Blumberg Regrets Settlement Move

David Blumberg, international president of B’nai B’rith, said here yesterday that he believes Premier Menachem Begin will be one of Israel’s strong and good leaders but he does not agree with all of his policies. Blumberg, who met with Begin during a three-week visit to Israel, said before returning to the U.S. that he regretted Begin’s decision to legalize three controversial settlements on the West Bank.

The remarks by the American Jewish leader were to the government’s action Tuesday conferring legal status on Ofra, Maale Edumim and Eilon Moreh near Nablus. Blumberg said he was optimistic about Mideast peace prospects but warned that peace was not around the corner.

NEW SETTLEMENT BEGUN IN RAFFAH

Meanwhile, the cornerstone of a new settlement was laid in the Raffah salient yesterday in the presence of the settlers who are recent immigrants from South Africa. Neither the government nor the army were represented at the ceremonies and Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon, who had promised to attend, sent a message of greeting instead. The new settlement, to be known as Talmei-Joseph, after Joseph Weitz, will consist of 100 family units. Each family will invest $15,000 toward the establishment of orchards for sub-tropical fruits and sunflowers.

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