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November 23, 1990 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-23

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

UP FRONT

Shamir's Vows To Shas Party
May Cause Rebellion In Likud

CATHRINE GERSON

Special to The Jewish News

rime Minister Yit-
zhak Shamir faces re-
bellion in his own
ranks as he tries to fulfill his
commitments to the Agudat
Yisrael party by pushing re-
ligious legislation through
the Knesset.
The rigorously Orthodox
Agudah agreed Nov. 16 to
join his Likud-led coalition
government on several con-
ditions, including Mr.
Shamir's pledge of "rapid
enactment" of two religious
bills that were scheduled for
their first reading in the
Knesset plenum Nov. 20.
One calls for stricter en-
forcement of the ban on
public transportation Satur-
days. The other is an anti-
pornography bill, which
would ban what the pious
consider "lewd" advertising
—women in tight jeans, for
example.
The Cabinet approved both
measures with only one
dissenting vote.
It also agreed to review at
an early date bills banning

p

the raising and sale of pork
in Israel and a tightening of
Israel's already severely re-
strictive abortion laws.
Finally, Mr. Shamir prom-
ised influential government
and parliamentary offices to
each of Agudah's four
Knesset members which,
however, must be approved
by the Knesset.
But the reaction against
what a majority of the
Israeli public has labeled
"the usual Agudah/religious
blackmail" has been unex-
pectedly strong.
Even strictly Orthodox
public figures have spoken
out against Mr. Shamir's
bargain with the Agudah,
which apparently does not
sit well with the other Or-
thodox parties in the coali-
tion.
Ordinarily, most legisla-
tion routinely passes first
readings in the plenum
before being farmed out to
the appropriate committees.
But resistance to the
Agudah bills has built
rapidly. It appeared doubtful
that Mr. Shamir will be able
to muster all 66 members of
his newly enlarged coalition

to vote as he promised
Agudah they would.
The right-wing Tsomet
and Moledet parties, for ex-
ample, were granted
freedom of conscience on re-
ligious matters when they
joined the coalition last
June.
They have indicated they
will oppose the Agudah bills
in the house, where their
combined four votes would
cancel Agudah's four.
But Mr. Shamir appeared
unfazed. He said he could
not understand the intense
public reaction to the pro-
posed laws.
"It is not a question of
drastic changes," he said.
"The public can stand it."
Mr. Shamir was unusually
candid, however, when ask-
ed on television whether he
would personally support
the proposed bills had they
not been conditions for the
Agudah to join his coalition.
"I am not sure," he said.
But he quickly said he
would have no trouble with
the Sabbath enforcement
law because he believes
"that in the State of Israel,
Shabbat should be kept.

Mr. Shamir can't understand intense public reaction.

"But on the other things, I
prefer not to dwell," he said.
Mr. Shamir also faces
trouble getting the four
Agudah men confirmed in
the jobs he promised them.
Rabbi Menahem Porush
was appointed deputy min-
ister of labor and social wel-
fare. He would attend
Cabinet meetings and would
in fact run the ministry,
whose portfolio is nominally
held by Mr. Shamir.
Rabbi Shmuel Halpert was
named a deputy minister in
the Prime Minister's Office
in charge of the vital Na-
tional Insurance Institute.

Rabbi Avraham Verdiger
was appointed deputy min-
ister in charge of Jerusalem
affairs, and Rabbi Moshe
Feldman was made chair-
man of the Knesset's power-
ful Finance Committee.
The Knesset will debate
the appointments of the new
deputy ministers, an
unusual procedure for which
the opposition Labor Party
got the required 30
signatures on a petition.
Even more serious trouble
lies ahead for Likud when it
tries to keep its promise to
Agudah to further curtail
abortions. El

ROUND UP

UAHC Creates
AIDS Service
The Union of American
Hebrew Congregation's Nor-
theast Council AIDS Task
Force has created a service
to increase AIDS awareness.
Introduced last spring at
Temple Emanu-El in Lowell,
Mass., the service begins,
"Let Your spirit rest upon
all who are ill and comfort
them. Speedily and soon,
may we know a time of com-
plete healing."
For a copy of the service,
contact Rabbi Sanford
Seltzer, c/o UAHC, 1330
Beacon St., Suite 355,
Brookline, MA. 02146, or
call (617) 277-3491.

Film Documents
Jews Of Syria
Toronto (JTA) — A rare
documentary about the Jews
of Syria had its world
premier in Toronto earlier
this month, attended by
some 130 leaders of the Jew-
ish community and members
of the press.
In the Shadows portrays
Syria as a country where ar-

bitrary arrests and execu-
tions are commonplace and
the general population is
taught to hate Jews.
The film contains numer-
ous interviews with Jews
who left Syria in the past 10
years. Most tell their stories
concealed in shadows to pro-
tect family members left
behind.
One man was too frighten-
ed even to appear in shad-
ows, saying "They know
every part of my body."
The documentary reports
that some 4,300 Jews live in
Syria, the majority of whom
are in the Damascus ghetto,
which is constantly watched
by police. The few who are
allowed to travel abroad
each year must leave their
families and a large sum of
money behind to guarantee
their return.

Grant Preserves
JLC Documents
New York — The New
York-based Documentary
Heritage program recently
granted $13,600 to preserve
a collection of Jewish Labor
Committee (JLC) documents

detailing the organization's
network to aid Jews in and
fleeing from Nazi Germany.
The records, acquired in
1984 by the Robert Wagner
Labor Archives of New York
University, contain
thousands of case files on
war victims, death camp in-
mates' letters and a com-
plete survivor list from
Dachau.
Researchers are now work-
ing to repair the waterlogg-
ed and moldy documents.
The JLC, an umbrella
organization for Jewish
trade unions and social
groups, was the first Ameri-
can agency to offer assis-
tance to the Jews of Nazi
Germany.

Israel Links Up
With New York
Albany, N.Y. (JTA) — New
York State has opened the
first direct, high-speed com- 1
puter data link with Israel
for use by researchers at
both ends.
Gov. Mario Cuomo said the
agreement, reached between
the New York State Edu-
cation and Research Net-

Israel takes a byte
of the Big Apple.

work, NYSERNet, and the
ILAN-Israel network, ad-
vances New York's interna-
tional partnership pact with
Israel.
The governor signed the
pact last year with Shimon
Peres, then. Israel's vice
prime minister and finance
minister.
NYSERNet, based at
Syracuse University, is a
consortium of educational,
industrial and governmental
institutions linked by a
high-speed digital telecom-
munications network. It
connects more than 50,000
industrial, academic and
governmental researchers.

A Hotline
To Halachah
New York — Can a Jew at-
tend the funeral of a non-
Jew on Shabbat? A woman
received a bracha blessing
written on a piece of parch-
ment from a Kabbalist. He
told her to keep it with her
always. Could she also carry
it on Shabbat? Is artificial
insemination allowed under
Jewish law?

These are some of the
questions heard at the
Brooklyn-based Halachah
Hotline, an independent
organization that answers
questions about Jewish law.
Five ordained rabbis operate
the hotline, which receives
an average of 100 calls a
week.

Callers may remain anon-
ymous and donations will
not be solicited. The hotline
does not operate on Shabbat
or Jewish holidays. The
numbers are (718) 963-1236
or (212) 425-2242.

Compiled by
Elizabeth Applebaum

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

5

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