NEW YORK (Oct. 10)
Chaika Grossman, a Mapam member of Knesset, said here last night that she will be going to Nicaragua at the invitation of its ruling Sandinista government. “I am going to Nicaragua because I am a representative of Mapam and I’m invited, ” she told an audience of more than 100 people at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.
A spokesperson for Grossman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the veteran Mapam leader is scheduled to leave today for a three-day visit to the Central American country, which has been accused of forcing the Jewish community there into exile.
The Polish-born Grossman, who was a leader of the Bialystok Ghetto uprising against the Nazis, said she viewed her trip to Nicaragua as an “opportunity to see if the Sandinistas are … real enemies.”She said she wants to determine if the Sandinistas, which have reported links to the PLO, are indeed anti-Semites.
Grossman also said she will be seeking to aid in reestablishing the diplomatic ties with Israel which the Sandinistas unilaterally broke after taking power in 1979. “There is hope for new relations, if not with the new (Israeli) government, then with a part of Israel, ” she said.
Grossman’s spokesperson said she will visit Nicaragua at Mapam’s expense. She will be seeking to lay the groundwork for a possible exchange of agricultural information spearheaded by the Kibbutz Artzi Federation, representing 84 kibbutzim affiliated with Mapam.
An Israeli Consulate official here said today that the Israeli government would be willing to reestablish diplomatic ties with Nicaragua, which, he indicated, were broken by the Sandinistas.
Responding to accusations that Israel has supplied weapons to anti-Sandinista rebels fighting in Nicaragua, charges denied by Israeli government officials, Grossman pointed out that Mapam had proposed in the previous Knesset to ban the sale of weapons to any “area where there was a civil war. ” The proposal was defeated, she said, but added that Mapam hopes to reintroduce it.
LABOR PARTY COMES UNDER FIRE
The main thrust of her 45-minute talk was on the Labor Party decision to join with Likud to form a unity government. She said that Labor Party members, “went into elections with us as an alternative to annexations, to continued settlements, to the policy on the economy.” Now, she said, people can no longer differentiate between Labor and Herut.
Grossman condemned the Labor Party for participating in the unity government, charging that some of the new government’s initial economic measures have “hurt children and workers” while not cutting the military budget, effecting a withdrawal from Lebanon, or reducing the budget for the settlements.
Grossman, who was recently elected political secretary of Mapam, said that if the Labor Alignment in the Histadrut will not fight against economic proposals which she said burdened workers and the poor unfairly, “then Mapam will have to split from the Alignment in the Histadrut” just at it ended its alignment with Labor in the government and is now an independent Knesset faction. Histadrut elections are scheduled in April, 1985.