KIAMESHA LAKE, N.Y (Oct. 28)
A high ranking Israeli official said here today that there were some small glimmerings of hope in the Arab world that an accommodation with Israel eventually will be reached. Dr. Yaacov Herzog, director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, spoke to delegates at the biennial convention of the United Synagogue of America, the congregational branch of Conservative Judaism.
While peace is still remote and renewed warfare cannot be discounted, he said, “there are signs that in certain Arab circles there is a beginning of an understanding of the historic nature and roots of the State of Israel, and an acceptance, however unwilling, that Israel is a permanent factor in the Middle East scene.”
Dr. Herzog said it would take a long time for the consequences of this understanding to mature. However, he declared, “the iron curtain which has sealed frontiers and minds for over 20 years has been somewhat raised and whatever the future events, it will never come down.”
Dr. Herzog said that the passage of time since the summer of 1967 “has not, as many assume, destroyed all hope of ultimate peace.” He said future historians “will surely register the Six-Day War as the beginning of a new epoch in Arab-Jewish relations.” In the meantime, he asserted, the cease-fire lines have proved impregnable to Arab assault and serious penetration. The patterns of coexistence and communication with the Arabs in the occupied territories have not been seriously disrupted by external pressures and propaganda, he added. “The Arab concept that time is on their side has been disproved by reality,” Dr. Herzog said.
Another speaker, Father Edward H. Flannery, executive secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, scored the failure of “men of religion to press for negotiations between the Arabs and Israel.” Father Flannery urged intellectuals to join with clergy in a concerted effort to achieve a dialogue between Arabs and Israelis.