NEW YORK (Jan. 14)
Rabbi Israel Miller said today that statements on U.S.-Israeli relations such as the remarks made by President Ford in a Time magazine interview published yesterday, must be viewed in perspective. “We cannot merely look at what is said each day, we should look at the totality of the picture,” Rabbi Miller said at a press conference here commenting on the Ford interview. The President had indicated that while U.S. and Israeli national interests coincide at present that may not always be the case and that a formal U.S. guarantee to Israel, while not ruled out, would have to be contingent on “some real progress” toward peace.
Rabbi Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said the response of Jewish leadership to such statements should be in perspective to the totality of statements and comments by U.S. officials. Asked if he denied there was U.S. pressure on Israel to be more forthcoming with ideas for peace, Rabbi Miller replied, “Certainly there is a pressure there but there is a pressure on the Arabs too.”
He referred to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s recent warning that the U.S. did not rule out the use of force to secure Arab oil sources. But Rabbi Miller conceded that there is a potential of erosion of U.S. support for Israel.
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ISRAELI MORALE
Rabbi Miller, who just returned from Israel where he headed a 24-member Conference delegation that met with Israeli political and military leaders, said he was optimistic about Israeli morale. “The Israelis have recovered their morale and inner strength” and have emerged from the trauma of the Yom Kippur War, he said Rabbi Miller added, however, that the Israelis were still “worried and concerned” but they have faith in themselves and in the future.
He said that he and the delegation members spent a day with the military and that they sensed their “feelings of greater confidence” compared to what they found on their previous visit to Israel. “We were impressed by the spirit of the people in the military,” Rabbi Miller said, citing “the great inner strength” of the young Israeli soldiers. He had words of praise for Premier Yitzhak Rabin, with whom the delegation met in Israel, “We had a feeling that we were talking to a Prime Minister,” Rabbi Miller said, pointing out that Rabin demonstrated self-confidence and assurance of a leader who knows which line he is following.
In his opening statement, Rabbi Miller mentioned that today is a day of solidarity with Syrian Jews declared by the Israel National Student Organization. He declared the solidarity of the Jewish community in America with the plight of Syrian Jewry.