Shamir Hints at Role for the USSR

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir indicated today that Israel may view favorably the participation of the Soviet Union in the efforts to achieve a Middle East peace should the Soviets renew relations with the Jewish State.

But, speaking to reporters at Ben Gurion airport on his return from a three-day official visit to Rumania, Shamir also said as long as the USSR does not maintain normal diplomatic relations with Israel, there will be no cooperation between the two countries.

He said this was his response to comments by Rumanian officials that there can be no settlement in the Mideast without Soviet participation. The Soviets broke off diplomatic ties with Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War.

Shamir also reported on his meetings with representatives of the Rumanian Jewish community, said to number nearly 30,000. He said Rumania’s Jewish community was living a “full Jewish life.” He said he was deeply impressed by the Jewish youths’ enthusiasm for Zionism. Some 1,500 Jews are expected to make aliya this year. The Foreign Minister also participated in a moving ceremony in the Bucharest Synagogue, jammed with hundreds of mostly elderly people. He told them in Yiddish, “I bring you a hearty greeting from the State of Israel, the government and Premier Menachem Begin.” His comments were often interrupted by loud applause, and the calls of “Am Yisrael Chai.”

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