TEL AVIV (Feb. 21)
The opposition between the two Communist factions in Israel intensified this weekend as both officially adopted opposite positions on the World Conference on Soviet Jewry opening this week in Brussels. While the anti-Soviet Communist faction, Maki, headed by Dr. Moshe Sneh, adopted a resolution calling on Russia to “open its doors for those Jews wishing to go to Israel and grant those Jews who would stay behind all national rights in religious and cultural fields, the pro-Soviet Rakach faction, headed by Meir Wilner, Saturday condemned the Brussels convention as “organized by the Israeli government and the World Zionist Organization against the interests of peace and of improving relations with Russia.” The Wilner faction convened especially on Saturday–apparently. observers believe, upon instructions from Moscow–to adopt this resolution. At the same time there were reports from Moscow that the Soviet government formally protested to the Belgian Embassy in Moscow that Belgian authorities “are not taking measures to prevent the holding of an openly anti-Soviet act.” This protest, released by Tass, followed a two-part series last week in Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, which contained the warning to Soviet Jews that anyone advocating Zionist views would “automatically become an agent of international Zionism and hence an enemy of the Soviet people.” This was seen as an ominous threat to those Soviet Jews who have been campaigning for emigration and against the Soviet policy towards the three million Jews in the USSR. Izvestia, the government paper, however, asserted that Soviet authorities would continue to permit Jews to emigrate to Israel.
Meanwhile, former Premier David Ben-Gurion, accompanied by Labor Party secretary Arieh Eliav, left from Tel Aviv today for Brussels to participate in the conference. Before his departure, Ben-Gurion told newsmen that Sadat’s latest offer might hold hope for peace, but without guarantees of peace. no withdrawal should be made. The former Premier also disclosed that he was now working on a new volume of his memoirs. Ben-Gurion, addressing the Hadassah mid-winter conference on Saturday night, declared: “Israel has a worse enemy to fear than the Russians–China. According to the former Premier. China is a threat to Israel because her destruction fits in with China’s aim of world domination. He also told the delegation, “The Jewish State does not yet exist,” explaining that his remark was justified by the fact that only 17 percent of the world Jewish population live in Israel, a position he called “unique and dangerous.”