Brandt Will Not Visit Israel

Chancellor Willy Brandt has no plans for visiting Israel, the Bonn government spokesman stated today in response to current speculation that a visit was envisaged for next March. Bonn government circles disclaimed any knowledge of Israeli-German talks on the subject of Brandt’s visit, which was expected last autumn, but had to be postponed because of the general elections.

One Bonn official said the subject had been raised in Israel on several occasions, but there had been no official contacts, although a possible date was connected with Israel’s 25th anniversary celebrations in May. Spokesmen for Brandt’s Social Democratic Party told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency during the recent elections that Brandt had been “seriously touched” by the personal criticisms to which he had been subjected by the Israeli and Jewish press after the Lufthansa affair last month when the West German government decided to give in to the hijackers’ demands and release the three detained Palestinian terrorists.

Brandt, according to these sources, had been especially upset by a commentary broadcast by the Israeli radio immediately after the Lufthansa incident in which there was a certain parallel drawn between what happened to Jews in Germany 40 years ago and what happens now. According to these sources, Brandt felt as if he was being compared to Hitler himself and took this as a personal insult. Diplomatic observers in Bonn had been waiting for the Chancellor’s decision concerning his invitation to visit Israel in order to determine whether the Munich wounds had been healed or not.

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