Tags: Security | Tight | for | Jewish | Meeting

Security Tight for Jewish Meeting

Friday, 10 November 2000 12:00 AM

Arab groups planned to mobilize thousands of protesters outside the 69th General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, a conference sponsored by the United Jewish Communities, a fund-raising umbrella group for American Jewry.

Representatives of 189 Jewish federations from across United States and elsewhere are scheduled to hear speeches from Barak, who meets with President Clinton in Washington on Sunday, and Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon, whose controversial visit to Jerusalem's Temple Mount in late September touched off six weeks of violence between Palestinians and Israelis that has left more than 200 people dead, most of them Palestinians.

"The whole Jewish world is coming under one roof," said Rabbi Ira Youdovin, executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis.

Police barricades blocked upper Wacker Drive in front of the Hyatt Regency Chicago and officers checked cars parked around the hotel. Traffic was limited to one lane heading west on Wacker, which is divided by a cement median strip.

Palestinian-Americans planned mass demonstrations at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavillion, where Barak is scheduled to speak at a rally Monday evening. In addition to Israeli security, Barak will have U.S. Secret Service protection and the State Department will provide special protection for Sharon.

Because of the crisis in the Middle East, Chicago police say they are ready for trouble and will assign hundreds of officers to both venues. An expanded police presence also was planned in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood where shots were fired at a rabbi sitting in his car Oct. 12. The rabbi was not hit, and police had no suspects. Two Arab-American teens charged with hate crimes for shooting marbles at Jews last month appeared in court Thursday.

Local Arab-American and Jewish leaders said they had met with police about designated areas for pro-Israel and anti-Israel protests during the conclave. Both sides expressed hope there would be no violence or terrorism in Chicago.

"With the events in the past number of weeks, the theme and context of the meetings have been transformed and it will be an occasion for our local community to demonstrate its solidarity with the state of Israel," said Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Copyright 2000 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Arab groups planned to mobilize thousands of protesters outside the 69th General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, a conference sponsored by the United Jewish Communities, a fund-raising umbrella group for American Jewry. Representatives of 189 Jewish...
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Friday, 10 November 2000 12:00 AM
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