Jerusalem (Nov. 4)
Reports that Israel’s Ambassador to the U. S., Ephraim Evron, will retire next January were confirmed by a Foreign Ministry spokesman here tonight. The statement said Evron had informed Premier Menachem Begin and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir several months ago that he planned to leave the foreign service after a career of 33 years.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Begin and Shamir “expressed their profound appreciation for the ability and devotion to duty demonstrated by Ambassador Evron in representing the State. Mr. Evron’s successor will be named in the near future,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The favored candidate to succeed him appears to be Moshe Arens of Likud’s Herut faction who is chairman of the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Security Committee. Arens has refused to comment so far on reports that he would be posted to Washington. Informed sources said that one serious obstacle to his nomination for Israel’s key diplomatic post abroad is his consistent opposition to the current peace process.
OBJECTIONS TO ARENS
Arens voted in the Knesset against the Camp David agreements, against ratification of the peace treaty with Egypt and, most recently, against the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) which is to police Sinai after Israel completes its final withdrawal from the peninsula next April.
Meanwhile, Arens has undertaken to head a multi-party Knesset delegation scheduled to visit the U. S. next week to explain to the Administration, Congress and the American public why Israel objects so strongly to the eight-point peace plan proposed by Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia. The plan was categorically rejected by an overwhelming Knesset majority yesterday.
In a radio interview today, Arens said that members of opposition factions in the eight-man Knesset delegation would “naturally” be able to express their viewpoints on issues on which they differed from the Likud-led government. He stressed, however, that there was substantial agreement between the government and the opposition on the Fahd plan which is the main issue of the delegation.
In the event that Arens is named Israel’s next Ambassador to the U. S., two candidates have emerged as possible successors to head the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee. They are Eliahu Ben-Elissar, Israel’s former Ambassador to Egypt and Yosef Rom. Both are MKs representing Likud’s Herut faction.