TEL AVIV (Feb. 20)
The Israel Olympic Committee will make no decision for the time being on whether or not to boycott the Olympic Games in Moscow this summer, its chairman itzhak Offek said today. He said that Israel will continue its wait-and-see policy although the United States has announced that it will not participate in the Games unless Soviet troops are withdrawn form Afghanistan by Feb. 20.
That deadline, set by President Carter, passed today. (State Department spokesman Thomas Reston said in Washington that the decision to boycott the Games is now final and irrevocable.) According to Offek, the final decision on U.S. participation rests with the U.S. Olympic Committee which will not take a position until it meets on April 11. However, he said it was inconceivable that the committee would act contrary to the President’s wishes.
Several other major powers may also boycott the Moscow Games and Israel is expected, ultimately, to join them. Although opinion here is divided, former Soviet Jewish prisoners and aliya activists are urging Israel not to send its team to Moscow. Sports experts said that without American participation, the Moscow Olympics would not be a major sports event.