New York (Oct. 13)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban of Israel said in an interview taped last night that while “the last year has not been a bad year, things have not been explosive,” there had also been no progress toward peace and he was not particularly optimistic. “This is the only conflict in which the protagonists are not in any human contact with each other,” he complained on a “David Frost Show “episode to be telecast nationally Oct. 18. Eban also condemned the tactics of the Jewish Defense League, which he said “hinders” the cause of Jews and has “corrupted and degraded” the yearnings of Soviet Jewry. Referring to the JDL chairman, Rabbi Meir Kahane, Eban said “Mr. Kahane” and his colleagues were “more interested in their own publicity.” Eban said he hoped agreement could be reached on a reopening of the Suez Canal, but asserted that the onus for its closing rested on Egypt, not Israel. Eban said a canal pact would create a “climate of confidence,” since “any agreement would breed other agreements” and “I think agreements are infections.”
Eban said he regretted that diplomacy required Israeli and Arab diplomats, at least for now, to ignore each other even in the same elevator. It is “absurd,” he remarked, to “pretend not to see each other.” But, he added, “coexistence (in the Middle East) is inexorable.” He said Egypt’s attitude toward the Jewish State was solely “political,” and thus could not be compared with the “personal” antagonism toward Jews Nazi Germany. Frost announced that Arab representatives had been invited on the show but had declined to appear with an Israel.