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Israel Will Send Delegation to French Air Show–a Sign of Rapprochement?

A major break-through in the cool Franco-Israeli relations that prevailed under former President Charles de Gaulle was seen today with the announcement that Israelis will attend the May 29 international air show here. Air show authorities said last night that an invitation to the show had been extended to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and that an Israeli delegation will attend. It was understood that Gen. Zvi Tsur, special adviser to the ministry, will head it.

Earlier this year the French Defense Ministry, headed by Pierre Messmer, said France had decided not to invite any delegations from Mideast countries. The decision to reverse the invitation policy apparently came following Gen. de Gaulle’s resignation last month. Political observers here (and in Jerusalem) were speculating whether the first step had been taken toward a rapprochement that might involve lifting of the de Gaulle embargo on 50 Mirage jets that Israel had paid for but never received. The air show is run annually by the French Defense Ministry.

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