TEL AVIV (Jun. 26)
Premier Menachem Begin; on a two-day tour of Galilee, told residents of the border town of Kiryat Shemona last night that the Israel army has taken the initiative against Palestinian terrorists and has them on the run. He spent the night at Kiryat Shemona which is largely populated by immigrants from Oriental countries and has long been a target of terrorist rocket and artillery attacks.
“The initiative in south Lebanon is in our hands now, “Begin told an audience of 10,000 at the Kiryat Shemona amphitheater where he received a rousing welcome.”We have the strength to hit the terrorists until they stop the bloodshed. And now they are fleeing. We do not retaliate any more. We hit them once or even twice a day according to our decision and any time. We look for them in their hiding places. We try to locate their command posts, those responsible for murder You have a good chance to get rid of the terrorists but give us time to fulfill this chance. It is our intention to dissuade them from wanting to hurt us. But this is not done overnight,” he said.
Begin met with Maj. Saad Haddod, commander of the Christian Militia in south Lebanon and reiterated Israel’s pledge not to desert the Christians who are battling the Palestinians. He also repeated his call to the Lebanese government in Beirut to sit down at the negotiating table with Israel. He announced that Israel will absorb a third group of refugees from Vietnam.
GAON NAMED HONORARY CITIZEN
Begin attended ceremonies at which his close friend, Nissim Gaon, president of the World Sephardi Federation, was made an honorary citizen of Kiryat Shemona. Gaon agreed to three projects to improve facilities and the quality of life in that largely Sephardic township. He said he would bring in Swiss technicians to survey the possibility of a cable car line from Kiryat Shemona to Manera on a hilltop nearby. If the government participates in financing this project, Gaon said he would also provide means of his own. He promised to channel aid given Oriental immigrants to Kiryat Shemona if the town is able to ensure adequate housing for them. He also said he would help construct a youth center for underprivileged youngsters in the town.
In addition to Kiryat Shemona, Begin visited Hatzor Ob, the ancient site of Hatzor Haglilit, Rosh Pina, gravesite of Shlomo Ben Yossef, a Betar member executed by the British during the disturbances of 1936-39 and Tel Hai which Joseph Trumpeldor and his followers defended against Arab attacks.