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July 11, 1986 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-07-11

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'88 Hopefuls On The
Campaign Wail — In Israel

Hart, Kemp and Bush are slated to
visit Israel this month

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Friday, July 11, 1986

Daily 10:00-5, Thurs. till 8
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he best evidence is that
the '88 Presidential elec-
tion campaign is well
well underway is that the major
presidential hopefuls are lining
up to visit Israel.
Democratic Senator Gary
Hart of Colorado was visiting
Israel this week, following brief
visits to Jordan and Egypt. In
Israel, Hart was meeting with
the top leadership. A strong sup-
porter of Israel with a virtually
perfect voting record to back it
up, Hart can be expected to
reiterate a down-the-line, pro-
Israel stance during the upcom-
ing campaign.
Later this month, Republican
Congressman Jack Kemp of
New York, widely regarded as a
great friend, will travel to Israel
to witness the official "rollout"
ceremony of the new Lavi jet
fighter. Kemp was among those
lawmakers who pressed hardest
to make sure that Israel could
use some of its U.S. military
assistance for the research and
development of the Lavi, both in
the United States as well as in
Israel. He has been in the fore-
front in strengthening U.S:
Israeli ties in a whole host of
other issues as well.
And at the end of July, Vice
President George Bush will pay
an official visit to Israel, Egypt
and Jordan. He was invited to
Israel by Prime Minister Shi-
mon Peres earlier this year. The
Vice President's aides are at-
taching considerable political
importance to his visit to Israel.
They know that Bush is not
widely perceived in the Jewish
community as especially pro-
Israel even though the Vice
President was personally in-
volved in authorizing the use of
U.S. military transport planes to
rescue Ethiopian Jewish ref-
ugees stranded in the Sudan
nearly two years ago.
All three politicians will be
warmly welcomed in Israel — as
they should be. They are among
the most influential people in
Washington, anyone of whom
could realistically emerge as
President one day. What they
see and hear in Israel could, of
course, make a big difference in
shaping their personal attitudes
toward the entire Middle East
Hart, right now, is the front-
runner for his party's presiden-
tial nomination in 1988. He has
already announced that he will
not seek re-election to the Senate
this year in order to devote all of
his energies to the campaign
toward the White House.
Despite his loss to Walter
Mondale in 1984, Hart emerged
from the primaries in surprising-

ly strong shape. He has just
delivered a series of carefully-
prepared lectures on American
foreign policy, focusing largely
on the superpower confronta-
tion, which were widely praised
for their vision. Even some
critics welcomed his points.
Bush, of course, is currently
ahead of the other Republicans
jockeying to succeed President
Ronald Reagan. It is, they say,
his nomination to lose. But he
carries with him some excess
political baggage.
For one thing, the conser-
vatives in the Republican Party
— a very influential block — con-
sider him too "centrist" for their
taste. Bush, in bending over to
satisfy this group, has alienated
others, including syndicated col-
umnist George Will who describ-
ed him as a "lap dog" because of
his supposed pandering to the
rightwing of the party.
Kemp, the darling of the
rightwing, is moving quickly to
establish a firstrate political
organization. He has several
very devoted and talented aides
already working full-time in his
corner, including some former
White House officials. Charis-
matic and creative, he certainly
has a shot at capturing the
The Hart, Bush and Kemp
visits to the Middle East this
month suggest that each is
already gearing up for a bruising
contest — first to get their
parties' nominations and then to
win the overall race. "I can't
think of any other country in the
world which candidates want to
visit more than Israel in order to
enhance their popularity back
home," said Morris J. Amitay, a
former Executive Director of the
American Israel Public Affairs
Committee and now a prominent
Washington political operative.
Thus, it may still be more than
two years away, but the election
is very much a part of the
political thinking in Washington
right now. And there are other
Republicans and Democrats
who are ready to throw their
hats in the ring.
Among the Republicans are
Senate Majority Leader Bob
Dole of Kansas; Senator Paul
Laxalt of Nevada; former
Senator Howard Baker of 1bn-
nessee; and Rev. Pat Robertson,
the Christian fundamentalist
Some of the Democrats whose
names have been tossed around
so far include New York Gover-
nor Mario Cuomo; Democratic
Senators Joe Biden of Delaware
and Bill Bradley of New Jersey;
former Virginia Governor
Charles Robb; and Arizona
Governor Bruce Babbit.
The chances that other names
will surface in the months ahead
seem small, given the enormous

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