Israel Awaits Moscow’s Reply on Protest over Diplomat’s Kidnapping
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Israel Awaits Moscow’s Reply on Protest over Diplomat’s Kidnapping

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Israel was impatiently awaiting today a Soviet reply to its protest against the kidnapping and third degree torture of Eliahu Chazan, attache at Israel’s Embassy in Moscow, by Soviet secret agents.

Meanwhile, the members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee have been summoned back from their summer vacation to meet here early next week to consider the implications of this violation of diplomatic immunity of the Israeli attache.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman refused to discuss possible action by the Israel Government if the reply to its protest is unsatisfactory, stating that no decision on such a matter had been reached. Indicating there was no hard and fast rule on how soon a protest on the diplomatic level should be answered, the spokesman did note that a speedy reply was customary. If a lengthy investigation is required, he pointed out, it is customary to issue a preliminary reply.


Considerable fear of new outbreaks of Soviet anti-Semitism following the kidnapping and mistreatment of Chazan, was voiced here today in circles close to the government and in the Israeli press. The Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, has refrained from crystallizing opinion of the motivation for the Soviet Union, pending receipt of fuller reports from Joseph Avidar, Israel’s Ambassador to Moscow, and from Mr. Chazan who arrived here today.

Speculation about the latest Soviet action against Israel centers about two possible motives: a new Communist effort to gain Arab sympathies by the usual device of displaying hostility toward Israel; and an effort to frighten Soviet Jewry which, in a mass demonstration, expressed its friendship for Israel during the recent Moscow Youth Festival.

Thousands of Jews travelled as much as 2,000 miles just to see and talk to the Israeli young folks at the festival. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Jews attended each performance by Israeli youth artists despite desperate attempts by the Soviet authorities to prevent such demonstrations by last-minute changes of time and place of performance.

It was pointed out here today that this is not the first such attempt by the Soviet authorities to use anti-Israel provocation to attempt to frighten the Russian Jews whose Jewish solidarity and pro-Israel sentiments have not been broken.

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