JERUSALEM (Sep. 10)
The tenth anniversary of the signing of the Israel West German reparations agreement was marked here today with a statement issued by Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, a special program broadcast by Kol Israel, the state radio network, and by editorials in the country’s leading newspapers.
The statement by the Finance Minister–which was prepared prior to Mr. Eshkol’s departure for Europe and the United States and released today–said that the Bonn Government had fully and precisely carried out the agreement in accordance with the declared aim to compensate for the material damage caused by Hitler and his criminal regime.
Participating speakers in the broadcast commemorating the anniversary included Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany; Moshe Sharett, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive; Pinhas Sapir, Minister of Commerce and Industry; Dr. Eliezer Shinnar, head of the Israel Mission in Cologne; and Professor Franz Boehm, who headed the West German delegation at the Luxembourg reparations negotiations.
Davar, official organ of the Histadrut, declared in its editorial that, although the agreement has been implemented correctly and the payments were even accelerated, it cannot be regarded as any kind of atonement for the terrible crimes committed against the Jews. “It represented at most a modest restoration of stolen Jewish property, the proceeds of which were used for the economic absorption of tens of thousands of refugees who went through the hell of concentration camps, ” the paper declared.
Haaretz, independent daily newspaper, noted that it was extremely difficult to imagine the development of Israel’s economy for the past decade without reparations. At the same time, it said that the failure of the Bonn Government to establish diplomatic relations with Israel was an example of “faint-heartedness. “
The English-language daily, the Jerusalem Post, lauded the decision 10 years ago that Israel participate in the agreement citing the foresight in divesting the question of its bloodstained emotional context. “The agreement was vindicated both from the political and economic angles, ” the Post declared.