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January 12, 1990 - Image 99

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-01-12

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

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MK Yossi Beilin Tugs
At Peres' Leash

DAN PETREANU

Special to The Jewish News

y

ou could almost see
the Labor Party cringe
when Depty Finance
Minister Yossi Beilin declared
several weeks ago that there
was no hunger in Israel,
despite the scandalous Na-
tional Insurance Institute
statistics on poverty. But few
were surprised. Only months
before Beilin declared that
Israel would have to get used
to a relatively high unem-
ployment rate of 6 percent.
Last summer, Beilin
angered most of the govern-
ment by, while representing
it in the Knesset, announc-
ing that Israel was conduc-
ting indirect negotiations

Yossi Beilin: Peres' poodle?

with the PLO. After that,
and after Beilin warned the
United States in the
Jerusalem Post not to in-
terfere in Israeli affairs by
devising a diplomatic in-
itiative meant to prolong the
life of the unity government,
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir resolved to fire him.
But since a deputy min-
ister can only be fired by the
minister he serves, the posi-
tion of Beilin, who has serv-
ed Shimon Peres well for the
past 13 years, remains
secure. And Beilin repays
the favor by being virtually
the only prominent member
of the party willing to state
unequivocally that Peres
should continue to head
Labor in the next elections.
"Of course I think Peres
should go on leading the par-
ty," Beilin says. "I don't see
anyone else who can lead the
party at his level. Don't
forget we already won with
Peres once" — a referrence
to 1984, when Labor won 44
mandates to the Likud's 41,
but could not form a
government.

What about the tide in the
party calling for now-
popular Defense Minister
Yitzhak Rabin to take its
reins? "The only thing I can
say about that is that I'm not
part of the personality cult
around Rabin."
In the Peres-Rabin tug of
war that has dominated
Labor Party politics for the
past dozen or so years, Beilin
has always been, in the
unflattering words of Rabin
himself, "Peres' poodle."
As such, he found himself
appointed party spokesman,
cabinet secretary, diplo-
matic Foreign Ministry di-
rector-general and now,
deputy finance minister. His
election to the Knesset in
the "democratic" poll in
Labor's central committee
could not have been achiev-
ed without Peres.
But these days Beilin is a
politician in his own. right
and, in his quest for in-
dependence, resents being
treated as Peres's
spokesman.
"I try to fight for political
independence," says Beilin,
who founded the party's
dovish Mashov Forum in
1981. "But I haven't set my-
self as a goal to break away
from Peres."
So what is the extremely
dovish Beilin doing in the
Labor Party?
Beilin is one of the prime
architects of Peres's shadow
"peace government" — that
unlikely combination of
Labor, the far-left non-
Zionist Arab parties, Shinui
and the non-Zionist ultra-
Orthodox parties.
According to the theory,
the religious still care little
for secular diplomacy and in
exchange for "equalization"
of their rights — meaning
much more money for
yeshivot — would grant
Labor a free hand in the pur-
suit of peace.
Beilin believes that when
the unity government falls
apart, Peres can form such a
government. Asked if the
religious are not toying with
Labor to raise their price
with the Likud as in the
past, Beilin denies that this
was the case in the past, in-
sisting that in 1988 it was
Labor itself which preferred
a coalition with the Likud.
Beilin despises the theory
that Labor could not carry
out the traumatic
withdrawal from the ter-
ritories with the Likud or-
chestrating tremendous op-
position in the Knesset.



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