Shamir's Exquisite Dilemma

Whatever partner he chooses, the country faces a no-win situation

Yitzhak Shamir is virtually besieged. Infuriated American Jewish leaders have descended on Jerusalem to berate the Prime Minister for promising to meddle with Israel's definition of who is a Jew. Thousands of angry calls and letters flooded his office, and secular Israelis took to the streets to denounce religious coercion. Acknowledged one Shamir aide: "I'd say he's got a bit of a problem on his hands. Blood pressures are soaring."

The unprecedented uproar from U.S. Jews complicates Shamir's exquisite dilemma. His Likud bloc must either embrace the religious and right-wing parties to form a narrow coalition at odds with most American...

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