TEL AVIV (Aug. 6)
Dr. Nahum Goldmann’s initial plunge into Israeli politics, keyed to the theme that Israel should adopt a neutralist policy between the Eastern and Western blocs, and should also seek integration in the region, sparked widespread discussion throughout Israel today.
In the first two of a series of scheduled election addresses for the Liberal party, Dr. Goldmann described Israel’s foreign policy as no policy at all. Declaring that Israel’s foreign policy had not changed in the past decade, Dr. Goldmann said it was “shortsighted” for Israel not to seek some sort of integration in the region because all present world policies were based on regional groupings. Israel goes to the polls Aug. 15.
The world Jewish leader, speaking to large and enthusiastic crowds, charged that Israel was neglecting Red China which he said would become within a few years a major factor in the world. Presently, he said, there was hatred toward Israel in Red China. He attacked the attitude in Israel of “wait and see and don’t do anything, or staying put, of being afraid to try anything new”.
He urged the neutralization of the Middle East through having both blocs ensure the peace of the region. He warned that time was not working in Israel’s favor and expressed the opinion that neutralization of the Middle East would finally compel the Arabs to give up their dreams of destroying Israel with Communist aid and create the chance that the Arabs might accept Israel as an established fact. He denied that he had ever favored territorial concessions to the Arabs or acceptance of Arab refugees by Israel.
MAPAI CABINET MEMBERS ATTACK DR. GOLDMANN’S PROPOSALS FIERCELY
The Goldmann speeches galvanized the Mapai party, the principal architect of the foreign policy he was so strongly criticizing. The Mapai secretariat called a special session today to discuss what to do but no decision was reached.
Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, irritated by Dr. Goldmann’s attack on the foreign policy for which she is responsible, asked for a clear-cut decision of approval for Mapai speakers to attack Dr. Goldmann. She was seconded by Agriculture Minister Moshe Dayan, However, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Labor Minister Giora Josephtal urged a moderate reaction.
The absence of a formal decision not to attack Dr. Goldmann was taken by Mrs. Meir, Mr. Dayan, Education Minister Abba Eban, Finance Minister Levi Eshkol and Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres as a green light. They fiercely criticized Dr. Goldmann’s peace suggestions and his neutralization proposals, which they said were tantamount to putting Israel under the influence of the other power bloc.
While the Mapai speakers did not deny the right of any Jew to come to Israel and discuss major issues, they argued it was improper for a non-Israeli-Jew to come and “belittle” Israel in the eyes of the world.
Dr. Goldmann apparently was undisturbed by these charges. In his second address in Jaffa he explained his views in a mixture of Yiddish and Hebrew to a large audience which included many new immigrants. He was warmly applauded.
GOLDMANN’S VIEWS ON ARAB-ISRAEL ISSUE DIFFER FROM STANDARD POSITION
In his third major election effort, Dr. Goldmann suggested in a full-page article in Maariv, an Israeli daily, that President Nasser of the United Arab Republic might be sold on accepting Israel if Israel was willing to cooperate in an Arab regional policy.
Among the reactions to Dr. Goldmann’s entry into Israel’s election campaign was that he had injected into the election debate the issue of an Israel-Arab settlement from a point of view other than the standard Israeli position on how best to assure Israel against Arab attack.