Israel Resource Review 23rd June, 1997


Hanegbi Ducks Commitment Regarding Extradition
by Aaron Lerner
Director, IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
22nd June, 1997

Minister of Justice Tzachi Hanegbi said in an interview published in Haaretz on January 22nd that "I plan soon to submit requests for the extradition of the murderers of Ita and Efraim Tzur and if this request is not fulfilled I will demand that the negotiations with the Palestinians unilaterally stop."

IMRA asked the spokeswoman for the Minister of Justice last week if there has been any change in Hanegbi's position linking the talks to the extradition request.

The spokeswoman replied today that "the requests were submitted at the end of March and the talks are frozen."

The spokeswoman also told IMRA that the Israeli government has not yet presented a request to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the transfer of the three terrorists from the Tzurif Hamas cell that the PA has been holding since early April so they can be prosecuted in Israel. The cell was responsible for a series of murderous attacks, including the kidnap-murder of Sharon Edry.

On May 1st, the spokeswoman explained that the Ministry of Justice is preparing the request and that it is not yet possible to predict when the request will be completed.

Today the spokeswoman said that the matter was still under the investigation of the security branches.

A number of government and opposition MK's have come out in support of the Edry family's call for Israel to demand the immediate transfer of the three terrorists for trial and Minister of Justice Hanegbi also made several public statements calling on the PA to transfer the terrorists at the time.

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Violence Attributed to an Ethnic group: The Appropriate Response?
by David Bedein, MSW
Media Research Analyst
Beit Agron International Press Center, Jerusalem

When violence is attributed to any ethnic group, whether they are traditional Orthodox Jews near the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a group of Blacks in an American city, or whatever group is identified with violent action, you have a choice: to react with your head or your gut.

Your gut tells you to condemn that group outright, and to promote hatred of that group. Your head should tell you otherwise, that is, to appeal to that group to reign in their people who commit any acts of violence.

The violent act of some Jews in traditional garb near the Western Wall speaks for itself. An act to be condemned by all circles. On the evening that followed the Shavuot holdiday when it occurred, our news agency called every traditional Rabbinic leader in both Ashkenazic and Sephardic circles, including the highest Rabbinic authorities in both camps. There was not one Rabbi who did not express his disgust with the violence, no matter what he felt about non-Orthodox Judaism. Yet when I opened up the Israeli and foreign media and followed the electronic media the next day, I discovered that not one news agency had bothered to interview the leadership of the traditional Orthodox "Haredi" world. I called the four Israeli talk shows and varying foreign media and presented the names of each of the "Haredi" Rabbinic authorities - Rabbis Elyashiv, Waldenberg and Wosner whom I suggested that the media interview for an authoritative view on the subject.

The answer that I got was the same from each media outlet was the same: That is not the story that we are looking for. Instead, the talk show producers and pundits looked for any Orthodox Jew who would not condemn the act, until they found one.

Only a few weeks ago, a prominent pundit in an major Israeli newspaper asked when the voices of reason would ever be heard from the traditional circles of Orthodox Jewish leadership.

That is not the issue. The question is whether any mainstream media will ever quote such a perspective. It just does not fit the script.

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Questions to the Conservative Movement in Israel
by David Bedein, MSW
Media Research Analyst
Beit Agron International Press Center, Jerusalem

I have been intimately connected to the dialogue that has tried to reach a compromise that will be satisfactory to all people involved. I have written in a previous issue of Israel Resource Review, of a proposal to integrate and involve the enthusiasm and energy of non-Orthodox movements in Israel into the framework of informal Jewish education in Israel - especially in community centers and summer camps throughout the country. My positive experience in this regard speaks for itself.

We have to draft the professionalism of the Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Havurah movements to fight the antisemitism - Israel style - promulgated by some Jews in our country.

The two questions that I have concerning the further involvement of the Conservative movement in the polemics of the Who is a Jew issue include:

1. In Israel, the Conservative movement has joined the HEMDAT coalition, which is litigating for the opening of a shopping center in north Tel Aviv that is owned and operated by a Shomer Shabbat Jew, Mr Lev Leviav.

How can the Conservative movement resolve this with its commitment to Halacha?

2. In Israel, the Conservative movement aligns itself with the Reform, calling for the recognition of all non-Orthodox Rabbis. Yet there are some Rabbis who perform interfaith marriages, same sex marriages, (as happened in Tel Aviv last week), and marriages between people whose fathers - not mothers - are Jewish.

How can the Conservative movement resolve this with its commitment to Halacha?

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