ARLINGTON, Va. (Aug. 30)
Yosef Yaakov, the Israeli Consulate General in Washington, D.C., stressed here today that Israel would never attend the International Conference on the Middle East recently urged by the Soviet Union.
“We will not attend an international conference run by the Soviet Union which does not recognize Israel, which has broken diplomatic relations and which openly supplies weapons to the Arabs, “Yaakov told the some 1,500 delegates to the 89th convention of the Jewish War Veterans at the Hyatt Regency-Crystal City here.
He noted that if such a conference was held, “the Arabs can always say as they have said for 36 years” that they didn’t negotiate with Israel but only attended a conference at which Israel was present. “When they sit across a table and recognize us and negotiate with us and dialogue with us and when they give us the same equality and legitimacy that they want for themselves,” that is when there is a chance there will be peace in the Middle East, Yacov said.
But he stressed that Israel’s main problem today is not the military threat from its Arab neighbors but the economic crisis and inflation. However, he noted that this problem was caused by the military threat since no other country had to devote one-third of what it produces to defense.
Asked about the recent activities of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the leader of the extremist Kach Party in Israel, Yaakov said that it was Israel’s democracy that enabled Kahane to win election to the Knesset. But he noted the “lopsided” publicity given Kahane both in Israel and in the United States as he said it was for the Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan, even though Kahane represents only a small part of the Israeli population.
He noted that all the parties in Israel have “ostracized” Kahane. The more Kahane talks, the more it is clear what he stands for and the more the Israeli public becomes opposed to him, Yaakov said.
Asked about the control of Orthodox Jewry in life in Israel, Yaakov said this will only be ended when 100,000 American Reform and Conservative Jews make aliya.
Kahan’s is scheduled to arrive in New York tomorrow morning to beging a series of speaking engagements and to raise money. He is scheduled to depart the United States on September 25, according to a spokesperson for Kahane in New York.