Begin Supports Evron

Premier Menachem Begin went out of his way this week to praise. Israel’s Ambassador to Washington, Ephraim Evron, apparently to squelch persistent tumors that Evron may be replaced. Reporting to the cabinet last Sunday on his recent private visit to the U.S., Begin noted that Ambassador Evron had been fulfilling his duties entirely satisfactorily.

There was criticism of Evron in some political quarters here following Ronald Reagan’s election victory. He was accused of having been too deeply identified with the Carter camp and having failed to forge links with the men of the new administration. Evron was also faulted for his handling of the delicate–and unproductive–contacts with Reagan’s staff over the possibility of a Reagan-Begin meeting when the Premier was in the U.S. early this month.

Begin told the Cabinet that he had not in fact sought a meeting with Reagan and understood the President-elect’s special situation. Nor was Israel or he personally in any way offended by the fact that Reagan did meet with West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, Begin said.

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir took the opportunity to re-state his own earlier support of Evron, Shamir repeated to the Cabinet what he had said two weeks ago — that Evron acted properly and efficaciously during the pre-election period, maintaining close contacts with the incumbent administration and trying at the same time in an unofficial way to form ties with the Reagan camp.

Officials here were anxious to publicize Begin’s and Shamir’s remarks regarding Evron because the rumors about him, especially in some American Jewish quarters, apparently were not laid to rest by earlier denials from Jerusalem.

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