BUENOS AIRES (Feb. 27)
The DAIA, Argentine Jewry’s central agency, has declared in a statement it is seeking to determine the significance of a comment by Argentine Interior Minister Jose Lopez Riga on Feb. 19 that signatures of Jewish officials on Argentine documents to Libya were not helpful to Argentine interests in Libya. Lopez Riga headed a trade delegation to Libya, which negotiated several agreements between the two countries. He told a meeting of representatives of the Argentine Arab community that he found a “negative atmosphere” in Libya which he attributed to the cablegrams from Jewish officials.
The DAIA said it was seeking to determine the most effective steps to protect the honor and dignity of the Argentine Jewish community and its feeling of solidarity with Israel. Newspapers in Buenos Aires indicated that the comment was aimed at Jose Ber Gelbard, the Argentine Finance Minister who is considered Lopez Riga’s most powerful foe in the Argentine government.
The Welfare Minister’s comment has stirred widespread concern in the Jewish community and has been discussed in the Jewish press. In a recent editorial comment. La Nacion declared that the future of Gelbard was uncertain. Sources said that Lopez Riga and Gelbard constituted two poles of Argentine government strength and any possible shifts in their positions is followed closely by the Jewish community.