NEW YORK (Feb. 5)
The most representative group of American Jewish leaders ever to visit Israel together will leave New York Saturday night, February II, on a six-day mission sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The presidents of 23 national Jewish organizations will be among the 72 men and women participating in the mission, which is being undertaken at the invitation of Israeli Premier Yitzhak Shamir. The group will fly non-stop to and from New York via El Al jumbo jet, returning to New York on February 17.
Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference, will head the delegation of Jewish leaders, who will meet with key officials of the Israel government, the opposition Labor Party, Israel-based Zionist bodies and top American diplomatic personnel stationed in Israel. The delegates will be the guests at a dinner in the Knesset hosted by Shamir and will be briefed on Israel’s security needs by Defense Minister Moshe Arens and top military officers.
Special emphasis will be given to Israel’s economic situation, with briefings by Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen-Orgad, Economics Minister Yaacov Meridor, Energy Minister Yitzhak Modai, and Trade and Industry Minister Gideon Patt. Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem will also meet with the Conference of Presidents leaders, as will Shimon Peres, leader of the Labor Party; the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Samuel Lewis; and Leon Dulzin, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency executives.
In announcing the mission, Berman declared:
“This visit to Israel comes at a crucial moment in the history of the Middle East and of U.S.-Israel relations. The military and economic agreements reached by Prime Minister Shamir and President Reagan have opened a new era that holds the promise of great future progress. At the same time, Israel faces deteriorating conditions in Lebanon and an economic situation that demands great sacrifices at home and strong efforts by Israel’s friends to help the Jewish state move toward economic independence.
“These are some of the issues that will be on our agenda in the face-to-face talks that we expect to hold with our Israeli hosts. The full spectrum of American Jewish life, representing all shades of political opinion, will be included among our delegates.”