TEL AVIV (Nov. 26)
Jacob Stein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said here today that six million American Jews are solidly behind Israel and will “bring to bear constructive efforts in support of Israel during the difficult days ahead.” He said their activity was now concentrated on assuring Congressional passage of legislation requested by President Nixon for $2 billion in aid to Israel and on bringing pressure on Syria to agree to a prisoner of war exchange with Israel.
Stein, who arrived today at the head of a 74-member delegation of U.S. Jewish leaders representing the Conference’s 31 national membership groups, said he was carrying a message from President Nixon to Premier Meir which was delivered on the eve of his departure. According to Stein, the letter said in part. “You can be sure that this government remains committed to the security and well-being of the State of Israel and we are taking whatever steps are necessary to continue that support.”
He said that to the best of his knowledge there was no evidence of any American pressure on Israel to accept dictates which Israel considers inimical to its best interests. Stein said that he met with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Joseph J. Sisco before his departure and urged him to maximize U.S. government pressure to secure a POW exchange with Syria which is an essential part of the cease fire agreement.
The Jewish delegation came here for the Presidents Conference second annual seminar. During their four-day stay in Israel which ends Thursday, they will meet with President Ephraim Katzir, Premier Golda Meir and other government and Jewish Agency leaders. The Yom Kippur War caused a change of program of the seminar which had been planned months before it broke out. The Jewish leaders, Stein said will focus on learning “at first hand the impact of the war in terms of its financial impact, its political impact, its military and social impact.”
Yehuda Hellman, executive director of the Presidents Conference, said the program here will include meetings with operators of mass communications media to discuss political information policy. The visitors will also discuss problems of immigration, particularly from North America, Hellman said. He called the delegation the most representative of U.S. Jewry ever to visit Israel.