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Sen., Church Says Israel Neutral Toward U.S. Presidential Campaign

Sen. Frank Church (D. Idaho) said last night that he had concluded from his brief visit to Israel that the Israel government does not favor President Nixon or Sen. George McGovern in the American presidential elections and has adopted a stance of strict neutrality between them.

Church said at a press conference prior to his departure that this point had been repeatedly emphasized to him by the Israeli government leaders he spoke to including Premier Golda Meir, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and other Cabinet ministers. The Senator observed that it would be foolish for Israel to take sides in the American elections because the outcome would not alter US policy toward Israel.

Church said that during his five-day visit he gained the impression that Israel was willing to make compromises in the interest of peace with its neighbors but stood firm on certain basic points such as direct negotiations and refusal to yield East Jerusalem to Jordan. He said the Holy City is, and should remain, Israel’s capital “and we (the US) would be well advised to move our Embassy there.”

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