Menu JTA Search

Vorster Sees Israel, South Africa Cooperating Despite Differences

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Prime Minister John Vorster said with respect to his recent visit to Israel, that despite differences, the two countries could work together and pool resources and know-how for the mutual benefit of both. Working together would not preclude Israel from working with people “who do not like me or do not like us,” Vorster told some 300 guests at a banquet tendered in his honor in Cape Town by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation.

The banquet, attended by cabinet ministers and other South African dignitaries as well as Jewish community leaders, marked the Prime Minister’s return from his first visit to Israel. “In Israel,” he said, “I found dedicated men and women, men and women who are at all times prepared to serve their country. That impressed me very, very much. I found idealism and the will to work, I did not only find the will to work but also saw people working with a will,” Vorster said. He also spoke of the “unforgettable experience” as a Christian visiting the “Land of the Bible” and seeing the holy places he had known of since childhood.

Vorster said economic policies could be worked out and trade between South Africa and Israel could be increased. The exchange of “know how” and raw materials could be of benefit to individuals of both countries and raise living standards. He observed that research today was costly, and the big powers were able to do this because they have the money and resources. “I believe the time has come for the middle powers to pool their resources and stand together,” he said.

Vorster claimed that the main division in the world today was between the Communist world and the free world. Citing the “lesson” of Czechoslovakia, he said that in the Communist world, not even one’s own brand of Communism is allowed. In the free world, nations can evolve their own policies and have their own outlook. “Israel and South Africa both belong to the free world,” he said. Vorster also observed that it was unproductive when heads of state got together to discuss only their differences. It is much more productive to accept differences and seek common ground. “That is what my colleagues (in Israel) and I did,” he said.

NEXT STORY