WASHINGTON (Jun. 15)
Israel’s Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Goren, said President Carter told him today that he has not been talking of a separate state for the Palestinians. Goren said the President said that when he referred to a homeland for the Palestinians he meant a solution to the refugee problem and “I mean it through Jordan.”
Goren met with reporters on the White House grounds after he and Israeli Ambassador Simcho Dinitz met for 40 minutes with Carter and his National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. The Chief Rabbi had met with President Ford on a previous visit to the United States. When a reporter said this means the President opposes a Palestinian state, Goren replied, “definitely, definitely.”
Goren said the President’s remarks came when he asked him for a message to bring back to the people of Israel. He said Carter told him first of all the United States will maintain and increase the historic friendship between the U.S. and Israel. The President told Goren the U.S. will remain responsible for the security of Israel, he said. The Chief Rabbi also reported that Carter said the U.S. will not impose a settlement on Israel and that any settlement must come through negotiations between the parties involved.
Goren said the President told him he was looking forward to meeting Israeli Premier-designate Menachem Begin and getting the negotiating process moving. The rabbi said he told Carter he is “beloved by Jews all over the world” and they hope he will “fulfill our hopes.” Goren said Carter was “chosen by the Lord” to deal with the Middle East problem “and support the prophetic vision of Israel without dividing the holy land again into two.” At one point when Goren was talking about the Bible and Israel’s security, the President told him “I know when you are speaking as a rabbi and when you are speaking as a major general.” Goren was chief chaplain of Israel’s defense forces before becoming Chief Rabbi.