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President of Bundestag Renews Call for Diplomatic Ties with Israel

Dr. Eugen Gerstenmaier, president of the Bundestag, West Germany’s lower House, renewed his call yesterday for diplomatic relations with Israel, asserting that West Germany was “morally obligated” to seek such relations.

He spoke at the opening in Cologne of an exhibit of the 2, 000-year history of Rhenish Jews and stressed the need for a “normalization” of relations between the two countries, despite “difficulties and certain risks” involved for West Germany. This was understood to be a reference to the opposition of the Bonn Foreign Ministry to such ties out of fears that the Arab countries might react by recognition of Communist East Germany.

There are 2, 200 objects on loan from 15 countries in the exhibit, including ancient volumes, prayerbooks, medieval ordinances and pictures and documents of the Nazi destruction of the ancient Jewish Communities that lived on the banks of the Rhine from the Swiss to the Netherlands borders.