NEW YORK (Jan. 16)
President Yitzhak Navon of Israel reported here last week at the conclusion of an II-day visit to the United States that UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar had assured him that he would do all he can to intervene with the Soviet authorities on behalf of imprisoned Soviet Jewish activist Anatoly Shcharansky.
The Israeli President explained that Shcharansky, who has been on a hunger strike for the past three months, was recently denied a visit from his 77-year-old mother Ida Milgrom who had travelled to the Chistipol Prison where he remains interned. Navon said that his request on behalf of Shcharansky, that he receive mail and visits from relatives, was a simple humanitarian request with no political implications.
During their half-hour conversation at the United Nations on Thursday, part of which was conducted in Spanish, Navon and Perez de Cuellar discussed the situation in the Middle East, the prospects for a peaceful solution in Lebanon and bilateral relations between Israel and Egypt. Also discussed was the imminent extension of the UN Security Council mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
SAYS REAGAN IS SINCERE
Navon would not expand on the content of the meetings at a press conference later that afternoon here at the Plaza Hotel. But the Israeli President elaborated on other topics of interest, including familiar themes he had spoken about during his visit to the United States. These included Jewish education and what Navon termed “consensus issues” within Israel.
Navon, who met with President Reagan at the White House at the outset of his visit, a meeting which Navon said was by an invitation Reagan had forwarded to the Israeli President, called Reagan a sincere and warm man who is firmly committed to his peace initiative of September 1. He said Reagan believes the peace initiative, although rejected by Israel, will bring peace to all the states in the region and also security for the State of Israel.
Navon said that during his meetings with Reagan and other Administration officials, he relayed what the consensus issues within Israel were and where the various political parties shared similar views. He said these points included that Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of Israel, that there will not be a withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders, that the PLO is a terrorist organization with which Israel will not negotiate, and that a Palestinian state established on the West Bank would present a danger to the security of Israel.
Furthermore, at his Thursday press conference, Navon said he had told several groups with which he met in the U.S. that Israel will not accept the view that the settlement policy in the occupied territories is illegal. “You can’t be illegal in your own homeland, ” he said.
The Israeli President said he was disturbed at the status of Jewish education in this country. He noted that 400,000 of the 750,000 Jewish students in the U.S. receive no formal Jewish education and that only about 96,000, or 25 percent, attend Hebrew day school.
WARM WELCOME ON RETURN TO ISRAEL
Navon and his wife Ofira returned today to Israel where he received a warm official welcome from Premier Menachem Begin and most Cabinet and Knesset members. Speaking to reporters at Ben Gurion Airport, Navon said he found Reagan to be “frank and open and a real friend of Israel.”
Navon said he had stressed in his talks with the Jewish community in the U.S. the need for immigrating to Israel. “We must talk to them of aliya. For too long we have been appealing to American Jews and world Jewry for funds to help send other Jews to Israel,” he said.