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September 07, 1990 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-07

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

INSIDE WASHINGTON

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JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

Arms Sale To Saudis
Jars Israel Supporters

W

hen the administra-
tion announced a $2
billion emergency
arms sale to Saudi Arabia
last week, it left pro- Israel
activists here with an in-
dustrial-strength headache.
The proposed sale includes
some of the weapons most
feared by Israel's supporters,
including Stinger anti- air-
craft missiles and uranium
shells for anti-tank weapons,
reportedly the only kind of
ammunition capable of pier-
cing the tough armor of
Israel's homegrown tanks.
But this time around, the
pro-Israel community will
not have its usual opportuni-
ty to oppose the sale or
attach conditions; because of
the current emergency, the

Barney Frank:
Can't stop sale.
president invoked his right
to waive the entire congres-
sional review process.

Not that it would matter
much; with a massive
American force on the
ground in Saudi Arabia,
there is little opposition to
the sale. Last week, groups
like the American- Israel
Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) began testing the
waters — and quickly came
to the conclusion that oppo-
sition would be risky and
probably ineffective.
"Realistically, there's no
way we're going to stop the
arms sale," said Rep. Barney
Frank (D-Mass.). "But there
does need to be some kind of
offset for the Israelis. That's
something we'll be thinking
about in the weeks to come."
By the beginning of the
week, it was clear that Israel
would be receiving addi-
tional weapons, possibly up
to $1 billion worth as offsets,
but the details of the
transfer had not yet been
worked out.

Jewish Project Started
To Feed AIDs Victims

An innovative Jewish pro-
gram to assist people with
AIDS is underway in Wash-
ington. And the developers
of the program are hoping
that it will serve as a model
for communities around the
country.
The Yom Rishon AIDS
Food Drive, a project of the
National Jewish AIDS pro-
ject, aims to mobilize area
synagogues to collect canned
food, which will be
distributed to people with
AIDS through the local
AIDS clinic.
But food is only one of the
project's objectives, accor-
ding to co-chair Phyllis
Freedman.
"We hope that this will be
the end of apathy within the
Jewish community," she
said. "We're finding that
many people in our commun-
ity have been touched per-
sonally by AIDS. That's
become an undeniable fact.
Some people might still pre-
fer not dealing with it — but
that's not possible any
more."
"The level of interest was
very high," she said. "We
were very surprised and
very moved by the response;
it seemed that the congrega-
tions just needed someone to
come and ask them to help."
The group decided to focus
on a food drive for several
reasons. Many people with
AIDS have exhausted their
financial resources in coping
with the disease; hunger is a
real problem for these peo-

ple, Ms. Freedman said.
And the food drive taps
into some basic values for
the Jewish community.
"No matter how you feel
about homosexuality,

feeding people who are
hungry is something people
can support," she said. "And
this is particularly true for
Jews, because its so much a
part of our Judaism."

Jewish Groups Backing
Women's Health Bill

When Congress begins its
abbreviated fall term, one of
the first items on their
agenda will be a bill design-
ed to improve health care for
women. The legislation has
attracted the interest of a
number of Jewish groups.
The package of measures
includes provisions urging
that more women be used as
subjects in research, and
provides added support for
testing for breast and cer-
vical cancer.
The Women's Health
Equity Act of 1990 would
also set up a separate office

at the National Institutes of
Health for women's health
issues, and would provide
more research on the AIDS
infection in women.
"The package would also
support more research into
infertility," said Susan
Banes Harris, Washington
representative for the New
York Jewish Federation, a
group pushing hard for the
legislation. "This is an espe-
cially important area for
Jewish women, many of
whom are concerned about
infertility and the problems
related to later marriages."

U.S. Debt Forgiveness
For Israel In Doubt

Early this week, Israel's
leaders were talking as if
forgiveness of Israel's debt to
the United States was a done
deal.
But in Washington, there
were indications that
Israel's optimism may be a
little premature.
Last week, President
George Bush indicated that
he would probably favor

forgiveness of Egypt's more
than $7 billion in military
debt, in recognition of that
country's cooperation with
U.S. efforts in the Gulf.
In an interview on Israel
Radio on Sunday, Israeli fi-
nance minister Yitchak
Modai indicated that he ful-
ly expected Washington to
do the same with Israel's
debt.

State, OMB Decide
On Slots For Refugees

Last week, State Depart-
ment officials and represen-
tatives of the Office of
Management and Budget
hammered out an agreement
on refugee admissions for
the upcoming fiscal year.
The State-OMB agreement
will allow for 40,000 funded
slots for refugees from the
Soviet Union, primarily
Jews. Last year, the budget
contained money for 32,000
funded slots, and the Jewish
community funded 8,000 un-
funded slots —to the tune of
more than $16 million.
The deal, which still needs
congressional approval, was
good news for Soviet Jewry
activists.
"I think we're seeing the
evolution of a real consensus
between the White House,
Congress, the Jewish com-
munity and Israel," said Ar-
nold Leibowitz , Washington
representative for HIAS.
"There's a growing level of
comfort among all sides on
the admissions question."
Mr. Leibowitz pointed to
recent indications that the
administration is reversing
itself and will not oppose a
continuation of the Mor-
rison-Lautenberg legisla-
tion, which re-established
the automatic presumption
of refugee status for Soviet
Jews, and to the Jewish
community's informal
agreement not to seek

higher admissions numbers.
A tougher fight might be
looming for money for the
domestic resettlement of
Jews in this country. A
number of factors — in-
cluding the escalating sav-
ings and loan crisis and the
Persian Gulf military
buildup — will add to the
strains on the federal
budget, and on money for
resettlement programs.
"We're starting to face the

Mark Talisman:
"Most severe squeeze."
fact that the squeeze on the
budget is the most severe
we've faced since the
Depression," said Mark
Talisman, Washington di-
rector for the Council of Jew-
ish Federations. "So every-
thing will be examined with
tremendous care."

Rep. Smith Urges Hold
On Arms Link To Jordan

One topic on the minds of
legislators this week will be
the volatile situation in Jor-
dan, where King Hussein
has walked a perilous line
between the United States
and Iraq.
And some legislators are
less than pleased with Hus-
sein's balancing act.
Last week, Rep. Larry
Smith (D-Fla.) drafted a
letter for the signature of his
colleagues, calling on the
president to suspend
military relations with Jor-
dan as long as the skittish
king continues to provide
military support for Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein.
Smith was particularly
upset about the Hawk mis-
siles Iraq captured during its
assault on Kuwait. Recently,
there were reports that Iraqi
soldiers were being trained
to use the Hawks by the Jor-
danians, who had earlier
received their own Hawks

from the U.S.
Without Jordanian train-
ing, the Iraqis would prob-
ably not be able to make
effective use of the sophisti-
cated missiles; with Jorda-
nian help, the Hawks may
ultimately be aimed at
American planes over Saudi
Arabia.

Levin: News
Good For Israel

Michigan's U.S. Sen. Carl
Levin returned from a trip to
the Middle East this week,
saying there was good news
for Israel.
"The PLO (Palestine Lib-
eration Organization) has
weakened and the Arab
world is very much split,"
Mr. Levin said.
Israel, Mr. Levin said,
needs to be supportive and
must put pressure on Iraq.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

31

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