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Somber Mood Prevails at Israel Ambassador’s Ball; Participants Back Israel, Mourn Casualties

A somber and austere mood prevailed here last night as some 1,000 persons gathered for the annual Ambassador’s Ball sponsored by the Washington Committee State of Israel Bonds.

The usual orchestra, entertainers, and glittering decorations were cancelled after an emergency meeting last Thursday of the Israel Bond Organization and officials of the Israel Embassy. The dinner at the Washington Hotel, however, was held as a gesture of solidarity with Israel and mourning for the Israelis and innocent victims who lost their lives in the conflict in Lebanon.

The Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Mashe Arens, told a hushed audience of the tragedy Lebanon has endured from both Syrian and Palestine Liberation Organization occupation. “Let us hope we may see the beginning of the end of the destruction. We hope that with the Israeli withdrawal, there will also be a withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon. We know that we have vastly reduced the capability of the PLO forces in Lebanon.”

Arens continued: “A week after the start of the invasion, we turn our eyes to the future. Let us hope that we have succeeded in bringing permanent victory and peace to Israel, Let us hope that a new chapter has been opened in the tragic history of Lebanon, and that Lebanon will again be sovereign, independent and at peace.”

Many government officials, Congressmen and Senators, including Interior Secretary James Watt, attended the dinner. The ball it was recalled was held in a similar mood in 1967, following the Six Day War.

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