The Jewish Vote
With the state's Democratic caucuses
just around the corner, the eight
remaining presidential candidates
speak out on issues that may well
secure the '88 Jewish vote
ELIZABETH KAPLAN and
ixteen weeks of unrest in
the Middle East have
brought a historically
volatile situation to the
forefront in the race for
the '88 presidency.
The Middle East question figures
prominently in the quests of the eight
Republican and Democratic men vy-
ing for the Oval Office.
The candidates offer diverse posi-
tions on the Israel Arabconflict. They
address the pros and cons of Israel
relinquishing the administered ter-
ritories, establishing a Palestinian
state and of convening an interna-
tional conference on Middle East
In addition to national issues such
as taxes, the budget deficit, relations
with the Soviet Union and health
care, Jewish voters also will be con-
sidering the candidates' positions on
abortion and prayer in public schools.
The slate of contenders is narrow-
ing as the presidential candidates
gear up for Michigan's Democratic
caucuses on Saturday. The original
list of eight Democrats now contains
just five: Michael Dukakis, Richard
Gephardt, Albert Gore Jr., the Rev.
Jesse Jackson and Paul Simon.
Dukakis, 54, the governor of
Massachusetts, believes the United
Nations must be part of any Middle
East peace negotiations. He said the
Arab countries must accept Israel's
right to exist before any talks can be
"The essential precondition to
progress toward peace has been and
remains a decision by Arab leaders to
recognize Israel's right to exist and to
enter into formal, direct negotiations
with Israel," Dukakis said.
He opposes a constitutional
amendment that bans abortion and
any legislation which approves prayer
in public schools.
Jackson, 46, suggests the U.S.
Middle East policy is "fatally flawed."
The Reagan administration, he said,
"has failed to define U.S. interests in
the region and landed us in an
Jackson supports a peace con-
ference on the Middle East, and said
Israel should exist within secure, in-
ternationally recognized borders. He
also said the Palestinians have the
right to self-determination, including
the right to establish an independent
He is pro-choice and supports
Medicaid funding to women who can-
not afford to pay for abortions.
Jackson opposes legislation sup-
porting prayer in public schools.
"There is nothing in the Constitu-
tion to prevent children from praying
before, after or during school in their
free time," he said. "Public school of-
ficials should not dictate how or when
our children pray!'
Gephardt, a Missouri represen-
tative, believes the key to advancing
the Middle East peace process is U.S.
leadership. He supports continuing
dialogue as outlined in the Camp
Discussing the Palestinians,
Gephardt said: "We should make it
clear to the Palestinians that while
we are willing to support the aspira-
tions of democratic organizations and
their participation in peace talks, we
will not yield to demands com-
municated through violence!'
Gephardt, 47, opposes a constitu-
tional amendment that would pro-
hibit abortion, or a law that would
sanction prayer in public schools.
Gore, a senator from Tennessee,
supports Israeli Prime Minister Yit-
zhak Shamir's rejection of the peace
proposal advanced by the Reagan
"The territorial integrity, in-
dependence and safety of Israel is and
must remain the central pillar of
American policy in the Middle East,"
said Gore, 39. "It is rooted as much
in the values we share as fellow
democracies as in the interests we
hold in common as strategic allies!'
Gore is pro-choice and opposes any
legislation that would permit prayer
in public schools.
Simon, a senator from Illinois,
wants Israel and Jordan to hold direct
negotiations. He does not advocate in-
cluding the Palestine Liberation
Organization in such talks, but would
encourage participation by Palesti-
nian representatives acceptable to
Jordan and Israel.
Like the other Democrats, he
characterized the Reagan administra-
tion as one that has accomplished lit-
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