JERUSALEM (Jun. 26)
Premier Golda Meir reiterated today her government’s policy of strict neutrality in the controversy between the Nixon Administration and the U.S. Congress over how to deal with the issue of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union.
Replying to questions in the Knesset, Mrs. Meir said that Israel valued the efforts of Sen. Henry M. Jackson but “cannot and should not take a stand when differences of opinion flare between Congress and the President of the U.S. on how to deal with the issue of Soviet Jewish emigration.”
Sen Jackson, a Washington Democrat, is author of an amendment that would deny Moscow U.S. trade concessions unless obstacles to emigration are removed. Mrs. Meir said, “We hold in esteem the efforts of the U.S. government on behalf of Soviet Jews.”
She said that in her meetings last March with Administration and Congressional leaders “whose efforts we value. I stressed the seriousness of Soviet Jewry’s plight.” She said there has been “a certain easting of the situation as regards the diploma tax” but “difficulties attached to the emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union still exist, to my sorrow.”
In reply to another question, Premier Meir said the government’s controversial 1970 decision to build a residential suburb at Nebi Samwil in former Jordanian territory north of Jerusalem still stands despite delays in starting construction. Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem has opposed the project as unnecessary and unwise. His principal objection is that it will encourage creeping urbanization in a naturally beautiful area just outside Jerusalem.