Sharon Soars in Polls
Prime Minister Sharon’s Kadima party will sweep the upcoming Israeli election, a new poll says. A Yediot Aharonot survey Monday said that Kadima, which Sharon formed after quitting the ruling Likud Party last month, is expected to take 41 of the Knesset’s 120 seats in the March 2006 national poll. The prime minister’s standing has been boosted by several high-profile Likud defections, including that of Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.
In a surprise move, Mofaz quit Likud on Sunday for Kadima, despite vowing last week that he would stay put. Israel Radio said that Sharon had offered Mofaz the defense portfolio should he win re-election in March.
Mofaz had been expected to lose a Likud primary next week to Benjamin Netanyahu, a former prime minister.
JTA Reporter Beaten
Vladimir Matveyev, JTA’s correspondent in Ukraine, was beaten severely. The incident occurred Monday evening, when unidentified men attacked Matveyev in the entrance of his apartment building in Kiev. He suffered head injuries and a broken clavicle. The attackers also took some valuables, Matveyev’s press cards and a computer disk with some of his recent JTA articles. The incident happened days after the translation of his recent JTA story on antisemitic activities at a university in Kiev was widely circulated in Ukraine. Police have opened an investigation into the incident.
UJC Opposes Budget Cuts
United Jewish Communities joined a group of charitable organizations in expressing opposition to Congress’s proposed federal budget cuts. UJC joined groups, including the Salvation Army and the United Way of America, in a letter to Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives on Monday.
“As Congress finalizes budget legislation in the remaining days of this session, we urge you to maintain the long-standing, bipartisan commitment to federal support for working families and the poor and not include proposed spending cuts or policy changes that would be harmful to the millions of Americans that rely on Medicaid, food stamps, child support and child care,” the letter said.