TEL AVIV (Feb. 12)
High officials of Israel’s Foreign Office met today to discuss the situation arising from Moscow’s breaking off diplomatic relations with the Jewish State. It is assumed here that other Communist countries may follow Moscow’s lead and sever relations with Israel in order to make it impossible for Jews in these countries to maintain contact with Jewry abroad.
Soviet Minister Pavel Yershov today telephoned the Foreign Office here asking whether the Soviet note announcing the Kremlin’s decision to end relations with Israel had been received, and stating that he was prepared to deliver the note in the event it had not been received as yet. In the meantime, he requested diplomatic protection until he and his staff is ready to leave the country.
It was indicated today that the Israel Government has already requested one country–presumably Switzerland–to represent her interests in Moscow. It was also indicated that Israel will grant exit visas to members of the Soviet legation staff in Tel Aviv when the members of the Israeli legation staff in Moscow receive their visas to leave the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, the Soviet legation was put under the protection of a heavy guard of frontier policemen, armed with Sten guns. Similarly armed guards were posted about Russian churches and other Soviet property.
GOVERNMENT WILL MAKE REPLY TO MOSCOW IN PARLIAMENT
Political circles expressed the opinion that the U.S.S. R. ‘s fastening on the bombing of its legation here to break off diplomatic relations with Israel was a pretext. particularly in view of Israel’s offer of indemnity for damage and injuries. This move will mean “black days” for the Jews in the Soviet Union, these circles declared, because the hoisting of the Israel flag in Moscow represented “their only hope” and that flag will no longer fly in Moscow.
These circles expressed doubt that the Israel Foreign Ministry would have any statement to make on the diplo matic break. The only statement made by the government is expected to be voiced in Parliament.
The loading of citrus fruits for Russia was stopped this morning at the port of Haifa until further notice. About 30,000 cases of oranges were loaded yesterday on an Israeli ship before the news of the diplomatic break was received.