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October 30, 1992 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-10-30

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

Bill Clinton in a meeting with Yitzhak Rabin.

In Israel, Clinton
Wins By A Landslide

For Americans
living in Israel, the
choice for
president is no
contest. They
almost all dislike
George Bush.

LARRY DERFNER
ISRAEL CORRESPONDENT

G

ov. Bill Clinton is

such a strong favorite
among American Jew-
ish immigrants in
Israel that even Menahem
Swirsky, the former New
Yorker who heads the Israel
chapter of Republicans
Abroad, can't find a good
word to say about George
Bush.
The best reason he can
come up with, for the record,
on why he supports the GOP
ticket is that he "doesn't like
the people around Clinton,
such as Jesse Jackson and
Jimmy Carter," who, he
warns halfheartedly, might
be even more damaging to
Israel than Mr. Bush and
James Baker have been.
But Mr. Swirsky admits
that his position with the
GOP prevents him from say-
ing everything he'd like to.
"After the election I'll be
able to express my views
more openly," he promises.
An estimated 100,000
Americans living in Israel —
dual citizens, long-term
residents, students and
others — are eligible to cast
absentee ballots for next
Tuesday's election. "We ex-
pect the biggest turnout
ever," said Olga
Rachmilevitch, head of the
Americans and Canadians

in Israel (AACI) immigrants
association, which has been
helping voters register.
"Most people here vote on
one issue only — the Israel
issue," she said.
It seems the main reason
for the expatriates' enthusi-
asm to cast ballots is their
widespread perception — es-
pecially among those on the
right-wing — that Mr. Bush
has been a real no-goodnik
toward Israel, and that his
"thousand lobbyists on the
Hill" remarks of September
1991 smelled of anti-
Semitism.
Bryna Franklin, who
heads Democrats Abroad-
Israel, and who was the only
Israeli delegate to the Dem-
ocratic Convention, said that
when she canvasses -voters,
"they don't even ask for an
explanation why they should
vote for Clinton. People have
told me they haven't voted
for 40 years, but this year
they're voting for Clinton."
Ms. Franklin estimates
the American Jewish vote in
Israel will go over 90 percent
for the Arkansas governor,
and this might be a conser-
vative figure.
(The vote for Ross Perot
among Americans here is
negligible; what little Perot
support exists is being

drummed up by Vendyl
Jones, a devout Christian
and archaeologist who lives
in Israel and who supposedly
was the model for
Hollywood's Indiana Jones
character.) Nowhere — not
Manhattan, not Brooklyn,
not West Los Angeles,
nowhere —is there a pocket
of Jewish voters so purely
pro-Clinton as those in the
West Bank, where as many
as 18,000 American Jews
live. One of the most popular
placards at the settlers' anti-
government demonstrations

For Americans in
Israel, the issue
that counts is U.S.
Middle East policy.

is "Israel is Waiting for
Clinton," a play on the
Labor Party's campaign
theme, "Israel is Waiting for
Rabin."
Said Yehiel Leiter, a set-
tler spokesman: "You would
be hard pressed to find one
single American citizen liv-
ing in Judea and Samaria
who's going to vote for
Bush."

Nearly a year ago, Eliyahu
Weinstein, a recent immi-
grant from Las Vegas who
lives in the West Bank set-
tlement of Kfar Adumim, set
up the Heartland Political
Caucus as a non-partisan
group to register Americans
to vote in this election.
However, Mr. Weinstein, a
lifelong Republican, soon
became so incensed by Mr.
Bush's actions toward Israel
that the caucus, which in-
cludes a group of other set-
tlers and operates mainly in
the West Bank, endorsed the
Democrat.
The group organizes
meetings in people's homes
to get out the Clinton vote,
and Mr. Weinstein, like Ms.
Franklin, says he never has
to tell voters why they
should choose Mr. Clinton.
Instead, they always tell
him that they badly want to
see Mr. Bush out of the
White House. He said he has
approached about 500 people
and has yet to find the one
voter who supports Mr.
Bush.
David Froehlich, vice-
chairman of Democrats
Abroad-Israel, has been in
regular contact with Mr.
Weinstein and says he has
tried three times to get the
Clinton campaign head-

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