TEL AVIV (Jan. 23)
The Soviet Government has agreed to sell its land holdings in Israel to the Israel Government, it was reported here today in Maariv, leading evening newspaper. The report said that the Soviet Government asked for $4,500,000 for the properties and that Israel suggested $3,000,000 with two-thirds of the payment to be made in citrus fruits.
The Russian move was believed to stem from the Soviet need for foreign currency to finance wheat purchases throughout the world. Moscow a agreement in principle to the transaction was conveyed by Soviet Ambassador M’khail Bodrov to Premier Levi Eshkol at their meeting yesterday which was devoted mainly to an explanation of Israel’s stand on the disputed Jordan River irrigation project, Maariv reported.
Soviet property in Israel includes the Russian compound in Jerusalem, located in the center of the city, and some holdings in Tel Aviv and Haifa. Most of the land is registered in the name of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was hoped here that the transaction would pave the way for resumption of Israeli citrus exports to Russia which Moscow suspended following the 1956 Sinai campaign.