SAFAD (Apr. 26)
Uneasy settlers in Galilee received assurances from Jewish Agency chairman Leon Dulzin yesterday that Israel would never endanger them by returning the Golon Heights to Syria and that the problems plaguing the region would be dealt with expeditiously. Dulzin, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Executives, toured Galilee with his chief aides and spoke to representatives of settlements and towns here and in Tiberias, Rosh Pina, Carmiel and other places.
There are two major areas at concern. One is that Israel may one day withdraw from the Golan Heights in the course of a peace settlement with Syria, exposing the upper Galilee once again to the potential threat of Syrian guns. The other is that with priority given to development projects in the Negev where the Israeli army and air force will be deployed after their withdrawal from Sinai, solutions to Galilee’s urgent economic, housing and population problems will have to wait.
Worry over the Golan was aggravated by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan’s remarks last week that Israel may one day have to chouse peace without the Golan Heights or the Golan without peace. But Dulzin insisted that peace with Syria will not be conditional on territorial compromise on the Heights.
The issue is not peace without Golan or Golan without peace, Dulzin said. “We want peace and we will remain in the Golan. “He added that Israel’s control of the Golan/Heights Is an essential precondition for any future development of Galilee. “For us the Golan is like Jerusalem, “Dulzin said, meaning that it was not negotiable. The Zionist leader met with the local coordinating committee for Project Renewa in Tiberias. “We have come to understand your region, “he told them.
But Tzvi Rasky, head of the Rosh Pina town council, warned that “time is working against us. If Jews don’t fill the Galilee, others will,” he said. He was referring to the higher birth rate among Israeli Arabs, the majority of whom live in Galilee. Other problems mentioned were the lack of permanent housing units in the Segev region, inadequate public services and communications facilities and a lack of funding for projects designed to improve living standards.
One project envisages the transformation of Carmiel, a new development town, into a center for immigrants and Israeli scientists. Another calls for the establishment of a spiritual center for youths in Tlberias. It would recruit high school students for summer volunteer work in poverty-stricken areas. Today, Dulzin visited Nahariya and Nazareth.