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Schindler Credits Begin for Better Relations with U.S.

Rabbi Alexander Schindler believes U.S.-Israeli relations have vastly improved in recent weeks and he credits “the integrity, steadfastness and moral courage” of Israeli Premier Menachem Begin.

Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, addressing the UAHC board of trustees at its annual meeting here, praised “the new era of good feeling between Washington and Jerusalem.” He said “The restoration of the partnership between the two democracies is a highly encouraging development that bodes well for Israel’s security and American strategic interests.”

According to the Reform rabbi, “It is not Israel that has changed, it is the American understanding of Israel that has altered and that is primarily due to the integrity, steadfastness and moral courage of Menachem Begin. His consistency, his certitude in the justice of Israel’s cause, his refusal to buckle under pressure from our own country and the nations of Western Europe have brought us to this day,” Schindler said.

As evidence of improved U.S.-Israel relations, Schindler cited the Administration’s approval of the transfer of American technology to produce Israel’s second generation fighter plane, the Lavie and the expectation that the U.S. will permit military credits to be used by Israel to build the aircraft.

“For the first time,” Schindler said, “we see the State Department urging Israel not to pull back its forces in Lebanon, lest there be no incentive for Syria to withdraw … For the first time, there is pressure not on Israel but on the Arab states — Syria and Jordan — to make the concessions necessary for further progress in the Camp David peace process,” Schindler said.

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