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September 07, 1984 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-09-07

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



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Friday, September 7, 1984


Agreement nears on unity government







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Jerusalem (JTA) — Prospects
for a Labor-Likud unity govern-
ment, which had faded over the
weekend, brightened considera-
bly Wednesday following a meet-
ing between Premier Yitzhak
Shamir and Premier-Designate
Shimon Peres at Shamir's home.
Peres told reporters that all
problems relating to a unity gov-
ernment's policy platform had
been ironed out and that the two
leaders are now dealing with the
structure and composition of the
proposed new government.
Shamir, more circumspect,
stressed that "some formulation
work" was still needed. But he left
no doubt that a deal had been
At the Knesset, a Labor-Likud
working group of lawyers and
politicians haggled among them-
selves and with representatives of
their respective "satellite parties"
over the allocation of Cabinet
portfolios. To veteran political ob-
servers that activity was the
strongest proof that agreement
had been reached between
Shamir and Peres and a unity re-
gime is sure to emerge.
Political sources claimed that
the two leaders had reached
agreement on key issues: Labor
and Likud will each have ten
ministers in the unity Cabinet —
not 12 as originally proposed. The
remaining seats in what will
probably be a 24-member Cabinet
will be allocated to smaller par-
ties in a way that will not affect
the parity between Labor and
For example, if Shas, a new
religious faction allied with
Likud, is awarded a seat, a seat
will also go to Labor's ally, Shinui.
The Premiership will be held by
Peres for the first 25 months of the
new government's tenure with
Shamir serving as Deputy Pre-
mier and Foreign Minister. The
positions will be reversed during
the second half of the 50-month
period before the next scheduled
Laborite Yitzhak. Rabin will
serve as Defense Minister for the
full term of the government.
Likud will hold the Finance
Ministry, the Justice Ministry —
probably with incumbent Moshe
Nissim staying on — and the
Housing Ministry, apparently
with incumbent David Levy re-
maining in office for the full term.
Labor is to get the Education
Ministry, a portfolio believed
likely to go to former President
Yitzhak Navon, and the Ministry
of Agriculture. Labor sources said
Shamir agreed to this despite the
fact it is coveted by former De-
fense Minister Ariel Sharon as a
base for which to fight for more
settlements on the West Bank.
Problems surround the partici-
pation of the National Religious
Party, one of the strongest advo-
cates of a unity government,
which is credited with helping to
broker the deal between Labor
and Likud.
The NRP, with four Knesset
mandates, is demanding two
Cabinet seats. Both Labor and
Likud would prefer to limit it to
one. The NRP insists on keeping
the Religious Ministry which
Likud has pledged to Shas, also

with four Knesset seats, which
represents a Sephardic consti-
Shas leader Rabbi Yitzhak
Peretz said that his party was bet-
ter suited for the religious
portfolio than any other, "given
our political inexperience."
But the NRP's new strongman,
Rafael Ben-Natan, argued that
his party, with its close control of
the Chief Rabbinate, would main-
tain "national" doctrines and tra-
ditions whereas "others" would

Politicians haggled
among themselves
. . . over the
allocation of Cabinet
portfolios — the
strongest proof that
agreement had been
reached between
Shamir and Peres.

undermine them. He implied that
Shas was ideologically close to
anti-Zionist circles among
ultra-Orthodox Jews which have
traditionally opposed the Chief
Rabbinate as the nation's
spiritual authority.
Another problem with the NRP
is whether its minister will have
to be balanced b _ y a pro-Labor
minister, given the religious
party's hairline position on set-
tlements, which favors Likud pol-
That problem may be side-
stepped if it is resolved that ques-
tions relating to settlement ac-

tivity are to be dealt with by an
"inner cabinet" consisting
entirely of Labor and Likud
ministers. The inner group would
endeavor to reach consensus on
key policy issues before submit-
ting them to the full Cabinet. It
woad have eight to ten members.
The Agudat Israel party signed
the agreement it negotiated with
Likud last week, wresting from
the latter a rather weak commit-
ment to support religious legisla-
tion on such controversial issues
as "Who is a Jew?" and archeolog-
ical digs.
According to radio reports,
Likud pledged that all of its MKs
except a few individuals" would
back such legislation. Observers
pointed out that the precise
number of those "few" could de-
termine the fate of controversial
The ultra-nationalist Tehiya
Party, which won five seats in the
July 23 elections to emerge as the
third largest party in the Knesset,
reiterated Wednesday its deter-
mination to stay out of a unity
government because of what it al-
leged was a "sell-out" over settle-
Neeman, who is in Australia, an-
grily condemned the Labor-Likud
compromise on that issue in a
telephone message to his, party.
But the new right-wing religious
faction, Morasha, with two Knes-
sePseats, has proposed that it and
Tehiya join a unity coalition on
condition that the new govern-
ment's settlement policy is satis-
West Bank settlement activists
announced, meanwhile, that they
would go ahead with new settle-
ments in defiance of any restric-
tions that might be imposed by a
unity government.



`Wallenberg set for TV


Hollywood — Wallenberg now
will be brought to the screen as an
NBC-TV mini-series in two seg-
ments of two hours each, at a cost
of $6 million, produced by
Paramount in association with
Stonehenge Productions headed
by Dick Berg. The location work
will take place in Zagreb, Yugos-
lavia, replacing on the screen the
city of Budapest.
Written by Gerald Green,
author of television's Holocaust,
the story is based on the book, Lost
Hero, the Mystery of Raoul Wal-
lenberg, written by Thurston
Clarke, an American author, in
conjunction with Swedish-born
Rabbi Frederick E. Werbell who
received his masters' degree at
the Jewish Theological Seminary
of America. Richard Chamberlain
stars as Wallenberg.
The contemplated screen epic
deals with the tragic plight of
Raoul Wallenberg, an unassum-
ing young Swede who until the
spring of 1944 had been working
in Stockholm for an Hungarian-

owned export company when he
was approached by U.S. Ambas-
sador Ivar Olson on behalf of the
War Refugee Board set up at that
time, much too late, by President
Roosevelt basically upon insis-
tance of the Emergency Commit-
tee to Save the Jews of Europe.
Wallenberg, working closely
with the Jewish underground in
the Balkans, initiated a rescue
operation of giant proportions,
saving between 30,000 and
100,000 civilian men, women and
The film must end on a question
mark since no one really knows
whatever became of Wallenberg
after the Russians marched into
Hungary and arrested him under
the suspicion that he was an
American agent in the ensuing
Cold War. The account ends in the
latter part of January 1945. The
Soviets say he died in a Soviet
prison in 1947; other sources in-
sist he is still alive — as do his
half-brother and sister.

Copyright 1984, JTA, Inc.

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