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Lebanese Representatives Use Visit of Patriarch As Pretext to Assail Israel

Msgr. George Hakim formerly of Haifa. Greek Catholic Patriarch for the Orient and a former member of Histadrut in Israel, visited this city and took time out to confer with leaders of the Mexican Church about the situation of Christians in Israel and the Arab countries. He refrained from attacking the Israeli government and did not mention the Middle East conflict. But representatives from Lebanon used his visit as a pretext for attacking Israel. The Israeli embassy here countered the attack by citing the Patriarch’s loyalty and charged that the Lebanese were using his name for intrigues against Israel. On January 6, however, Msgr. Hakim was quoted as branding Israel as a “thief” and an “aggressor” during an interview with newsmen in Caracas after protesting to them that he was a “non-political” person and should not be asked “political questions.”