TEL AVIV (Sep. 20)
Declaring that he is aware of the difficult tasks that confront his government, Shimon Peres, the new Prime Minister of Israel, told me in an interview that “I’ll do my best to justify the confidence of the nation and to ensure that my Cabinet will respect the will of the voters.”
Our interview took place in Peres’ office in Tel Aviv. He was in a jovial mood despite the long and arduous days of the negotiations that led to the establishment of a government of national unity. He said that his broad coalition “will draw on the roots of the Jewish people and will work for all of Israel, bridging the cracks which have appeared within us.”
In this connection, Peres pointed out that he believed in democratic government based on the decisions of the majority and on respect for the rights of the minority. “Mine will be a government of rapprochement and good will — a government that will respect the religious public and its needs, refraining from coercion where we can. Instead, we must enlist understanding and tolerance.”
Peres added that his government will maintain the status quo in religious affairs and will ensure equal rights for all citizens of Israel, regardless of religion, nationality or origin.
PLEDGES TO WORK FOR ECONOMIC STABILITY
Turning to the very difficult economic situation, Peres pledged to work for economic stability by building a modern economy commensurate with the new economic era in the world. At the same time he made it clear that he will act to strengthen Israel’s defense forces, to implement the Camp David accords and to resume the peace momentum with Arab countries. “We’ll have to ensure the security of the settlements in the Galilee and to enable the IDF to come home.”
Peres also dwelt on the future relationship between his government and large Jewish organizations of the diaspora, expressing understanding for their importance and activities. He stressed the significance of the world Zionist organizations, and foresaw an epoch of fruitful cooperation with the World Jewish Congress, under the leadership of Edgar Bronfman, president, and Israel Singer, executive director. The Premier expressed the opinion that the WJC plays an important and positive part in Jewish life.