Israel Government Silent on De Gaulle Resignation, but Man in Street is Happy

There was no official reaction here today over the resignation of President Charles de Gaulle following his defeat in yesterday’s national referendum in France. But the Israeli man-in-the-street, to whom Gen. de Gaulle was an arch villain because of his pro-Arab policies and embargo on military materiel to Israel made no effort to conceal his delight over the French leader’s downfall. The state-owned Kol Israel radio also abandoned some diplomatic inhibitions to broadcast songs and other material that clearly ridiculed the 78-year-old former President.

Commentators expressed the hope that Israel’s 50 Mirage jets, frozen for two years by the de Gaulle embargo, would soon be delivered. But some cautioned that no drastic changes could be expected in French policy toward Israel at least until a new President is elected and possibly for a long time afterwards.

A few commentators tempered their elation over Gen. de Gaulle’s departure with recollections of his valiant fight for French survival against the Nazis in World War II. They said that despite the “inglorious end” of his political leadership, the General’s merits far outweighed his shortcomings when viewed over the perspective of his entire career.

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