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Peres Rebuked by Cabinet Colleagues for Public Optimism on French-israel Ties

Transport Minister Shimon Peres was sharply rebuked by several of his Cabinet colleagues at yesterday’s meeting for stating publicly that Franco-Israeli relations have improved. The ministers also rebuked Israel’s Ambassador to Paris, Asher Ben Nathan, for making similar statements to Israeli journalists in France, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned, Peres told newsmen on his return from a visit to France last week that France’s attitude toward Israel had improved noticeably in recent months. While in Paris he discussed the laying of a new undersea cable between France and Israel and a new Franco-Israeli aviation agreement. Critics of his statement claimed that it was not true that relations with Paris had improved and that even if it were true, it was premature to state it in public.