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Rightist Regime Formed in Israel : Coalition: Shamir's new government is committed to expanding settlements and quelling the Palestinian uprising. U.S. peace efforts appear doomed.

June 09, 1990|DANIEL WILLIAMS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Asked in a radio interview if he would encourage the newcomers to settle in the disputed land, Sharon replied, "Israel is a democratic country. Everyone can settle where he wants."

Israeli commentators noted that Levy, a native of Morocco, will be the first Israeli foreign minister not to speak English. On Friday, he pointed out that he speaks good French.

Rafael Eitan, from the small Crossroads Party, is a newcomer to the Cabinet and will head the Agriculture Ministry. Another newcomer, nuclear expert Yuval Neeman, will be science minister.

The commitments made by the new government reaffirm support for Shamir's peace proposal, which included holding elections for a Palestinian negotiating team. But top aides to Shamir have hinted that he will try to take the spotlight off the vote proposal and steer debate to other points in his plan. These include talks with hostile Arab countries and foreign funding to help Palestinian refugees establish themselves in neighboring countries.

"We want the plan to return to its original spirit," said Yosef Ben-Aharon, a senior adviser. Ben-Aharon and other Shamir supporters have accused the United States of distorting Shamir's effort by only emphasizing elections.

Not all of the Cabinet portfolios have been handed out yet. Religious parties are still vying for control of marriage, immigration and social matters as well as funding for education and housing.

One religious group, Shas, reportedly gained control of the Communications Ministry and Israel's broadcasting system.

During the six weeks of coalition talks, Shamir's continued hold on power sometimes seemed to depend as much on his taste in seafood as on as his attitude toward peace talks. One religious leader lambasted him for enjoying shellfish in disregard for Jewish dietary laws.

Technically, Shamir had until midnight to forge a coalition, but the Jewish Sabbath began at sundown and any labor done after dark could have lost him the entire support of the religious parties. He met the deadline by informing President Chaim Herzog by phone of his success.

As part of the coalition agreement, the government has pledged to ban sales of pork, a non-kosher commodity that is treated as a delicacy by some secular Jews in Israel.

The Labor Party, meanwhile, prepared to go into the opposition. Its head, Shimon Peres, the former finance minister and a former prime minister, will probably have to fight off a leadership challenge from rival Yitzhak Rabin, who was minister of defense in the joint government under Shamir.

KEY ISRAELI CABINET MEMBERS

Here are six of the people in Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's new rightist government. Several slots have not been announced yet. Moshe Arens, Defense Minister Protege of Shamir who served as foreign minister in the past government. Like Shamir, favors perpetual Israeli control of occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. David Levy, Foreign Minister Served as housing minister in the last government. Engineered government financial backing for the controversial purchase of a lease on a Greek Orthodox Church building in Jerusalem's Old City on behalf of a militant Jewish nationalist group. Ariel Sharon, Housing Minister As defense minister in 1982, led Israel into Lebanon invasion. Campaigned for Defense Ministry job again. Will have special authority to manage fast-paced arrival of Soviet immigrants and can also possibly channel funds to West Bank and Gaza development. Finance, Agriculture, Science. Three other members are Yitzhak Modai, finance minister; Rafael Eitan, agriculture minister and Yuval Neeman, science minister. Modai, former economics minister, once suggested sending Palestinian stone throwers into exile. In past government, Levy, Sharon and Modai were known as "constraints ministers" because they campaigned against U.S.-brokered peace plan. Eitan is from small Crossroads Party and a newcomer to Cabinet. Chief of staff during Lebanon invasion, he once referred to Palestinians as "cockroaches in a bottle." Neeman is nuclear expert whose Tehiya Party advocates annexing the West Bank and Gaza.

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