ISRAEL - Aug. 1 - Pres. Katsav Takes Office.
(The 55-year-old Katsav, an Iranian immigrant who grew up in a tent camp for immigrants and later became Israel's youngest elected mayor at 24, has served in the Knesset since 1977 and has held a number of posts throughout the years. Katsav has been deputy minister of housing and construction [1981-84], minister of labour and social affairs [1984-88], minister of transport [1988-92], and minister of tourism and deputy prime minister [1996-1999]. He also served as minister in charge of Israeli Arab affairs, and was chairman of the conservative Likud Party's Knesset faction.) Likud leader Sharon says the vote was a message that the Knesset was not behind the PM's path to the ME peace, but Barak insists that - regardless of any Knesset vote - the Israeli people do support him. Peres says he was not bitter about the vote and was looking to the future, saying the next 90 days were critical for Israel. Peres says: "It is a sad and difficult morning. I see this as the moment of truth for the country. The next 90 days will determine our destiny". He says: "We must in the next 3 months try to complete the peace process with the Palestinians for 2 reasons: 1st, because the process is already in its last stage, not much has to be invested in order to complete it. 2nd, if it fails it will be a terrible blow to Israel's future. I truly fear for the future of Israel". (Just a few hours after the presidential vote, Barak survived a vote of no-confidence.)
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat Recorder|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Aug 5, 2000|
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