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Ford Pledges Continuing U.S. Support to Israel As He Welcomes Rabin at the Nation’s Capital

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President Ford pledged continuing support to Israel in welcoming Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin to Washington today. Rabin responded that he was confident of returning to Jerusalem assured of American cooperation with his country and advancement on the road to peace. Ford and Rabin exchanged remarks in a glittering ceremony on the south lawn of the White House. Approximately 1500 persons, many of them carrying Israeli and American flags, cheered the two leaders as they emerged from the White House with their wives.

Among those present were Secretary of State and Mrs. Henry A. Kissinger and Israeli Ambassador and Mrs. Simcha Dinitz, Dinitz, who was hospitalized two weeks ago, looked fit and ready for the four days of talks that began immediately at the White House between Ford and Rabin. Rabin had arrived at Dulles Airport and was flown by helicopter to the White House.

Ford, praising Rabin as the “leader of a great country,” said that “the United States is proud of its association with Israel.” When the President declared, “We shall continue to stand with the State of Israel,” he was greeted with a round of applause. “We are committed to Israel’s survival and security.” Ford added that “we hope and trust that this relationship” of cooperation in many fields “will grow and expand.”

Referring to the movement for peace in the Middle East initiated by the United States and in which the Rabin-Ford talks form a major element, the President said Israel had cooperated and has been helpful and expressed confidence that in their talks a further contribution to peace will be made.

STRONG ISRAEL, A GUARANTEE FOR PEACE

In his response, Rabin indicated he will seek assurances of a continued strong Israel to ensure peace in the Mideast. Referring to Ford’s inaugural speech in which the President said that a strong America is a guarantee for peace, Rabin pointed out that this “also is true for Israel in its part of the world.” Alluding to Israel’s numerous problems–economic, diplomatic and military–Rabin remarked to Ford, “You can appreciate the weight on my shoulders.” Israel, Rabin continued, “faces great challenges but also opportunities.”

“Ever since the revival of Jewish independence in the land of our forefathers,” Rabin said. “Israel has received the support of the United States and it will be recorded forever in the annals of our country.” He said that despite the recent tests of arms, “Israel is prepared to continue its quest for peace” with the United States “a strong and determined partner.”

The dark clouds which threatened rain all morning disappeared in the early afternoon and the pomp and ceremony of an official welcome to the visiting Premier took place in bright sunshine. A 19-gun salute boomed and the 30-piece red and white clad Marine band played “Hatikva” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” as Ford and Rabin and their wives came out on the White House lawn. Contingents of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard were drawn up in dress uniforms.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency leaned at the White House today that the State dinner President and Mrs. Ford will give for the Rabins Thursday night, to which 100 guests have been invited will feature roast duckling and will be non-kosher. Guests requiring kosher food will be served fruit plates, the JTA was informed. In addition to the 100 dinner guests, another 100 guests have been invited to a reception for the Rabins at the White House that evening.

Rabin’s official party includes his military secretary, Brig. Gen. Ephraim Poran; the chief of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mordechai Gazit; and the Premier’s secretary, Eli Mizrahi.

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