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August 27, 1993 - Image 68

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-08-27

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

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Abba Cohen:
Agudah representative.

National Service
Compromise

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As the debate over the admin-
istration's National Service plan
moved into its final stages, Jew-
ish groups did some old-fash-
ioned horse trading over
provisions that would affect re-
ligiously affiliated organiza-
tions' ability to participate in
the plan.
National Service will offer ed-
ucational grants in return for
voluntary service by young
adults.
Advocates of an impermeable
church-state wall favored ban-
ning participation by religious
groups. But Orthodox groups
preferred language that would
let their institutions fully par-
ticipate in the plan.
Working with the staff of
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Ma.,
a key sponsor of the bill,
Richard Foltin, the American
Jewish Committee's legislative
director and counsel, produced
a compromise amendment. It
retains provisions allowing par-
ticipation by religious groups,
but bans using volunteers to op-
erate, maintain or construct fa-
cilities devoted to religious
worship or instruction. It also
forbids National Service par-
ticipants from being teachers in
educational programs that in-
clude mandatory religious wor-
ship.
Abba Cohen, Washington
representative for Agudath Is-
rael of America, said his group
"acquiesced on these points" be-
cause they "do not represent an
expansion of existing law."
But he suggested that Agu-
dath Israel might reconsider its
position if the bill survives its
final Senate vote and goes to
a House-Senate conference.

Rise Of The
Christian Right

Israel may still be the central
organizing theme for most of
the Jewish world, but the Na-

tional Jewish Democratic
Council clearly thinks that do-
mestic issues are the wave of fu-
ture in Jewish political life.
Not one session at the
NJDC's two -day summer meet-
ing recently focused on the
Mideast or foreign policy. In-
stead, the emphasis was on
such topics as urban renewal,
health care reform, the feder-
al budget and, of course, De-
mocratic party organizing.
Also, echoing a theme that
Democrats apparently think
will sell well with Jews in 1994
and 1996, there was a heavy
emphasis on the Christian
right's accelerating growth.
Arthur Kropp, president of Peo-
ple for the American Way,
said Pat Robertson's Chris-
tian Coalition is now the
single biggest political
organization in the country in
terms of paid membership.
"The religious right of the
1990s has almost no resem-
blance to the religious right of
the 1980s," he said. "It is real,
it is populist, it is getting its
strength from the bottom."
The religious right gains
strength, he said, because more
progressive forces underesti-
mate their strength at the
grass-roots level.

Is Boeing
A Casualty?

Recent military action in
Lebanon doesn't bode well for
the Boeing aircraft company.
In June, four pro-Israel House
members circulated a letter
objecting to the sale of Boeing
737 passenger jets and General
Electric engines to the national
airline of Iran. Their argument
about the risks of selling such
"dual use" technologies to
Teheran did not generate much
enthusiasm in the
administration, which seems to
be placing a greater premium
on preserving jobs in the
endangered aerospace industry.
But critics of the sale received
a boost from last week's testi-
mony to a foreign affairs sub-
committee by Central
Intelligence Director R. James
Woolsey, who revealed that
some weapons used by Hezbol-
lah guerrillas were shipped
from Iran to Syria — via hoe-
ing aircraft owned by Iran Air.
As recently as two weeks be-
fore fighting erupted in
Lebanon, commercial 747s from
Iran were seen unloading
weapons, including sophisti-
cated Sagger anti-tank missiles
that have alarmed Israeli mil-
itary authorities.
Members of the House sent
a letter to President Clinton,
in effect saying, "I told you
so." 0

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