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Tel Aviv Newspapers Resent Pressure on So. African Jews Due to Israel’s Position

While there was no official comment here over South African Premier Hendrik Verwoerd’s remarks concerning Israel’s United Nations stand over the South African Apartheid policy, political circles here expressed astonishment that Dr. Verwoerd had connected the Jewish community’s voting record on domestic issues with Israel’s position on international problems.

Premier Verwoerd’s statement that Arab attacks on South Africa were perhaps due to South Africa’s sympathy towards Israel was sharply criticized here as a misinterpretation of facts, and his attempt to compare the Apartheid policy with Israel’s aims in establishing the Jewish State was viewed as utterly spurious.

Israeli press comment was inclined to view Dr. Verwoerd’s intention of warning South African Jewry that they can be held responsible for the foreign policy of Israel as tantamount to putting on pressure here.

Herut, the organ of Israel’s right-wing party, recalled its opposition to Israel’s policy regarding South Africa and its justification of Premier Verwoerd’s disappointment at Israel. Today, Herut editorialized that the South African Government has the right to draw conclusions about Israel but has no right to demand that its Jewish citizens be responsible for Israel’s policy or for their votes in the Republic’s elections. “The threat hinted at in Dr. Verwoerd’s letter is strange and disturbing,” the paper declared.

Davar, organ of Histadrut, Mapam’s Al Hamishmar and Hatzofeh, organ of the National Religious party, all regretted the tone of the Premier’s letter, and were outspoken against any attempt to make South African Jews responsible for Israel’s policy.

Davar noted that Premier Verwoerd’s statement about the Jewish vote in recent elections “would be inconceivable in any country in which the opposition is a recognized and legal political body.” The paper said: “It is our duty to warn the Jews of South Africa, while there is still time, that the fleshpots, by which they are sitting, have dynamite in them.”

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