THE JEWISH. NEWS
THIS ISSUE 60(P
SERVING DETROIT'S JEWISH COMMUNITY
AUGUST 4, 1989 / 3 AV 5749
The Reason Behind Detroit Is Considered
Israel's Kidnapping For Israeli Consulate
could become real in terms of other
American hostages in the hands of
Israel was conducting secret
Jerusalem — The main reason for
Israel's snatching of radical Hez- negotiations with Hezbollah leaders
bollah Shi'ite leader Sheik Abdel over the past four months for the
Karim Obeid from south Lebanon on release of three Israeli soldiers held
July 28 was not, as has been widely captive since 1986, according to the
reported, to swap him for Israeli or source. The indirect talks ended bit-
American soldiers held captive. In- terly in early July.
The talks with Hezbollah were
stead. the daring Israeli move was
mainly through a shadowy
carried out thwarting a planned
series of attacks aimed at U.S. and French figure named Jean Charles
Israeli targets by a new consortium of Marchiani, connected to his country's
terror organizations which Obeid intelligence services, who was the
heads, according to a senior source in man behind the release of two French
the Western intelligence community. hostages in Lebanon in April last
The flood of reports this past week year. Israel invested a lot of money in
that Obeid was grabbed in order to this channel, to no avail. The other
swap him for two Israeli soldiers held contacts were through Shi'ite families
by the Hizbollah since February 1986 living in the United States and in
and a navigator whose plane was West Africa (where much of the trade
downed over Lebanon in October of is in Lebanese Shi'ite hands).
The talks ended with increased
that year — and possibly also for the
American Col. William Higgins kid- hostility on both sides, mainly
napped in south Lebanon last year — because Israel's hopes were raised
are inaccurate. The claim that Hig- and then dashed, according to the
gins was killed in revenge for Obeid's source. Israel has frequently
kidnapping was described as negotiated with terrorists for the ex-
"ghoulish." According to our informa- change of prisoners — prisoners of
tion, Higgins died under torture war,in this case.
several months ago. But this threat Continued on Page 16
The Israel Foreign Ministry is stu-
dying a proposal to move the Israeli
consulate from Atlanta to Detroit.
Sources at the Israeli consulates
in Atlanta and Chicago confirmed
that the proposal is being studied, but
expressed skepticism that a consul
would be stationed here in the near
"There has been discussion in the
Foreign Ministry," said Bennie
Dagan, consul for information in
Chicago, "but there have been second
thoughts about the financial aspects.
It is not very likely at this moment
or in the next year." David Peleg, in-
formation minister at the Israel Em-
bassy in Washington, said the pro-
posal was one of many being con-
sidered to increase efficiency.
Atlanta Consul Muhamed
Massarwa said opening a Detroit of
would relieve the Chicago con-
sulate, which now covers 11 states.
Massarwa is returning to Israel after
his contract was not renewed. An
Israeli attorney, he has been criticiz-
ed by some in the Atlanta Jewish
community because he is an Israeli
Arab and recently issued a statement
calling for more dialogue between
Israel and the Palestinians.
Massarwa believes the decision to
move the consulate lies more with
Israel's Finance Ministry than with
the Foreign Ministry. "If the Finance
Ministry will give Detroit money,
then Atlanta will continue to func-
tion," he said. Other sources believe
the opening of an Israeli Tourism Of-
fice in Atlanta in the next few weeks
may influence the moviing of the
The Atlanta consulate serves five
states in the Southeast.
David Gad-Harf, executive direc-
tor of Detroit's Jewish Community
Council, was surprised by the pro-
posal. "Moving the consulate from
Atlanta to Detroit doesn't make much
sense given the growth of the Sunbelt
Jewish population," he said.
If Atlanta lost its consulate, it
would be served by consulates in
Miami, Houston or Philadelphia.
A consulate promotes a positive
image and travel to Israel, serves
local Israelis and "would speak direct-
ly to the news media here, rather than
by telephone," Gad-Harf said.
runs the gamut
LEON SILBER WITH SABABAH, AN ARABIAN 'Sel'ALtION.