Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Israel's Minister of the Interior, Avraham Poraz

Saw Avraham Poraz speak at the ADL this morning. He didn't speak for
very long; it was about half-speech and half-questions.

Among the things I heard at the meeting:

The ADL has been meeting with the PMs and FMs in town for the UN
General Assembly (convenient, since they are right across the street). The new Egyptian FM, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, is apparently a smoothie.
Gheit was asked by the ADL what it would it would mean if
Egyptian-Israeli relations were normalized; one of the things he
mentioned was a pipeline, and Poraz agreed with that assessment.
(Does anyone know what happened the Ahmed Maher?)

Mostly, Poraz talked about the Shinui agenda and disengagement. He's
apparently a diehard - he was there at the founding of the party 30
years ago. He wants, first and foremost, for Conservative and
Reform conversions to be recognized so that young couples do not have
to go to Cyprus to get married. He wants a separation between
synagogue and state.

My take on this guy (and I didn't get a straight answer when I asked)
is that he's as much interested in being anti-religious as he is in
being a secularist, and on that basis, I am not sure he is good for
Israel. Some things, like breaking the Orthodox monopoly, are
important, but this guy seems like the type who will not be able to do
without being needlessly offensive. Militant secularity is in its own
way as bad as militant religion.

He had basically nice things to say about Israeli Arabs, and took
pains to inform the gathered audience that he did not view them as a
big problem, primarily because he thinks most of them are happy where
they are, in Israel.


At 9:10 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

I don't know what happened to poor old Ahmed, but I certainly have my guesses, very grim once at that. And Chopen's "Funeral March" for some reason is resonating through my mind.


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