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December 22, 1989 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-22

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

I INSIDE WASHINGTON

A

World
of
Elegance

Israeli Ties With South Africa
Concerns Jewish Congressmen

JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

D

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WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

28

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1989

Rep. Solarz:
Warns Israelis.

Africa, existing contracts
could extend well into the
next century.
Calling the South African
situation the most serious
threat to Israel he has seen

4

Austrian Diplomat's Wife
Heals Wounds

for the Holiday8

4

espite the holiday lull
in Washington, the
issue of lingering
military ties, between Israel
and South Africa continues
to attract the attention of
Jewish legislators.
Last week, a group of
Jewish activists met under
the auspices of the National
Jewish Community Rela-
tions Advisory Council
(NJCRAC) in New York and
heard some strong
arguments on the subject
from Rep. Stephen Solarz,
D-N.Y.
Solarz, according to pro-
Israel sources here, warned
that Israel's military ties
with the Pretoria govern-
ment go well beyond the in-
volvement of other
American allies and that
while Israel has prohibited
new contracts with South

during his 15 years in Con-
gress, Solarz also predicted
that if Israel's leaders do not
take forceful action to cur-
tail these contracts, amend-
ments might be offered to
next year's foreign package
'denying U.S. aid to any
country that provides
military aid to South Africa.
Jewish members, of Con-
gress continue to worry that
the Israeli leadership does
not take the crisis seriously.
"The anti-apartheid com-
munity is basically giving
Shamir until February to
respond," said one Capitol
Hill staffer. "If they don't,
they'll be putting the Jewish
representatives here in a
very difficult position. I can
foresee that some of them
will actually vote for
amendments cutting aid to
countries that do military
business with South Africa.
South Africa is an issue that
these guys take pretty seri-
ously."

In an era of strained rela-
tions between Jews and the
Austria of Kurt Waldheim,
it is a curious fact that the
doorway to the Austrian
chancery in Washington
sports a mezuzah.
The ambassador's wife,
Claire Hoess, is a Jew who
has worked effectively in the
background to ease some of
the tensions caused by
Waldheim's ascension to the
presidency.
Hoess's biography is exotic
enough for a movie. She was
born in England of Anglo-
Jewish parents, and studied
in Israel, where she met her
future husband, a top Israeli
general.
After her husband's death,
she returned to England,
where she began a crusade
against drugs that continues
to be her major interest.
She met Friedrich Hoess,
an Austrian career diplo-
mat, in London. "We mar-
ried, and then he was sent as
ambassador to Australia and
New Zealand. And then we
ended up in this wonderful
country."
Hoess said that her
relatively exotic background
has been a diplomatic plus
and that her Jewishness
hasn't hindered her in her
role as the wife of a top
Austrian diplomat.

"I never understood why
people put such emphasis on
the question," she said.
"Everyone knows who I am
and what I am. I think we
put too much on this." Being
a diplomatic wife, she
argued, is a serious job. "It's
a very hard job, and a lot of
work — all unpaid. You're
sort of a restaurateur and
hotelier."
Although she fulfills the
requirements of this job with
grace and charm, she refuses
to be the stereotypical dip-
lomatic wife. "I made it very

clear when I came here that
I know a lot about drugs and
rehabilitation, and that I
would take those issues on;
it's not just a question of teas
and parties."

She diplomatically
declines to discuss the fric-
tions generated by
Waldheim controversy. But
officials with several Jewish
organizations refer to her
behind-the-scenes efforts to
build bridges between her
government and the Jewish
community in this country.

Arab-American Group
Using Israeli-S.A. Ties

Arab-American groups are
working hard to see that
Israel's ties to the South
African military continue to
get attention, despite the
current legislative lull.
The American Arab Anti-
Discrimination Committee
(ADC) has sent a mass mail-
ing to its membership on the
issue, complete with pre-
addressed post cards to the
appropriate senators and
congressmen.
The mailing features a
"wanted" poster motif, with
the caption "Wanted: Israel-

South Africa, Nuclear
Outlaws." The mailing also
includes an action alert
documenting the unfolding
controversy, and urging the
Office of Munitions Control
to permanently ban the ex-
port of super-computers to
Israel.

So far, there are no indica-
tions of how many of the
response cards have ended
up on Capitol Hill desks.
"It's a slow time of the
year for us, too," said an
ADC spokesman.

411

4

al



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