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December 23, 1988 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-23

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DECEMBER 23, 1988 / 15 TEVET 5749

Is Israel Treading
A Perilous Path?

Washington's decision to talk with PLO leader
Yassir Arafat has thrown the Middle East,
including Israel, into a paroxysm of indecision.
And it escalates the danger for Arafat, too.


Special to The Jewish News

After all the media hype has sub-
sided over Washington's decision to
open a dialogue with the Palestine
Liberation Organization, serious
problems will confront both Israel and
PLO chairman Yassir Arafat.
For Israel, the central question is
how to respond to the challenge, how
to move out of its corner of perceived
rejectionism and grasp the political
initiative once again.
As the PLO carves ever deeper in-
roads into Israel's traditional
alliances with Western Europe and
Washington, Israeli leaders must per-
suade an impatient, doubting world
that they have a realistic political
solution to the Palestinian problem.
Their problems are compounded
by the fact that they simply do not
have a cohesive, credible political
response. Indeed, seven weeks after
the general election, there is still no
effective government in Jerusalem.
Moreover, their predicament is in-
tensified by the continuing uprising
in the occupied territories, where
Palestinians — who regard the U.S.

decision as a direct product of the in-
ti fades — are likely to step up both the
scope and intensity of the violent
In Arafat's address to the United
Nations General Assembly in
Geneva, and in his subsequent press
conference which preceded
Washington's dramatic turnaround,
the PLO leader expressly exempted
the Palestinians in the occupied ter-


ritories from his rejection of violence
and his renunciation of terrorism.
Indeed, even as the PLO leader
"totally and absolutely" renounced
terrorism, he heaped praise on "the
generation of the blessed intifada,"
which, he declared, had adopted "a
civilized, democratic approach" to
confronting the Israeli occupation.
The year-old uprising has already
produced a public relations
catastrophe for Israel, placing a
serious strain on its diplomatic rela-
tions with the United States and in-
Continued on Page 17

Soviet Jews May
Face Housing Crunch


Staff Writer

Soviet leader Mikhail Gor-
bachev's glasnost policy may create a
housing crisis for Soviet Jews who
want to resettle in Detroit, Jewish
Family Service officials say.
The problem of resettling Soviet
Jewish immigrants results from the
apparent change in the federal
government's interpretation of who
qualifies for the refugee status in the
wake of Gorbachev's glasnost — or
openness — policy.
Under glasnost, Soviet Jews are
allegedly free to emigrate. Yet they
may not be considered refugees by the
U.S. government. In that case, the
Michigan public assistance program
would not provide Soviet Jewish im-

Caring for the elderly has left government and
Jewish leaders struggling to find answers.

migrants with housing and food, says
JFS Director Sam Lerner.
"If the U.S. government inter-
pretation takes over and they will not
be considered refugees, then the
burden will fall on the Jewish com-
munity," Lerner said. "It's a very ex-
pensive and a dangerous thing, but
that's what's happening.
"It's not formal U.S. policy yet, but
the U.S. government is not going to
consider Russian Jewish immigrants
as refugees unless there is a well-
founded fear of persecution," Lerner
In Detroit, the Jewish Family Ser-
vice provides housing and other
assistance for incoming refugees for
their first 120 days. Afterward, the
state's refugee assistance program of-

Continued on Page 21


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