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July 18, 1986 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-07-18

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

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Friday, July 18, 1986

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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4 " ; •

NEWS

11 4



11-



"

Too Late To Halt Mormon
Center, Burg Says

Jerusalem (JTA) — Orthodox
groups seeking to block the Mor-
mon educational center under
construction on Mt. Scopus were
taken aback last week by
Religious Affairs Minister Yosef
Burg's reported statement that
it was too late to halt the con-
troversial project.
Burg is leader of the National
Religious Party. As chairman of
the special Cabinet committee
setup recently to decide the fate
of the center, he was considered
a key figure in the fight. But he
addressed the meeting of the
Board of Governors of Yeshiva
University here and reportedly
told them it was "two years and
nine million dollars too late" to
halt the Mormon Center.
That remark was quoted by a
Yeshiva University spokesman,
although Burg later seemed to
back away from it. However, he
did not deny that he thought the
project, now well advanced, is
unstoppable.
Orthodox objections center on
the fact that the Mormon
church is evangelical and they
fear the center, sponsored by the
church-affiliated Brigham
Young University of Provo,
Utah, will be used for mis-
sionary activities. It will rise ad-
jacent to the Hebrew Universi-
ty's Mt. Scopus campus.
The project originated several
years ago during the Likud ad-
ministration of Prime Minister
Menachem Begin. It was
granted all necessary permits
and building licenses by the
government and the Jerusalem
municipality. Burg is reported to
have stated, "There is no way to
stop it."
He gave assurances, however,

that "our plan now is to restrict
them as much as we can." He
said center activities would be
limited to Mormon students
from the U.S. and there would be
"no kind of public lectures or
any events of that nature."
Burg later stressed that as
chairman of the special commit-
tee he could not take a public
position on the project. He said
that in his speech to the Yeshiva
University Board, "I spoke of
the legal difficulties involved in
the issue."
Informed sources here believe
Burg's committee will have to
agree that the center is indeed a
fait accompli since it complies
with all legal requirements. But
it will recommend the tightest
restrictions and a careful defini-
tion of what will be allowable.

Earlier, in response to a letter
sent to the Knesset by 154
members of the U.S. Congress,
Burg defended Israel's misgiv-
ings over the Mormons' inten-
tions.
"It is clear that Jerusalem has
a predominant place in (the
Mormons') faith and not always
favorable to Jews and Judaism,"
he wrote. These activist mis-
sionary activities ... are
stretching the limit to the lib-
eral application of pluralism."
The congressional letter, with
Reps. William Broomfield (R-
Mich.), Mark Siljander (R-Mich.)
and Carl Pursell (R-Mich.) as
three of the signitories, argued
for the opening of the study cen-
ter, based on promises that the
Mormons would not conduct
missionary activities in Israel.
Opponents of the study center
cite Mormon documents showing
the Mormons to have broken
this promise.

Jordan Closes Fatah
Centers In Amman

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Jerusalem (JTA) — Israeli
analysts said last week that Jor-
dan's closure of Al Fatah's opera-
tional centers in Amman was a
major blow to Palestine Libera-
tion Organization chief Yasir
Arafat. They described the
centers as a vital link between
the PLO leadership and
residents of the administered
territories. Al Fatah is the ter-
rorist arm of the PLO loyal to
Arafat.
Defense Minister Yitzhak
Rabin called the Jordanian ac-
tion "a development in the right
direction." Addressing the
Yeshiva University convention
here, he said the closures would
restrict PLO activities in the ter-
ritories and reduce terrorism
there.
The official communique
issued in•mman said the PLO
offices shut down were the ones
that were reopened over a year
ago following the rapproche-
ment between Jordan's King
Hussein and Arafat. They were
closed, the communique said, in
response to PLO attacks on

Jordan.
The Hussein-Arafat relation-
ship disintegrated early this
year after prolonged efforts by
Hussein to convince Arafat to
bring the PLO into the Middle
East peace process leading to
negotiations with Israel. Hus-
sein announced in February that
he was abandoning those efforts
because the PLO leadership was
"unreliable."
The centers shut down by the
Jordanian authorities include
the office of Abu Jihad, Arafat's
deputy in charge of Fatah's ter-
rorist activities and the office of
"Force 17", Fatah's elite corps
which was used to protect
Arafat and other PLO leaders
and engage in terrorist
activities.
The Jordanian communique
affirmed the legitimacy of the
PLO as the sole representative
of the Palestinian people. The
moves against the Fatah centers
were intended to weaken the
Fatah leadership rather than the
organization itself, according to
Israeli analysts.

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