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September 29, 1995 - Image 68

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-09-29

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

WEIZMAN'S page 66

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Ezer Weizman:
No shrinking violet.
for the office, Rabin has refused
to comment publicly on the pres-
ident's statements. Some com-
mentators have even portrayed
Weizman as Rabin's "secret ally"
against an over-eager Peres,
whose personal interest in seal-
ing Oslo II has set him "running
amok."
The opposition has naturally
taken great comfort in Weizman's
outspokenness.
Critics, however, charge that
Weizman's views are less a re-
flection of the "broad consensus"
he is meant to represent than a
shift (and not the first) in his own
outlook.
They note that, in his 24-year
political career, Weizman has
gone from leading the Likud's vic-
torious campaign in 1977 to join-
ing Labor and even allegedly
talking with the PLO while in the
Likud-led national unity govern-
ment (from which Shamir tried
to fire him in 1990). With that
kind of record as a renegade, it
was naive to believe that he
would respect any government's
line.
But the deeper question is
whether Weizman's conduct is
both befitting the presidency and
fundamentally fair. "Weizman's
verbal intervention in the nego-
tiations is problematic because it
removes the aura of stateliness
from the position of president and
reduces him to a common politi-
cian," writes Ha'aretz political
commentator Uzi Benziman. "All
the more unacceptable is his in-
tention to make use of the pow-
ers accorded him by law to
undermine a government deci-
sion."
However, a recent poll taken
by Yediot Aharonot shows that
Weizman's great personal popu-
larity extends to support (70 per-
cent) for his intervention in
political affairs. What remains to
be seen is if he will know where
to draw the line.
If he continues to speak out,
swaying votes to one camp or the
other, Israel may have to recon-
sider the prerogatives of its pres-
ident. U

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