WASHINGTON (Feb. 19)
The Israeli Embassy in San Salvador is shutting its doors at the end of next week, according to information reaching here today.
The Israeli attache, Aryeh Zur, was quoted as saying that the shutdown was for “economic reasons.” He declined to elaborate: However, according to sources here, the Israeli government felt it could no longer afford to pay for the three bodyguards required to safeguard the embassy personnel.
In closing down its mission, Israel is the sixth government to shut its diplomatic unit in El Salvador, where political violence has been steadily increasing against the government.
South Africa, Japan, Switzerland, Great Britain and West Germany previously had closed down. West Germany announced on Feb. 7 that they were closing down their embassy for security reasons, and the next day all of the West German diplomatic personnel left El Salvador.
A year ago, the Israeli Honorary Consul for El Salvador, Ernesto Liebes, was kidnapped and, after being held captive for some weeks, was murdered, after his family did not produce a reported $10 million in ransom money demanded by his abductors. Liebes, a prominent coffee exporter and merchant, and a leading member of El Salvador’s Jewish community of about 300 persons, reportedly, had instructed his family, when violence was mounting in El Salvador, that should he be held for ransom, his family should not pay it.