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Begin Exhilarated by Responses He Received in Los Angeles, Chicago

Premier Menachem Begin said today that the receptions he received in Los Angeles and Chicago were “wonderful” and “heart-warming.” Speaking to reporters aboard his plane en route from Chicago to New York this morning, Begin said, “I have been most impressed by the warmth of the receptions in Chicago and Los Angeles. It is characteristic that the warmth came not only from Jews but also Christians. I saw it when I left the hotel and on the streets. It was an expression of public friendship, very heart-warming.”

Relaxed and at ease despite his hectic schedule of the past three days, Begin said that when he returns to Israel he will tell his people that “Our cause has great support among the citizens of the United States, both Jews and Christians. Such is my main impression.” Replying to questions, he said he was not worried before his arrival in the U.S. about the extent of support for Israel and that, in any case, he now has “dramatic proof” of the support of the American people.

Begin said he had found a “positive echo” to Israel’s peace plan. He said his talks in Washington, with President Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance were held in a friendly atmosphere but he could not guarantee future developments toward a breakthrough in the deadlocked peace negotiations. He said that notwithstanding the friendly talks in Washington, “I can’t say for sure if it will affect the peace process.”

MAJOR ACTIVITIES IN NEW YORK

Begin’s hectic schedule today included addressing some 500 people at an Israel Bond luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria, leading a Holocaust Memorial Day service at Yeshiva University where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, a reception by Gov. Hugh Carey and a dinner at the New York Hilton sponsored by the Economic Club. (See separate story.)

The Premier’s schedule tomorrow includes breakfast with editors and publishers at Gracie Mansion, the Mayor’s official residence; a ceremony at which Mayor Edward Koch will proclaim Begin an honorary citizen of the Big Apple; an address before some 1000 people at a United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies Joint Campaign salute to Israel’s 30th anniversary; a meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; and a Sabbath meal at Gracie Mansion where Begin and his wife, Aliza, will be staying through Sunday when the Premier returns to Israel after participating in festivities marking Israel’s anniversary. Special arrangements were made at Gracie Mansion for strictly kosher meals for Begin and his wife.

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