whose political and religious loy-
alty to Greater Israel and the set-
tlements has been unmatched,
shocked everyone when it began
negotiating with the Labor-led
coalition. The NRP, said party
leader Zvulun Hammer, "still
does not support the Oslo Ac-
cords, [but] we have come to the
realization that they have become
a given in the existing situation,
and that we shall never return to
[PLO-run West Bank cities such
as] Jenin and Jericho."
Many in the NRP rank and
file, and especially its supporters
among the settlers, lambasted
the move as a sell-out.
In the coalition negotiations,
Mr. Hammer tried to win veto
power over the peace process, and
Mr. Peres tried to win Mr. Ham-
mer's support for nothing in re-
turn, and neither succeeded.
The hardline right-wing
Tsomet (Crossroads) party was
also negotiating with the gov-
ernment, but when the NRP's ef-
forts failed, Tsomet also gave up.
Which leaves the the Ortho-
dox, or haredi, parties. The
largest of them, Shas (made of
Sephardi Jews), says it will sup-
port Mr. Peres if the government
passes a law ensuring that for-
eign conversions by Reform or
Conservative rabbis will not be
recognized in Israel.
Yet, there is such loathing for
this concession by the left-wing
Meretz party and within Labor
that it is doubtful Shas will get
what it wants.
As it stands, the opposition
forces in the Knesset will prob-
ably not grow smaller. But they
have grown weaker — not only
in the Knesset, but also in the
mind of the public. Since the Ra-
bin assassination, the wind in Is-
rael blows from the left. 0
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Up In Israel
Jerusalem (JTA) — One in eight
Israelis lived below the poverty
line in 1994, the National Insur-
ance Institute announced.
According to the institute,
671,500 people lived under the
poverty line — defined as those
with a monthly income of less
The statistics showed that
23,000 more people lived in
poverty than the previous year.
Some 42 percent of those un-
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Labor and Social Welfare Min-
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policy had failed to reduce the
number of the poor.
She added that a program she
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