NEW YORK (Sep. 4)
Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz expressed the hope last night that the new Israeli-Egyptian agreement will be a “turning point” in which Egypt “who has long led the Arab world into war will now lead the Arab world into peace.”
Dinitz, who returned Tuesday night from Jerusalem where he had participated in the negotiations for the pact, spoke at the 65th annual dinner of the Religious Zionists of America. The more than 2000 persons who attended the fete at the New York Hilton were especially excited about the appearance of Mrs. Betty Ford, wife of the President. Many crowded around the front of the dais to get her autograph during the dinner.
Mrs. Ford, who heard Dinitz, RZA President Dr. Maurice Sage and other RZA officials praise her husband for his long-time support of Israel and for the achievement of the Sinai agreement, said she had “a very emotional evening” at the RZA dinner. She presented the organization’s Israel Independence Day Award to Milton H. Hoffman, a retired kosher food industrialist, who is a long-time friend of the Fords.
RISK FOR PEACE IS WORTH TAKING
Dinitz stressed that for 28 years Israel has sought peace with its Arab neighbors and the pact with Egypt was the first time that an Arab country had made a political agreement with Israel. He said Israel knew it was taking a risk. “but is there any goal more worthy of taking risks for than the goal of peace?” Dinitz pointed out that Israel was able to take the risk because of its own strength and its faith in the United States.
The Israeli envoy made a special mention of the use of American civilians to man the Sinai monitoring stations. He declared that there was no comparison to any other recent experience in U.S. foreign policy, an obvious reference to Vietnam. Dinitz declared that Israel has never asked for American soldiers to fight for it and still does not, only for U.S. weapons to allow Israel to defend itself.
Earlier in the afternoon Dinitz briefed the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on the agreement. He received a standing ovation, and, according to sources, there were no sharp questions challenging the agreement.