Israel’s Information Minister Urges Reagan Administration Not to Punish Israel when There May Be Dis

Harry Hurwitz, who is returning to Jerusalem Thursday after three years as Israel’s Minister of Information here, urged the Reagan Administration today “not to punish Israel when there may be some disagreement” between Washington and Jerusalem.

“This wrapping over the knuckles, witholding, releasing, sending, not sending, is something that causes bad blood,” Hurwitz told some 50 Christian leaders who attended a luncheon to bid him farewell as he leaves to take up his new post as advisor to Premier Menachem Begin on diaspora affairs.

The Minister said that there was no need for this kind of behavior by the U.S. toward Israel because the strength of the Israeli-U.S. alliance lies in their “ability to remain together in times of difficulty.”

The luncheon was held at the American Christian Trust, a house of prayer directly across from the Israel Embassy. The house was bought recently by a group of Christians to ensure that it would be occupied by people friendly toward Israel. One of its main aims is prayer for Israel.

Those present today signed a scroll presented to Hurwitz praising him for “building bridges between the Christian and Jewish communities.” It also noted that the “ancient people of the book and the Bible-believing Christians of America are being bound together with an eternal cord that cannot be broken.”

Hurwitz and his wife, Frieda, presented the house with a map of the United States showing all the places with biblical names.

HURWITZ PRAISED FOR HIS WORK

The Rev. Isaac Rottenberg, executive director of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, noted that Hurwitz was in the U.S. during “an era when misinformation of Israel reigned supreme.” He noted Hurwitz’s “willingness to reach out and be open to the Christian Community.

The Rev. Robert Drinan, a Catholic priest and political activist, also praised Hurwitz for helping the growing dialogue between Jews and Christians. Cal Thomas of the Moral Majority and Frank Eiklor of the Shalom Fellowship noted that Hurwitz has always been willing to provide Christian broadcasters with information necessary in combatting anti-Israel propaganda.

Hurwitz said that during his three years here, Israel has been villified as never before in history and blamed this on the “manipulation” of the media. But he said that Israel’s image has improved now and the reasons he said are that the policies of the government of Israel are at last being understood.

A close friend of Begin’s since 1947 and author of a biography of the Premier, Hurwitz urged the Administration to understand that Begin “is the most honorable gentleman in the world; he does not tell lies and he does not deceive.” Hurwitz said he will take back to Israel the knowledge that Israel is not alone but is strengthened by the American Jewish community and its friends in the Christian community.

In his new post as an advisor to Begin, Hurwitz replaces Yehuda Avner, who was named Ambassador to Britain. Hurwitz and his wife made aliya to Israel in 1978 from South Africa where he had been editor of the Jewish Herald for many years. He came to South Africa as a boy from Latvia.

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