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Israeli Delegation Repudiates Tass

A member of the Israeli delegation currently visiting the Soviet Union as guests of the Russian Peace Committee has denied that two of his colleagues had told their hosts that Israel must withdraw from the occupied Arab territories. According to Tass, the Soviet news agency, such statements were made by Yaacov Riftin, a former Mapam leader, and Ruth Luvitch, a member of Israel’s New Communist Party. Riftin was expelled from Mapam recently for holding views too far left. But according to James Jacob Rosenthal, former parliamentary correspondent of “Haaretz,” no such statement was made by Riftin or Luvitch.

Rosenthal, in a telephone conversation from Leningrad to the Israel Broadcasting Service, said, “We have made it quite clear to everyone that we do not represent prevailing opinion in Israel.” The group visiting the USSR are members of the Israel Peace Committee. They are the first non-Communist delegation invited to tour the Soviet Union since diplomatic relations were broken off during the Six-Day War. The group returned to Moscow after visiting Kishinev and Leningrad. Rosenthal reported that while in Russia he had not met any ordinary Jewish citizens and did not know if any other members of the delegation had. He said he was not “innocent enough” to believe he was shown everything.

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