WASHINGTON (Jun. 23)
The personal representative of Israeli Premier Menachem Begin who has been assessing American sentiment toward Begin’s leadership during the past four weeks said today that he found “a considerable degree of understanding” among approximately 50 members of Congress with whom he has spoken and that the Jewish community is “solidly behind Israel.”
Shmuel Katz, who is returning to Israel tonight, is expected to take charge of his country’s information program. He said “The atmosphere was not very pleasant” when he first arrived here “as a result of severe, even horrendous, reaction in the American media” to the Israeli election results but now the climate “is quite different.” He said that “a great deal of talk” prevailed that the Jewish community was not united. But he has not seen “signs of fundamental dissension any more than before,” he told reporters at a news conference in the Israeli Embassy.
Noting that he met with leaders of the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative branches of American Judaism, Katz said the “only one dissent” he encountered was when “two Breira people” at the Reform meeting said they were “very concerned” about the treatment of the Arab population by the previous Israeli government and the Jewish settlements in Galilee. “Apart from this, it was a very good reception,” Katz said. He said he found “no conflict” among the Congressmen he met about Begin’s position of negotiations without preconditions and Israel’s right to Judaea and Samaria and that “we must not be expected to make concessions without negotiations.”
Some statements emanating from the Carter Administration, Katz said, “naturally causes considerable concern” which he said “is shared by practically every section of the Jewish community in America.” But Katz indicated that the new Israeli government will embark on a comprehensive information program in the United States because of the “misinformation” and “disinformation” taking place and the “rather successful Arab propaganda.” (By Joseph Polakoff)