WASHINGTON (Jul. 4)
An American Zionist leader reported that Vice President Walter Mondale said he would try to bring President Carter and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin together to establish a warm personal friendship to talk together in candor. Carter and Begin meet here July 19-20.
Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, who left tonight for Israel to attend the ZOA’s 80th national convention, said Mondale stressed during their half-hour meeting at the White House several days ago that the Carter Administration on the whole is extremely sensitive and aware of the disturbance within the Jewish community over Administration expressions regarding Israel and the Middle East.
Accompanied by Allen Lesser, the ZOA Washington representative, Sternstein met with Mondale and Presidential Counsel Robert Lipshutz to obtain the “sense” of the Administration’s position regarding Israel for presentation to the ZOA’s 80th convention next week in Jerusalem. Carter and Mondale “are friends of Israel and want to do the right thing for Israel,” Sternstein said, “but they are being maneuvered and locked into positions which will be unfortunate for the resolution of the (Mideast) conflict.”
Asked to identify the maneuverers, Stemstein declined to use names but said “somebody should talk to those at the State Department who are shooting from the hip”. He noted that the Department makes comments on remarks by Begin and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan but there is no response to Arab intransigence such as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s refusal to cede a single inch of territory and “he is embraced as a moderate”. Sternstein said Mondale offered assurance that “there is basic friendship for Israel on the part of the President and himself”.