JERUSALEM (Mar. 29)
Premier Menachem Begin told an enthusiastic crowd of thousands who came to greet him at the Knesset tonight that Israeli-U.S. relations have never been better than at present and that the entire Israeli nation was witnessing an historic event and a turning point in the entire Middle East.
“Our relations with the U.S. have never been as good as now since the establishment of the State of Israel,” said begin, pointing specifically to the U. S. Israeli memorandum of agreement released yesterday. “This is a historic event, and we will make every effort possible to see that it bean fruit,” he said.
Begin expressed hope that the peace agreement signed with Egypt would be the starting point for similar negotiations with other neighboring countries. He observed that while problems and difficulties still face us, he is confident that they will be worked out.
In an unexpected development, Begin cast doubt over his impending trip to Cairo next Monday. “If I go to Cairo next Monday,” he said, “I will come as a friend and seeker of peace, and I will open both my hand and heart to every Egyptian man, woman and child on behalf of the entire Israeli nation.” He added that if the planned visit takes place, he intends to take with him representatives of the different fighting organizations, bereaved families and war veterans as a sign of the new era which the peace agreement signals.
The Premier also said that he plans now to devote his efforts to the social issues which have been shunted aside during the many months of peace negotiations. He noted that he had spoken about this to American Jewry last night in New York.