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May 08, 1992 - Image 62

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-08

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

WIN

ISRAEL

111 • A FULL-LENGTH MINK
• A FABULOUS CRUISE
• • A LAS VEGAS ADVENTURE

WHY?

BECAUSE BRICKER-TUNIS
WANTS TO BE YOUR
FURRIER!

OUR FAMILIES HAVE OFFERED THE FINEST
FUR SERVICES FOR 76 YEARS. PLEASE BRING
IN YOUR VALUABLE FURS AND LEATHERS AND
ALLOW US TO SHOW YOU ONE OF THE FINEST
ON-PREMISE COLD STORAGE AND CLEANING
FACILITIES IN THE MIDWEST AND ENTER OUR
GRAND GIVEAWAY*

Miriam Ben-Porat
Is Lady Democracy

LARRY DERFNER

Special to The Jewish News

ARTHUR S. BRICKER

JOHN G. TUNIS

FAMILY PRIDE, QUALITY & COMMITMENT
SINCE 1916

MINK COAT
CHOICE OF A FULL-LENGTH
BLACK EMERALD
OR
MAHOGANY
MINK COAT
VALUED AT 9,000

FANTASY CRUISE

LAS VEGAS

ROUND TRIP AIRFARE FOR 2,
TRANSFERS AND 3-DAYS
CRUISING THE CARIBBEAN
ON "THE FANTASY" THE
SHIP OF THE FUTURE!

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ACCOMMODATIONS AT
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INCLUDING TRANSFERS TO
AND FROM HOTEL

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HUDSON & FAYNE

• Employees of Bricker-Tunis Furs & Hamilton, Miller, Hudson & Fayne not eligible

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I $8 Off

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Since 1971

T

he true opposition in

Israel is an
underground move-
ment. It cuts across all polit-
ical and social lines, drawing
its ranks from the frustrated
and the disgusted. It is an
amorphous but huge mass of
people, with the desire, but
not the means, to lift this
country out of its malaise.
These are the people who
accounted for 600,000 peti-
tion signatures demanding a
change in the system of
government, an end to polit-
ical hackery and corruption
and extortion — and then
watched the guilty ones in
the Knesset bury the idea.
They sit, angry and
unheard, in front of their
television sets and news-
papers, trying not to gag
over the daily tales of buying
and selling, of looking out
solely for number one, that
are the story of political life
in Israel today. *
The true opposition has no
party of its own, nor much of
a focus. What is does have is
a heroine — a 73-year-old
woman who has never run
for office, the state comp-
troller, Miriam Ben-Porat.
An editorial in the daily
newspaper Ma'ariv put it
this way: "Miriam Ben-
Porat and the state comp-
troller's office she heads are
about the last chance left for
decent government in
Israel." The press adores
her; its paeans to her have
been headlined, "Lady
Democracy" or, simply,
"The Splendid Lady." And
she has won polls as the
most popular government of-
ficial in Israel.
Her reputation is an in-
timidating one, fed by the
photographs of her straight,
set features and her hair
combed tightly back on her
head. She was a state at-
torney and judge for 38 years
and was elected state comp-
troller by the Knesset in
1988 after retiring as deputy
president of the Supreme
Court. To the public, she is
justice itself — rigorous and
fearless. In person, she is
very composed and very ex-
acting, but her gaze is warm.
During an interview in her
Jerusalem office last week,
Mrs. Ben-Porat said that
"people place high hopes on
me. Unfortunately they are
too high. It's as if they think

I can solve all the problems,
and this scares me." Perhaps
it's only fitting that she be
scared of something; so
many people on Israel's
public payroll are scared of
her.
In her investigative
reports, issued annually and
periodically on the workings
of government and the
public sector, Mrs. Ben-
Porat:
• revealed that one-third
of the gas masks the army
distributed to all citizens
during the Gulf War might
not have fit properly;
• criticized the govern-
ment over its lack of suffi-
cient preparation for the
Soviet aliya;
• exposed the Orthodox
Shas party's mishandling of
many millions of shekels in
public funds;
• detailed 20 years of
waste in the nation's water

.

Politicians fear
Mrs. Ben-Porat's
annual
investigative
reports on the
workings of
government.

management, and uncovered
dozens of other shortcomings
and defects.
The former army chief of
staff, Dan Shomron, tried
everything in his con-
siderable power to discredit
her report on the gas masks.
In the end, Mrs. Ben-Porat
proved her point. Within a
few months, Mr. Shomron's
successor, Ehud Barak,
plans to distribute replace-
ment masks to people who
received unsuitable ones
during the war.
"The report was effective,
and there has been good col-
laboration between the army
and my office in solving the
problem," she said. "The
army is subject to criticism
no less than others — even
more because security is
vital and we have to keep
our eyes wide open."
On the Soviet aliyah, Mrs.
Ben-Porat said in November
1990: - "The heart aches over
the short-sightedness, inac-
tivity and failures of the
government."
Prime Minister Shamir
reacted sharply to the
report, accusing Mrs. Ben-
Porat of exceeding her

Continued on Page 64

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