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ZOA Official Says U.s., Israel Are Engaged in a War of Nerves

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An official of the Zionist Organization of America said here today that a war of nerves is in progress between Israel and the United States. Jacques Torczyner, chairman of the National Convention Committee of the ZOA whose 80th jubilee convention will open in Jerusalem next week, addressed a press conference hours after the State Department issued its formal statement in Washington stressing the need for Israeli withdrawal from territories, including the West Bank, in order to achieve a real peace in the Middle East.

The initial reaction here was that the statement represented an erosion and deterioration in U.S. -Israeli relations. Torczyner, apparently subscribing to that view, spoke of a war of nerves in which Israeli leaders–Premier Menachem Begin, Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan–make statements and “so do the American leaders.”

But Torczyner rejected reports in the U.S. quoting American officials to the effect that Begin’s visit to Washington next month for talks with Carter would be superfluous unless he moderated his statements. According to Torczyner, Carter and Begin want to meet and talk to each other. He predicted that Begin’s address to the 1000 delegates attending the ZOA convention will be of special significance since it will be Begin’s last public statement before he leaves for Washington.

The ZOA convention also will be addressed by Sen. Robert Dole (R. Kon.) who was President Ford’s Vice-Presidential running mate in last year’s elections. In addition, top Israeli leaders, present and former, will speak at the convention to be held July 6-13. These include in addition to Begin, Weizman and Dayan, and former Defense Minister Shimon Peres, leader of the Labor Alignment.

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