NEW YORK (Nov. 12)
Former Foreign Minister Abba Eban has urged the United States to return to the role of mediator in the Middle East as a means of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. “There is no substitute for the United States as the agent for conciliation in the Middle East,” Eban declared at a press conference here Thursday shortly before he received the 1984 Covenant of Peace Award from the Synagogue Council of America. He said he hoped the Reagan Administration would soon decide to resume America’s mediating role to achieve peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
“The next major step for a Middle East peace is a return of the U.S. to the negotiating table,” Eban said. A second step is the restoration of “some warmth” to the Egyptian-Israeli relationship, he added, noting that this was also the view expressed to him by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak when they met in Cairo last April.
DANISH GOVERNMENT HONORED
The Synagogue Council, an umbrella organization representing the congregational and rabbinical branches of Conservative, Orthodox and Reform Judaism in America, also bestowed its Covenant of Peace Award on the Danish government for its rescue of Danish Jews from Nazi deportation during World War II, and businessman Eugene Grant, a real estate investor and developer from Mamaroneck, N.Y.
The statuette representing the prophet Isaiah, was presented to the awardees by Rabbi Mordechai Waxman, SCA president. A special award of a shofar was given to the Danish-born entertainer, Victor Borge. It was presented by J. Morton Davis, last year’s Covenant of Peace recipient.
Mimi Stilling, Denmark’s Minister for Cultural Affairs, accepted the award on behalf of her government. She told the audience of 500 attending the award ceremonies at the Hotel Pierre that Denmark was able to rescue most of its 7,700 Jews precisely because the Jews had become closely integrated into Danish society. “It was one Dane helping another Dane,” she said.
‘AHAVATH YISRAEL’ URGED
Eban, in his acceptance speech, praised the SCA as “a very rare example of an ecumenical spirit in Judaism.” The Israeli diplomat who presently chairs the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, drew a parallel between the SCA and Israel’s Labor-Likud unity coalition government. Both he said embroce the Jewish spirit of “Ahavath Yisrael” (love of Israel).
“When this happens, we are beginning to learn the lesson of bitter experience to avoid rhetoric and differences, to create organizational frameworks in which we reconcile diversity of opinion with the unity of purpose and of Jewish allegiance,” he said.