BONN (Nov. 15)
West Germany’s new Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, has a sympathetic attitude toward Israel, according to Knesset Speaker Menachem Savidor who met with the German leader last week. “He told me he wanted to renew the tradition of good relations started by Konrad Adenauer and I am sure that he seriously meant exactly that, “Savidor told a press conference here.
He said Kohl will definitely visit Israel next year but the timing has yet to be decided. It will not take place before West Germany’s general elections due to be held on March 6, 1983. Nevertheless, the Likud MK said he discussed with the Chancellor the itinerary and the issues that will be raised at political talks with Kohl in Jerusalem.
Asked if Premier Menachem Begin is likely to get an invitation to come to Bonn, Savidor said it was too early to talk about that. “Right now we are in a stage of preparations for Kohl’s visit. Let us first concentrate on this, “
According to Savidor, the basic philosophy of the new Bonn government, a coalition of Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the smaller Free Democratic Party (FDP), favors good relations with Israel. He suggested that ties between the two countries are likely to be “closer than under the previous Social Democratic government” headed by Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
Savidor said he did not discuss with Kohl specifically the issue of West German arms sales to Arab countries. “What we did discuss was the need for the western world to see to it that no sophisticated weapons will fall into the hands of unreliable dictatorships, He said the issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank was not raised during his talk with Kohl. He claimed however that the Chancellor largely shares the Israeli view that the war in Lebanon was essentially beneficial to peace prospects in the Middle East and for the West.