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March 29, 1985 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-03-29

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

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NEWS

Senate 'Fast-Tracks'
Israel Free Trade Bill

Washington(JTA) — The re-
cently concluded U.S.-Israel Free
Trade Area (FTA) agreement ap-
pears to be headed toward its ex-
pected swift Congessional ap-
proval, as the Senate Finance
Committee this week rejected
proposed amendments to the pact.
Having turned down three
minor technical modifications,
the committee voted to begin con-
sultations with the House and
Administration on preparing
legislation in support of the pact
initialed by Israel and the United
States earlier this month.
The FTA provides for the
gradual elimination by both the
United States and Israel of tariffs
on goods traded between them.
According to the pact, duties on
items regarded as sensitive to im-
port competition will be phased
out more slowly than others, with
all tariffs and other trade barriers
to be eliminated within ten years.
Although Congress has already
given its approval to conclude the
agreement in principle through
its passage of the Tariff and Trade
Act in 1984, the pact itself must be
approved by both Houses of Con-
gress once final legislation is for-
mally introduced by the
President.
The 1984 legislation also stipu-
lates that the agreement would be
considered for approval by Con-
gress on an expedited basis. It was
this pledge to "fast track" the
President's bill through Congress
that provided the justification for
the committee's refusal to intro-
duce amendments, including one
by committee chairman Robert
Packwood (R-Ore.).

Packwood's amendment would
have authorized the President to
phase out tariffs on all goods
within ten years in accordance
with the agreement. The
President's version excluded cer-
tain import-sensitive items leav-
ing them to subsequent approval
by Congress. The House Ways and
Means Committee has already
adopted an amendment similar to
the one proposed by Packwood.
The clear indication given by
the majority of committee mem-
bers is that they would reject any
change that might delay the final
drafting and approval of the bill.
This caused some resentment on
the part of those seeking more ex-
tensive debate of the agreement
that might address concern about
the American textile and foot-
wear industries in particular, and
the timing for Israel's phasing out
subsidies on export goods.
If the understanding is that no
amendment can be made, George
Mitchell (D-Ma.) who introduced
one of the amendments, told the
committee, "then the consultation
process of this committee is an-
nulled, its a charade, its a farce."
But Packwood also defended the
swift consideration of the pact,
saying it was keeping with the
Congressional promise to fast-
track the bill.
Although some compromise is
expected on the exact wording of
the bill to be formally introduced
to the President, a staff member of
the Senate Finance committee
said the agreement was virtually
guaranteed swift Congressional
approval.

High Intermarriage Rate
Cuts French Population

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Paris (JTA) — From the mid-
1960s until now, more than 50
percent of French Jews who mar-
ried took a non-Jewish spouse, ac-
cording to a survey carried out by
the French National Research
Center and the Hebrew Univer-
sity's Institute of Demographic
Studies.
The 400-page study just re-
leased here by the National Re-
search Center, also found that
there are 535,000 Jews currently
living in France, about 200,000
fewer than previous estimates,
and that the average age of
French Jews is increasing.
The principal authors of the
study are Prof. Doris Bensinion of
Caen University, who is chief re-
search scientist at the National
Research Center, and Dr. Sergio
Dela Pergola, of the Hebrew Uni-
versity in Jerusalem. They re-
ported that the high rate of inter-
marriage "is particularly serious"
for the future of the Jewish com-
munity because 60 percent of the
Jewish partners in mixed mar-
riages are women.
The researchers noted that in
French society "it is the father
who is the dominant note in the
family's religious practices and
cultural options." They predicted
that there will be fewer Jewish
males available for marriage in

the years ahead, according to de-
mographic trends in France, and
that consequently an ever-larger
proportion. of Jewish women will
marry non-Jews.
On the basis of current demog-
raphic trends in Western Europe
as a whole, and especialy in the
European Jewish community, the
study predicts "at the best" a
stabilization of the French Jewish
community and probably a drop in
its numbers by the end of the cen-
tury. The French Jewish commu-
nity is the largest in Western
Europe.
Dela Pergola warned that the
community's average age will
continue to increase and this
aging process will affect the
number of active community
members. This factor must be
borne in mind by Jewish commu-
nity leaders and organizations
when they allocate resources and
lay the groundwork for educa-
tional institutions during the
next ten-15 years, Dela Pergola
wrote.
So far, community leaders have
had no comment on the study's
findings. Most lay and profes-
sional leaders said they have not
yet had an opportunity to
thoroughly study its hundreds of
pages and dozens of tables and
graphs.

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