S. African Jewish Press Says Donation to Oau Blunder; Israel Says Unna Made Error

South Africa’s Jewish press continued today to reflect the distress felt by the Jewish community here over Israel’s donation of $2,800 in food and medical supplies to the Organization for African Unity. The incident has created a serious breach in the normally friendly relations between the South African and Israeli governments. Most Jewish weeklies endorsed the joint statement issued last Sunday by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the S.A. Zionist Federation which condemned the Israeli donation. The Israeli Ambassador said today the donation was made exclusively on humanitarian grounds in response to a United Nations appeal for aid to victims of natural disasters. Jewish newspapers here called the donation a “regrettable blunder.” The Jewish Times noted however that “It becomes understandable that Israel may from time to time resort to actions which we in South Africa may find unpalatable.” (In Jerusalem today, Foreign Ministry officials were trying to heal the breach which they now attribute to a “mistake” on the part of Israel’s Consul General in Johannesburg, Yitzhak Unna. They claimed that without consulting Jerusalem for the “facts,” Unna made statements which implied that Israel’s donation was prompted by a desire to enhance its political relations with the African states. A Ministry official declined to say whether any action would be taken against Unna. He observed that Unna’s statement conflicted with the official explanation in Jerusalem.)

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