Israeli Officials in West Germany Harassed by Hecklers

Israel’s Ambassador to West Germany, Yitzhak Ben Ari and another member of the Israel Embassy staff were severely harassed by hecklers at separate speaking engagements in Munich and Marburg last week.

Ben Ari, addressing a group in Munich on the prospects for peace in the Middle East, was repeatedly shouted down by young members of the audience who hurled anti-Israel slogans at the envoy. Despite the interruptions he was able to complete his prepared speech. But Embassy aide Dan Ashbel fared less well in Marburg where he appeared before Protestant students in a building owned by their church.

Hours before Ashbel’s arrival, several thousand youngsters marched through the city carrying anti-Semitic banners and proclaiming their support for the Arab cause. Later, they occupied the meeting hall and refused to let Ashbel speak, Police were on hand but did not intervene. The meeting was moved to a private home where some 70 students gathered to discuss Middle East problems with the Israeli diplomat.

Both incidents were typical of a pattern that has developed in West Germany since the war in Lebanon. Ambassador Ben Ari has been prevented from speaking on several other occasions.

Meanwhile, Frankfurt police have accused the Cologne-based WDR television station of deliberately organizing a neo-Nazi demonstration to protest a recent re-broadcast of the American made Holocaust series. According to the police, WDR paid the neo-Nazis to demonstrate in a crowded street for the benefit of its cameras. A WDR spokesman has denied the charge.

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