TEL AVIV (Jan. 23)
Members of the Israeli military committee mission in Cairo returned to Israel this afternoon in an Air France Boeing 747 which also brought back scores of Israeli media correspondents and television and radio technicians who had been covering the military committee talks in the Egyptian capital. Gen. Abraham Tamir, who was a member of the Israeli negotiating team headed by Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, was instructed to remain in Cairo after the Cabinet decided yesterday to postpone Israel’s return to the military talks.
Tamir heads a skeleton staff of 15 Israeli officers who will maintain whatever contacts are necessary with the Egyptian military committee while the talks are in suspension. Tamir told the departing Israelis at Cairo Airport that he would serve as senior representative of the Israeli military mission until the talks are reconvened.
The Israelis were seen off at the airport by two ranking Egyptian officers, Gen. Taha el-Maghdoub, secretary of the Egyptian Defense Council, who was a member of the negotiating team, and the chief of Egyptian military intelligence. Their presence at the airport was seen as a friendly gesture by the Egyptians.
According to the returnees, the Egyptian officers repeatedly told them their departure was only a matter of procedure and “you will come back soon.” They also tried to play down attacks on Israel in the Egyptian press, including a reference to Premier Menachem Begin as “Shylock” which the Premier took as an anti-Semitic insult to all Jews. The generals said it was a mistake to use such words and insisted they were never used officially.