what she called •
Labor's "hawkish" West Bank stance turns out to be only
an election ploy.

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