JERUSALEM (Jun. 22)
Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, believes “the Reagan plan is dead” and that U.S.-Israel relations will continue to improve from now on.
Berman expressed his views at a press conference here today after a meeting with Premier Menachem Begin. He said the peace initiative announced by President Reagan last September I, immediately rejected by Israel and never accepted by the Arab states, was doomed from the start.
“The fact is that the Administration put all of its marbles on King Hussein and eventually he scratched himself from the race,” Berman said. “I might add that this Administration’s theory that ‘yeshua’ (salvation) will come by way of Saudi Arabia, has gotten nowhere.” Berman predicted that Secretary of State George Shultz will steer American foreign policy in the future and the influence of other Cabinet members and the National Security Council will diminish.
The Republicans are anxious to win the Jewish vote in next year’s elections and therefore there will be no deterioration in relations with Israel, Berman said. He added that these do not depend on Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon.
Berman was accompanied at his meeting with Begin by Yehuda Helman, executive director of the Presidents Conference. They informed him that the Conference expects to hold its convention in Jerusalem at the end of this summer and that about 80 heads of American Jewish organizations would attend. The theme of the convention will be “American Judaism and the State of Israel.”