BONN (Nov. 4)
West Germany’s relations with Israel appear to have improved significantly in the five weeks that the new coalition government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl has been in office Israel’s Ambassador to Bonn, Yitzhak Ben Ari, said on a State Radio interview that a large-scale political and diplomatic dialogue is under way between the two countries.
At the same time, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned that preparations are being made to sign a 140 million Mark loan for development projects in Israel despite recent calls by some West German politicians to suspend aid to Israel because of its actions in Lebanon.
Ben Ari, who is presently in Jerusalem for consultations after a meeting with Kohl here last week, said he was confident the dialogue now in process will result in benefits for both countries. His talk with Kohl covered the Arab-Israeli conflict and German-Israel bilateral relations.
The envoy thanked the Bonn government for its support of Israel in the United Nations General Assembly and other UN agencies against recent attempts to oust or suspend Israel. But he criticized some of the local media for what he alleged was anti-Israel bias in their reportage of events in the Middle East. According to Ben Ari, it reflected the influence of “a certain coalition of right and leftwing extremists who are united in their anti-Zionist attitude.”
The pending loan will be made available by the Ministry for Economic Development which controls aid programs for developing countries. Israel has been a recipient of such aid each year since 1965. But there was a concerted drive last summer to suspend it on grounds that Israel’s invasion of Lebanon violated international law.
One of the most outspoken opponents of continued assistance to Israel was Bundestag member Juergen Moellemann of the Free Democratic Party who has just been named a Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. The FDP is a coalition partner in the Christian Democratic Union government headed by Kohl.