NEW YORK (Mar. 20)
While Israel did not get everything it asked for in its request for large scare military aid from the United States, the decision of the Carter Administration to recommend a $3 billion in grants and credit for Israel will prove “very helpful” in assuring Israel’s security and the success of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Ephraim Evron, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations today.
Evron praised the “persistence and determination” of President Carter in bringing about the treaty but reserved special praise for Israeli Premier Menachem Begin, whose flexibility and leadership were chiefly instrumental in the achievement of the “supreme objective of Israel since the founding of the State-peace.
Not since David Ben Gurion made the decision to declare the Jewish State in 1948 has an Israeli Premier confronted so difficult a decision as Begin did in recommending to the Cabinet that Israel return all of the Sinai to Egypt to assure a peace treaty, Evron said.
“No participants in the peace negotiations made a more intensive effort or took greater risks for peace than Prime Minister Begin,” the Ambassador said. “The attack he endured in the American press and even from some Jewish groups constituted a grave injustice.”
The Israeli diplomat acknowledged that among many American Jews he had met in the last few days as well as Israelis “the feeling of euphoria that we knew when President Sadat visited Israel to months ago has disappeared.” He added, “We don’t realize the historical importance of this achievement, perhaps because we are too close do it be us hope that later generations will.”
NO HOUR FOR CRITICISM, GLOOM
A similar note was struck by Yehuda Hellman, executive director of the Presidents Conference, to addressing a luncheon of the Jewish National Fund National Assembly today. “We have not hesitated to criticize President Carter when we felt he deserved it, “Hellman said.”
“But this is no hour for criticism or for gloom. It is moment for celebration, There are, to be sure, difficult days ahead as the negotiations on the West Bank begin and pressures develop on Jerusalem. But let us not fight those battles until they are upon us. Today we can rejoice in the magnificent victory for peace which the Egyptian-Israeli treaty represents and which will both strengthen America’s security and open a new era for the people of Israel and Egypt. And let us remember that those who cannot rejoice when it is time for rejoicing cannot respond to the summons for battle when summons is sounded.”
Presidents Conference chairman Theodore Mann announced at the Presidents Conference meeting that Begin will be welcomed by the Jewish community at a rally March 28 in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center The meeting will be sponsored by the Presidents Conference.