JERUSALEM (Dec. 6)
Announcement was made here of the signing in Moscow of a Soviet-Israeli trade agreement under which the Soviet Government will purchase citrus fruit from Israel to the value of $2,700,000 and bananas to the value of $200,000 while Israel buys 100,000 tons of crude oil from the Soviet Union.
The announcement was made here as the new Soviet Minister, Alexander Abramov, journeyed to this city from Tel Aviv to present his credentials to President Itzhak Ben Zvi. Considerable significance was attributed here to the fact that the Soviet diplomat thus recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State although the Western Powers, including the United States, refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to have its capital here.
Mr. Abramov came to the President’s residence accompanied by the counsellors of his legation and was met by an Israeli honor guard and a band which played the Soviet anthem in his honor. Premier-designate Moshe Sharett was present as Mr. Abramov handed his credentials to President Ben Zvi and, speaking in Russian, expressed his government’s satisfaction at the resumption of Soviet-Israeli diplomatic relations and its hope for a Soviet-Israel rapprochement that would strengthen international peace which “is the sincere aspiration of the Russian people.”
After the translation of his speech, President Ben Zvi replied in Hebrew which, in turn, was translated into Russian. The President, Mr. Sharett and the Soviet Minister then retired to another room where they conversed in private.
In acknowledging Mr. Abramov’s pledge to “assist in the development of economic and cultural ties between the Soviet Union and Israel for the benefit of both countries.” Mr. Ben Zvi noted that the Soviet Union had supported the United Nations resolution recognizing the rights of the Jewish people for independent status as a state within its homeland and expressed the hope that “the Soviet Union will also show a friendly understanding for our efforts to build up this land and bring in the scattered remnants of the Jewish people who aspire to settlement.”