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December 02, 1988 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-02

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Diaspora Effort On Law
• Of Return Will Continue


Associate Editor


ouncil of Jewish Federations
President Mandell Berman of
Detroit said Tuesday that
Disapora leaders were successful in
impressing Israel Prime Minister Yit-
zhak Shamir with their concern over
changing Israel's Law of Return. Ber-
man spoke from New York in a
telephone conference call with
presidents of nine large federations
around the United States.
The proposed change, in effect,
would only allow Orthodox converts
to Judaism to become immediate
citizens of Israel under the law.
"If a coalition government is form-
ed (between Likud and the Labor Par-
ty, rather than between Likud and
the religious parties), we feel we had
influence. If it is not formed, it won't
be for a lack of forceful presentation;'
Berman said.
Berman had returned from
meetings with Israeli leaders as part
of a delegation which included Mor-
ris Abram, chairman of the Con-
ference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations; Max
Fisher of Detroit, past president of the

Jewish Agency; David Hermelin of
Detroit, international chairman of
Israel Bonds; and Bob Asher of
Chicago, past president of the
American Israel Public Affairs
The Diaspora groups will con-
tinue their pressure on Shamir and
other Israeli leaders with a petition
drive that has a goal of 500,000
signatures by Monday and continuing
visits by leaders to Israel. One hun-
dred fifty American leaders have
scheduled a meeting to discuss the
Law of Return issue with Israel Am-
bassador to the United States Moshe
Arad on Tuesday and Canadian
Jewish leaders have a meeting
scheduled with Israel's ambassador in
Ottawa on Dec. 9.
Last Sunday, a delegation
representing 20 American Jewish
organizations, including Reform and
Conservative religious leaders and
the Synagogue Council of America
(Orthodox), left for Israel. The group
included former Detroiter Rabbi
Daniel Syme, a vice president of the
Union of American Hebrew Con-
gregations (Reform).
Tuesday evening, the presidents of

Continued on Page 16

Economic Aid To Israel
Could Be In Jeopardy

Washington (JTA) — Israel's $1.2
billion in economic aid from the
United States may be in jeopardy in
the coming fiscal year, Capitol Hill
sources said this week.
The $1.8 billion in military aid
Israel receives appears less
vulnerable at this point. The State
Department and the Pentagon have
agreed to recommend that Israel
receive that amount in the 1990 fiscal
year, U.S. and Israeli sources said.
But Capitol Hill sources noted
that both components of Israel's $3
billion in aid, all of it a grant, could
be cut at any step in the annual
budget cycle, which will heat up Jan.
9 when President Reagan submits his
final budget to Congress for 1990.
In computing Israel's economic
aid for 1990, U.S. officials, including
Deputy Secretary of State John
Whitehead and Assistant Secretary of
Defense Richard Armitage, are sug-
gesting that Israel's savings under
the December 1987 foreign debt-
financing law be taken into account,
sources said.
Under that law, Israel is expected
to save an estimated $2 billion over
20 years by converting high-interest
rate government loans into lower-

interest private loans. It saved about
$100 million over the past year, an
Israeli embassy source said.
Israel owes $10 billion to the
United States from loans received
during various Arab-Israeli wars and
in annual foreign aid before the aid
was converted completely into grants
in 1984. A key issue is whether to
take into account Israel's new private
debt payments when calculating
Israel's reduced debt payments to the
United States.
Until now, Israel's annual debt
payments to the United States were
no lower than $1 billion, negating the
economic aid. In fiscal year 1990,
Israel will be paying less in debt
payments than it receives in economic
aid, a Capitol Hill source said, but an
Israeli source disputed that.
The $3 billion Israel received in
fiscal years 1988 and 1989 were its
most favorable packages ever, and
constitutes close to 10 percent of
Israel's national budget.
Increases are considered unat-
tainable, since under the Gramm-
Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction
law, Congress and the executive
branch must cut $35 billion from the



The Last

In Chicago, the Ebsteins fought all
the right fights. But in the end,
they joined their friends
who fled to the suburbs.

Page 24

Continued on Page 17



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