JERUSALEM (Apr. 7)
President Ford is expected to adopt a carefully even-handed tone in his “State of the World” message to Congress this week when he reviews the break-down of America’s peace talks attempt here. This is the hope and expectation of top American Jewish leaders and also of high Israeli government officials.
Premier Yitzhak Rabin, Defense Minister Shimon Peres, and Jewish Agency leaders Pinhas Sapir, Leon Dulzin and Moshe Rivlin, met here this weekend with Max Fisher of Detroit, chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, Frank Lautenberg, United Jewish Appeal general chairman, and other U.S. Jewish leaders on the current cooling of relations with Washington.
Today, Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) flew into Israel for a lightning eight-hour visit during which he too discussed with Rabin the current worsening of Jerusalem-Washington relations and possible ways of improving the situation. Javits came from Teheran at his own request. He has apparently undertaken to do his utmost to heal the rift–and hopes to be seeing Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger soon after his return. He left Israel in the early afternoon after lunching with Knesseter Abba Eban.
Fisher, who left at the weekend after his own brief visit here, also hopes to see Ford this week–before he delivers his “State of the World” address. Well-placed sources here said Javits recommended to Israeli leaders that they try to steer the dialogue with the U.S. away from the recriminations of the past failure and towards plotting a joint course in preparation for a resumption of Geneva.
SYMPATHY FOR ISRAEL STILL SOUND
These sources told the JTA that Javits believes the basis of sympathy for Israel within the Congress is still sound, but the Senator said he is concerned by the atmosphere of financial parsimony, by erosion as witnessed by Sen. Charles Percy (R.I11.), and others, and above all by the evidently very severe and personal way in which Kissinger has taken his failure to conclude a shuttling accord.
Top Israeli observers here confirmed that the central concern is Kissinger’s deep and on going anger and frustration–which he expresses at numerous private and less-than-private briefings–rather than the President’s initial disappointment which, it is felt, has now given way to a more balanced reaction. Fisher, who met with Ford last week, is said to have assured Israeli leaders that despite the current mood of strained relations, Ford remained a staunch friend of Israel.
The JTA has, meanwhile, learned from well informed sources that pressure applied by Jewish personalities in the U.S. was behind Kissinger’s decision to postpone his scheduled second meeting with a group of former senior foreign policy officials whose views he has been canvassing as part of America’s Mideast reassessment.
Fisher, former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, and others are understood to have pointed out to the Secretary that several members of his panel had known business links with the Arab world, as for example George Ball, former Undersecretary of State during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, while there was a conspicuous absence of any known Israel sympathizers in the panel’s makeup. Despite this intervention, however, the feeling among top observers here is that Jerusalem is so far restraining American Jewish leadership from launching a full-blown counter-attack against Kissinger.