PARIS (Jun. 8)
Paris Mayor and Gaullist Party leader Jacques Chirac has been invited to Jerusalem by that city’s Mayor, Teddy Kollek, who completed today a three-day official visit to Paris. Chirac has not yet fixed a date for his trip to Jerusalem but political circles believe the visit will take place before the 1981 French Presidential elections when Chirac is expected to challenge President Valery Giscard D’Estaing.
Kollek, who addressed a press conference at the end of his official visit, said he attached considerable political importance to the visit because France does not recognize the unified status of Jerusalem not its status as the capital of Israel. When asked whether the visit would improve political relations between France and Israel, Kollek said: “I just would not know. I have no opinion on this subject.” He added with a touch of dry humor: “There is a clear distinction between the Foreign Ministry and the City Hall. They are in charge of foreign affairs and we in charge of the garbage collection and each of us thinks that the other is doing a lousy job.”
STRESSES JERUSALEM IS UNITED CITY
Kollek stressed that he hoped his visit made it clear that there was only one single and unified Jerusalem. “There is no western or eastern Jerusalem, there only is a unified city.” The Jerusalem Mayor said there was some terrorism but that it was of the “imported variety.” He explained that the Arabs wanted to have a sound economy and “you just cannot have tourism and terrorism at the same time. They just don’t go together.”
Throughout his stay in Paris, Kollek was warmly welcomed by the city fathers and by the large Jewish community. The French government diplomatically avoided being represented at the banquets and receptions given by Chirac in his honor. Even Jewish junior ministers, such as the Deputy Secretary for Labor Lionel Stoleru and the Deputy Secretary of State Olivier Stirn, stayed away from the reception which they had been invited to attend in “a personal capacity.” Health Minister Simone Veil also stayed away in spite of the fact that her husband, Antoine Veil, a former Jewish deportee, is a personal friend and political associate of Chirac. Kollek’s visit had political implications because of Chirac’s challenge to Giscard in the next election.