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July 08, 1988 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-07-08

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

INSIDE WASHINGTON

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Yitzhak Rabin's Visit To U.S.
Is Deemed Very Successful

JAMES BESSER

Special to The Jewish News

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VISA'

Last week's visit by Israeli
defense minister Yitzhak
Rabin, described as a "work-
ing" visit rather than a
diplomatic one, left in its
wake a number of intriguing
mysteries for Jewish activists
here to consider.
There was general agree-
ment that Rabin managed to
avoid confrontations over
Israel's ongoing problems in
the administered territories
— an especially impressive ac-
complishment, in view of re-
cent criticism from Assistant
Secretary of State Richard
Schifter.
There were two reasons for
Rabin's success. First, the pro-
Israel community and Israel's
staunchest friends in the ad-
ministration managed to

Yitzhak Rabin

keep Rabin to an unusually
low-profile schedule. Rabin's
meetings on the Hill were
with small, select groups of
congressmen; his meetings
with administration officials
focused almost entirely on the
nitty-gritty of military
cooperation and joint develop-
ment.
Rabin himself emphasized
the growing menace of
missile proliferation in the
Middle East. This overwhelm-
ing theme of his visit, which
resulted in the expected
"Memorandum of Under-
standing" on U.S. funding of
the Arrow anti-missile proj-
ect, was trumpeted well in ad-
vance of his arrival by the
American Israel Public Af-
fairs Committee (AIPAC),
which has spent a growing
proportion of its considerable
energies on the missile ques-
tion of late.
Some Jewish activists here
responded with cynicism to
the sudden interest in mis-
siles. But other observers

argued that Rabin made a
significant contribution to
the political dialogue by
pushing the missile issue.
And Congress, still upset
about Saudi Arabia's acquisi-
tion of Chinese-made medium
range missiles, is finally
beginning to pay attention to
Israel's longstanding com-
plaints about the unchecked
spread of new kinds of
weapons in the region.

upholding the Special Prose-
cutor law — a piece of legisla-
tion crafted, in part, by Levin.
Levin, third ranking Demo-
crat on the Armed Services
Committee and chairman of
the Oversight of Government
Management Subcommittee,

Program Gives
Experience In
Activism

Jewish
groups
in
Washington are adept at
planting political seeds that
may take years to sprout. An
example is a program under
way under the auspices of the
Religious Action Center of the
Union of American Hebrew
Congregations. The
"Machone Kaplan" program,
held every four years here in
Washington, gives a group of
college students first-hand ex-
perience with the mechanics
of activism.
According to Glenn Stein of
the Center, the students par-
ticipate in six weeks of semi-
nars given by Rabbi David
Saperstein, the Center's
political guru, and Professor
Michael Berenbaum of
Catholic University. Then,
they select current issues, and
work closely with the
Center's activists in tracking
legislation, lobbying and
research. Some of the issues
being pursued by this year's
crop of students are the pro-
blems of endangered Jewry,
the fight against apartheid in
South Africa and the vexing
"church-state" question.
It's the kind of program
that pays big dividends; there
are graduates of the Machone
Kaplan program in a number
of congressional offices and
lobbying organizations, as
well as Jewish community
organizations throughout the
nation.

Sen. Levin
Gains Stature
On The Hill

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.),
one of the leaders of the
Jewish delegation in the halls
of the Capitol, is a busy man
these days — and if any of the
rumors surrounding his fu-
ture are true, he's apt to
become busier still.
Levin was in a celebratory
mood last week with the
Supreme Court's decision

Sen. Carl Levin

is also emerging as a key
figure in the investigations of
official sleaze at the Pen-
tagon. "He has a reputation
for being hyper-ethical," said
one congressional staffer —
not one of Levin's. "So he's in
a very good position to cash in
on what's been happening
lately?'
Rumor has been making
the rounds lately that Levin
might be in line for the at-
torney general post in a
Michael Dukakis administra-
tion — a rumor Levin waves
off, but does not categorical-
ly deny. Levin is well known
for his dislike of campaigning,
and he faces a reelection bat-
tle in two years.
What is certain is that
Levin and Maryland's Paul
Sarbanes are emerging as the
top Senate confidants to Gov.
Dukakis. Sarbanes, Levin
and Dukakis have longstan-
ding ties; the three were
classmates at Harvard Law
School. Levin and Dukakis go
back even further — to their
days as undergraduates.
Levin is expected to play a
role in helping Dukakis chose
a running mate — and his in-
put will almost certainly be a
factor in the formation of a
Dukakis cabinet.

Issues Update

Congress is hard upon the
summer vacation season, and
a number of issues of par-
ticular interest to Jewish ac-
tivists are getting buffeted in
the rush to get out of
Washington's legendary heat

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