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April 18, 1986 - Image 62

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-04-18

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

62 Friday, April 18, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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OBSERVATIONS

Americans Vote On Ties
With Israel: Too Tight?

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nomic and financial problems.
How far can the beleaguered
State of Israel, struggling to Israel received a. $2.6 billion
grant in (FY) 1985 and over $4
cope with an economic crisis,
billion in aid' for FY 1986."
caught in the divisive problem
Israel's present economic
of finding a solution to the
crisis, coming after "first 25
Palestinian question and the fu-
years of remarkable economic
ture of the occupied territories,
achievement," is attributed by
frustrated in its search for peace
with its neighbors and facing the Great Decisions syllabus in
tragic domestic differences on part to Israel's lowered prod-
uctivity and inadequacy of capi-
religious issues, count on the
tal investment. The syllabus,
continued support and sympathy
written before the effects of Is-
of the American public?
rael's current anti-inflation re-
That question is about to be
forms became evident, points
put to the test in the largest
sampling of informed American
opinion on the question ever
undertaken. Some 250,000
Americans, all of them so deeply
since 1973,
r
concerned with foreign affairs
Israel has looked to
that they are participating in a
series of eight seminars on the
the U.S. for
major foreign policy decisions
substantial
military
confronting the United States,
will be asked to express their
and economic
views on specific issues involved
assistance . . . which
in the American-Israeli rela-
tionship.
has enabled the
The poll is being conducted by
the Foreign Policy Association,
government to
'the country's oldest non-partisan
postpone necessary
organization devoted to citizen.
education in world affairs. The
but unpopular
seminars are being held in cities
measures to deal
across the country under the
sponsorship of local FPA chap-
with its economic
ters, universities, civic groups
and newpapers for the 32nd con-•
and financial
se,cutive year.
problems.'
More than 80,000 participants
in the great Decisions program
last year cast ballots after par-
ticipating in the seminars. The
results of this year's poll will be
out that:"subsidies and social
announced in July and reported
welfare payments consume one-
to the White House and De-
third of Israel's GNP." It also
partment of State.
notes a "brain drain'. as young,
"Israel and the U.S. share a
educated Israelis seek better pay
commitment to democracy and
and lower taxes abroad while
ethical and social values," the
immigration into Israel has al-
Great Decisions briefing book
most stopped.
points out. "They also have an
Although many Americans be-
interest in building peace in the
Middle East between Israel and lieve that supporting Israel is in
its Arab neighbors and in keep- the best interest of the U.S.,"
ing Soviet and radical Arab the handbook notes, "others
influence from growing in the question the level of its support
and its effect on others in the
region.' Since Israel's birth in
1948, the two countries have region — especially at a time
when the U.S. is facing large de-
maintained a close political,
ficits of its own and is increas-
economic and military relation-
ingly reluctant to spend more on
ship which has survived periods
of occasionally sharp disagree- foreign aid. There are strains in
the relationship. Are they seri-
ment."
It notes, too, that "many ous?" it asks. ,"Should the U.S.
American Jews and non-Jews re-examine its policy?"
Participants in the Great De-
alike have a sense of moral
commitment toward Israel be- cisions seminars are expected to
cause it is a democracy and be- answer related questions after
cause of what Jews suffered at discussion of the history of Is-
the hands of the Nazis during rael contained in the syllabus, a
World War II. The U.S. has the rundown,on American-Jsraeli re-
largest Jewish community in lations an extensive review of
the world — six million
the Israeli economy, an
which, although under three encapsulated survey of the his-
percent of the population, has a tory of Arab-Israeli relations
strong religious commitment to and an overview of Israel's place
Israel and is politically active."
in the world.
The handbook points out that
On American economic and
"since 1973, Israel has looked to military policy toward Israel,
the U.S. for substantial military the ballot asks the participants
and economic assistance. This to vote on two issues; American
assistance has helped bolster Is- economic and military policy
rael's defenses and balance of. toward Israel and on the future
payments, but' it has also role of the United States in the
enabled the government to post- Arab-Isiaeli peace process.
pone necessary but unpopular
On the former, the Voter is
measures to deal with its eco- asked to express the extent of

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