Newsletter : 5fax0714.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
July 14, 1995, V3, #129
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Ross Does a 1-2 Shuttle to Damascus and Jerusalem
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
US Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross has made an extra trip to
Syria on his current mission in an effort to overcome an apparently
new problem which is blocking the resumption if Israel-Syria peace
Ross met afterwards with Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and
then returned to Washington. His hastily-arranged trip earlier
Thursday to Damascus came after an apparently new problem emerged
from his talks Wednesday in Syria and Israel.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry would not say what the problem is,
or how serious it is, but a spokesman says it was presented when
Ross returned Wednesday from Damascus. The spokesman says the
negotiations with the Syrians are very sensitive and all things
must be arranged properly before each stage.
The senior military officers of the two countries met last month,
and lower-level military talks were expected to be held soon on
the details of security arrangements that would be part of any
Rabbi Lau: Ruling to Disobey Orders Could Destroy the Country
The debate stirred up by Wednesday's rabbinic decree continued
Thursday as both Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Yitzhak Lau and Shas leader
Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef condemned the ruling calling on IDF soldiers
to disobey orders to evacuate bases in the territories.
Lau rejected the ruling, saying that disobeying orders was
inconceivable. The breakdown of discipline is liable to bring
about the destruction of the country and the Jewish people.
Yosef, a former Chief Sephardic Rabbi, also strongly attacked the
decision and said that if it was not retracted, anarchy and civil
war could ensue. Yosef said the decree was not the way of Torah and
called on the rabbis of Israel to condemn the ruling.
The Military Rabbinate also weighed in against the ruling, saying
illegal orders were not at issue, and that every soldier is
obligated to obey commands -- as in all democracies.
The ruling, which was issued by the Union of Rabbis for the Land of
Israel, expanded on a previous decree requiring soldiers to disobey
orders to evacuate settlements.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced Wednesday that the
government's legal counsel would investigate and issue a legal
opinion on the ruling.
All of the papers comment on the ruling by a group of rabbis for
soldiers to disobey orders to dismantle IDF bases and settlements
in Judea and Samaria and/or the call by some settler leaders for a
campaign of civil disobedience to resist Government policy in Judea
and Samaria; two, in light of yesterday's confrontation near the
Gush Etzion community of Efrat:
Davar fears that the rabbis' ruling, "is liable to mark the start
of a deep rift in the people, and perhaps even the beginning of a
civil rebellion," yet points out the rabbis who signed the ruling,
"do not now represent the entire spectrum of opinion among
religious-Zionist Jews in Israel, including among the settlements."
Ma'ariv says that the rabbis' ruling, "destroys the bridge that
religious Zionism has built -- in a labor of generations -- between
the secular and Torah worlds," and fear that a crisis is developing
which may, "lead to a split in the people, and even bloodshed." The
paper says that Likud MK's Binyamin Netanyahu and Benny Begin,
"deserve praise for rejecting the ruling on the grounds that it is
anti-democratic," and condemn those who would use religious
arguments, "to ignite the conflagration of civil war between Jews."
Yediot Ahronot notes that whereas only 15 rabbis signed the ruling,
"a larger number of rabbis, and the spokespersons of almost all of
the political parties," have registered their disagreement. The
paper points out that the situation has hardly deteriorated to the
point where, "it is necessary to summon the faithful to the
barricades," and, "hopes that the storm of emotions will subside in
another day or two, on the condition that those who are behind the
initiative do not do anything to rekindle it with excessive
Ha'aretz praises the police for, "acting determinedly and
aggressively," but, "without using excessive force," in
(Wedmesday's) confrontation near Efrat, and believes that, "the
message from yesterday's events is that the Government will not
lose control of the situation." The editors state that the rabbis'
ruling, "severely undermines Israel's democratic norms," but
remind their readers that, "there are still rabbis who oppose
harnessing religious law to a political struggle."
The editors add that Likud Chairman MK Binyamin Netanyahu's quick
rebuke of those Likud MK's who believe that merely hinting at
violating the law will deter the Government, "will aid in the
preservation of democracy and orderly administration in Israel."
The paper says that the Government, "must take strict care that the
law is respected, and has the responsibility to implement it, even
in a politically charged atmosphere," and adds that, "what the
Government does now, with reasonable determination, is likely to
reduce both the scale and trend of violent confrontation in the
Ma'ariv's editors state that, "those who believe that their cause
justifies any action and any sacrifice, are dangerous to the
public," and believe that, "the sparks of civil rebellion must be
extinguished with large firehoses, before the fire spreads."
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