NEW YORK (Jan. 15)
Ambassador David Rivlin, Israel’s Consul General in New York, told a conference of area Jewish leaders yesterday that U.S. efforts to bring about a settlement at Geneva between Israel and Egypt were enhanced by what appeared to be the Soviet Union’s support of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s role as mediator. The meeting was called by the newly-formed Ad Hoc Emergency Actions. Committee for Israel, a metropolitan area Jewish leadership group. Jacob Stein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, presided. The meeting was attended by some 100 leaders of local affiliates of Presidents Conference member organizations.
Rivlin said the USSR needed a link between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf and was therefore particularly interested in plans to re-open the Suez Canal. On this score, he continued, Israel would insist that any agreement on the separation of forces include the principle of free navigation for Israeli shipping in the Suez Canal, plus the restoration of civilian life in the Egyptian cities along the canal.
In his remarks, Stein outlined a series of proposed actions to be undertaken in New York in support of demands that Syria publish a list of Israeli war prisoners and permit the International Red Cross to visit them. Representations to the United Nations and the Department of State will be included in these plans, Stein said.
Yehuda Hellman, executive director of the Presidents Conference, reported on his recent visits to European Jewish communities and his conversations with their leaders attending the World Conference of Jewish Organizations (COJO) meeting in Zurich, Switzerland. On Hellman’s recommendation, the meeting voted to send a telegram of “solidarity and commonality of concern” to the Jewish community of Great Britain, which he said was confronted by a strongly pro-Arab government policy and whose leaders were threatened with physical attack. He praised the “courage and determination” of Edward Sieff, London Jewish philanthropist and Zionist leader, who survived an assassination attempt last month by an unidentified assailant believed to be an Arab terrorist.