Israel Emphasizes Neutrality in Us Presidential Campaign

The Israel Government, at its highest levels, is taking great pains to maintain a posture of neutrality in the American election campaign. Highly placed Government sources dismissed as “absurd” today, an American press report that Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin has been reprimanded for taking a less than neutral position in public.

Premier Golda Meir stated Friday that “Israel’s policy–past, present and future–is never to involve itself in the domestic policies of any country” and that “it is self evident that this applies with respect to the United States.” She expressed confidence “that this policy is being carefully observed by Israeli representatives abroad.”

The latest reassurances of Israel’s neutrality stemmed from reports last week that aides to Sen. George McGovern (D.-SD) had protested to Premier Meir against alleged politicking on behalf of President Nixon by the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Premier Meir’s office denied that any such protests were received and Sen. McGovern’s campaign headquarters in New York subsequently denied that any were made.

(Sen. Abraham A. Ribicoff (D.Conn.). a McGovern supporter, said in Washington Friday that he was satisfied with Premier Meir’s statement of Israel’s neutrality in the election campaign. He said he had asked Ambassador Rabin about the “disturbing” reports to the contrary and was given Mrs. Meir’s statement in response. “I hope that this unequivocal statement by Prime Minister Meir will help clear the air and bring this issue to an end.” Sen. Ribicoff said.)

The Washington Post reported yesterday that Ambassador Rabin had been told by his superiors to watch his words and not get involved in the US elections. Highly placed Government sources here said today that no such reprimand was given. They conceded that during an election year, anything the Ambassador might say could be misinterpreted by either one of the political parties. They stressed however that Israel has always striven for the support of both major American parties and would do nothing that could make support for Israel an election issue in the US.

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