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Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

Rabin Cultivates Support in L.A. for Peace Efforts

November 17, 1994|LISA RESPERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bringing a message of Middle East peace and continued U.S. support of Israel, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin met with leaders of the Jewish community and entertainment industry in Los Angeles on Wednesday to drum up support from American Jews for his country's peace process.

Speaking to members of the Jewish Federation Council at the Century Plaza Hotel and Tower on Wednesday morning, Rabin talked about the strides that have been made against anti-Semitism.

"Today, if I look around, the danger, the physical danger, to a Jewish community because they are Jewish has diminished greatly," Rabin said.

The prime minister--who later Wednesday received the 1994 Ronald Reagan Freedom Award at the Beverly Hilton hotel--discussed the Israeli government's attempts to bring Jews to Israel from other world communities. Rabin said nearly 600,000 Jews relocated to Israel this year.

Rabin took a hard stance against "Islamic radical extremists" who he said are attempting to daunt efforts at political harmony by Israel and other countries through terrorist acts.

"They are the enemies of peace," Rabin said.

Rabbi Harvey Fields, committee chairman of community relations for the federation, said he appreciated Rabin's candor.

"I was really pleased," Fields said. "He was very forthright about Iran being the money source behind terrorist activities."

Rabin also stressed the importance of American Jews visiting Israel and was there to witness the presentation of a $500,000 check to the federation from the Zeiglar Foundation. The money will be used as a beginning grant to aid American Jewish teen-agers who want to spend a summer in Israel.

Officials said Rabin's visit to Los Angeles is indicative of his desire to touch base with the American Jewish community while raising awareness about the need for cooperation and financial partnership between the United States and Israel.

Rabin's speech came the day before his visit to Denver, the site of a convention beginning today of Jewish federations from throughout the nation.

In the afternoon, Rabin attended a star-studded luncheon hosted by entertainment industry mogul David Geffen at Morton's in West Hollywood. The luncheon drew such celebrities as Barbra Streisand, Richard Dreyfuss, Warren Beatty, Annette Benning and Elizabeth Taylor, as well as studio heads and executives.

Wednesday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Rabin shared the Reagan Freedom Award with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Jordan's King Hussein. Ceremonies for Arafat and Hussein have not yet been arranged. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan presented the award to Rabin, but the former President, who disclosed Nov. 5 that he has Alzheimer's disease, did not attend.

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