NEW YORK (Jan. 25)
Howard Ruff, a widely-followed, strongly conservative investment counsellor, has vigorously defended a report he made in his bi-monthly newsletter on a recent Mideast visit in which he asserted Israel would never give up the Golan Heights.
He also wrote that “by transferring the Golan Heights from military to civilian rule, Israel formally ratified a reality which has existed from 1967, giving its inhabitants all the rights of other Israeli citizens.”
Reporting on reaction from his readers, whom he has elsewhere described as the “hard-working, responsible citizens who have made the United States the hope of the world,” Ruff declared in the January 6 issue of “The Ruff Times” that “it has been some time since I’ve received as many heated protest letters as I did from the article.”
Ruff, who has gained widespread attention for his prediction that the American economy is almost certain to suffer a catastrophic hyperinflation, followed by an equally severe deflation, is a Mormon with no public record of support or hostility to Israel.
He claims 60,000 subscribers for his newsletter, has written three books and appears frequently on television talk shows. He has asserted that his major book, “How To Prosper During the Coming Bad Years,” (1979) “is now the biggest best seller on money in the history of American publishing.”
REJECTS CHARGE OF ANTI-SEMITISM
Ruff reported he had received letters from Orthodox Jews about his Golan report, calling him anti-Semitic, a description he described as “absurd.” He declared he felt such letters had been stimulated by “my comments about the Orthodox Jews of Israel who want to change the citizenship requirements in Israel to admit only Orthodox Jews as citizens.”
This presumably was Ruff’s understanding of the campaign by Israel’s Orthodox rabbinate and political parties, strongly supported by Orthodox Jews in America, to change the Law of Return to reject the Jewish status of would-be immigrants who had been converted to Judaism under non-Orthodox auspices in the diaspora.
He reported also that he had been accused by “rightwing anti-Semites claiming the exact opposite — that I had given in to the ‘Zionist conspiracy’.”
OUTLINES ITS GOAL
Rejecting all such criticisms. Ruff declared, in his January 6 rebuttal, that his goal had been to give his readers some background about “the forces at work in that important corner of the world, its potential for war or peace, and its impact on precious metal investments.” Ruff has continually urged his readers to make regular purchases of gold coins to help them cope with his predicted economic crisis.
He asserted repeatedly, in his rebuttal, that he had made his visit to Israel as an investment advisor, without regard to politics, except as politics affected the prospects for investments related to Middle East developments.
In reiterating his description of a trip along the east side of the Sea of Galilee, bordering the Golan Heights, Ruff wrote that he had tried to explain to his readers why the Golan was so crucial to Israel’s security after 19 years of Syrian shelling, before the Six-Day War, of Galilean villages. He wrote that most of the victims had been “women and children innocently going about their daily activities.”
He added that Israel had “verified my forecast,” made in his initial report, “by annexing the Golan.” He added that Israel simply could not exist as a nation “with any degree of security” as long as Syria held the Golan Heights.
Ruff noted that Israel has repeatedly asked Syria for negotiations on the Golan and that Syria “has not only refused, but in the most inflammatory terms, rejected even the tiny, tentative steps toward a peace accommodation proposed by Saudi Arabia.”
TERMS U.S. REACTION ‘HYPOCRITICAL’
He described the reaction by the Reagan Administration and that of many of the media to the Israeli action as “hypocritical. Whether or not you like Israel — and Israel is sometimes pretty hard to like –we must recognize the reality of their need to exist as a nation. ” Ruff repeated that the Israelis “cannot give up the Golan Heights as long as the alternative is for those mountains to be occupied by a state dedicated to their destruction.”
Ruff noted that, from the Reagan Administration’s viewpoint, “the timing was wrong” and that the Administration was not notified in advance by Israel, “which was embarrassing.”
SUGGESTS RATIONALE FOR ISRAEL’S GOLAN MOVE
Turning briefly to political speculation, Ruff declared that the Israelis had “perhaps” taken the Golan action because they know that “they are going to be drawn into some very serious negotiations and are establishing very strong negotiating positions in advance” or “perhaps they have concluded there will be no negotiations and that they will have to be more and more dependent on their own resources.”
Ruff said he felt that the Israelis now consider the United States “an undependable ally,” which he said was symptomatic of a “bunker mentality.”
He emphasized that the principal lesson of his Mideast visit he wanted his readers to understand was that, “other than inflation and monetary irresponsibility” on the part of U.S. government money managers, “the potential for war in the Middle East is the most important single investment factor” which “the hard money investor” must consider.
Ruff concluded that “the Middle East will remain a hot spot, ” with grave implications for investment decisions, and that “if it isn’t Israel, it might be Iran or Egypt or Lebanon.”