JERUSALEM (Mar. 11)
President Carter had a busy ceremonial schedule this morning before getting down to serious political discussions. The day began with a visit to the official residence of President Yitzhak Navon. As the two Presidents talked inside, their wives, Mrs. Rosalynn Carter and Mrs. Ophira Navon, went out to the garden for their own chat.
An hour later, Premier Menachem Begin arrived to escort the Carters to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial. There, MK Gideon Hausner, chairman of Yad Vashem, escorted Carter first to the Hall of Names, where victims’ names are listed, and then to the Remembrance Hall (Ohel Yiskor) where a chorus of children sang World War II partisan songs and a cantor recited a prayer.
Carter kneeled during the prayer and then told Hausner, “It is for the sake of children such as those who sang in the chorus that Israel’s security should be guaranteed.” Hausner said that Carter displayed a knowledge of the details of the Holocaust and said he had read four book by Elie Wiesel. Hausner, who was prosecutor during the Eichmann trial, presented the President with his own book on the trial and Carter promised to read it, too.
The entourage then went to the nearby Mr. Herzl where Carter knelt beside the tomb of Theodor Herzl. In a break from the announced schedule, Carter also visited the grave of Zeev Jabotinsky, the leader of the Revisionist movement and the political mentor of Begin.
The Carters then went to the Scottish Chapel of St. Andrews, a Presbyterian church in Abu Jor, a Jerusalem neighborhood overlooking Mt. Zion and the Old City. At the insistence of the President, there were no special events during services which were attended by the regular worshipers. Rev. Robert Lindsey, head of the Baptist community in Israel, in his sermon, included a verse from Psalms 122. “Jerusalem that is built as a city that is compact together.” This verse is usually used to show the Biblical basis for the reunification of Jerusalem.
PLEA FOR SOVIET JEWRY
When Carter left for talks at Begin’s office, Mrs. Carter was taken on a visit to Israel’s largest absorption center, Mevasseret Zion, just outside of Jerusalem. There she met representatives of the 145 families living there, who came from South Africa, Colombia, the Soviet Union and the United States.
The most moving moment came when Dina Beilin, who immigrated to Israel last year after a long and bitter struggle; pleaded with Mrs. Carter to help save her friends in the USSR. “I am afraid for the physical future of Jews in the Soviet. Union,” she said.
Ms. Beilin noted that she was a personal friend of Soviet refusniks such as Vladimir Slepak, Ida Nudel and Anatoly Shcharansky. “A lot of my friends are refusniks in exile and in prison. I ask you to do all that is possible on their behalf, be cause without your support it will be impossible to save them,” she said. Mrs. Carter spoke to the immigrant representatives, asking them about their background and their absorption in Israel.
She ended her visit by attending the Purim party at the local kindergarten. Here she joined in a horah dance and danced cheek to cheek with an elderly Russian immigrant. As the party continued, Mrs. Carter asked for a moment of silence and told the audience that she and her husband read a chapter of the Bible every night. “We have just reached the Book of Esther,” she said.