BONN (Jul. 17)
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin has indicated that he will accept an invitation to visit West Germany which is likely to be extended by Chancellor Helmut Kohl when he visits Israel August 31, diplomatic sources here said today.
Die Welt reported today, however, that acceptance of the invitation does not mean that Begin will actually come to Bonn. It is protocol for the visiting head of a foreign government to invite his host to reciprocate. The West German authorities, preparing for Kohl’s visit to Jerusalem, wanted to make sure that Begin would agree and thus avoid an affront.
According to Die Welt, past experience indicated that there will be no visit here by an Israeli Premier for several years, by which time it will probably be Begin’s successor.
West German sources said Begin’s readiness to accept an invitation from Kohl demonstrated that much of the damage done Bonn-Israel relations in the recent past was due to former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s demonstrative refusal to visit Israel while he was in office, although an invitation had been extended as far back as 1975. In May, 1981, Begin launched a bitter personal attack on Schmidt and his government’s Middle East policies.