LONDON (Jan. 21)
Israeli Premier Shimon Peres, who arrives in Britain tonight for a five-day visit, will be the first Israeli leader to be received by a senior member of the British royal family.
It will happen when he attends lunch as guest of the Prince and Princess of Wales. The heir to the throne’s invitation to Peres is regarded here as an attempt to make up for the fact that the British royal family has not yet visited the Jewish State despite frequent invitations.
Peres is coming to Britain as guest of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the first such visit since then Premier Menachem Begin was received by Labor Prime Minister James Callaghan eight years ago. The atmosphere for the Peres-Thatcher encounter had been threatened by a British invitation to a PLO-Jordanian joint delegation three months ago. But Israeli displeasure at the planned meeting was softened when the British, at the last minute, refused to talk to their PLO guests.
The royal luncheon for Peres is regarded as further evidence of Britain’s wish to improve relations with the Israelis. It should also go down well in the British Jewish community which has increasingly resented the lack of contact between the royal family and the Jewish State.
Peres will make two major speeches–at the Royal Institute for International Affairs and at a dinner hosted by Thatcher. He will also have talks with Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe and Trade Secretary Leon Brittan, as well as with opposition party leaders.
Peres will also address Jewish communal gatherings and pay a private call on 88-year-old Dorothy de Rothschild, who last offered to finance the construction in Jerusalem of a new national Supreme Court building. He will also visit Oxford University to meet Sir Isaiah Berlin, the philosopher.
Peres will arrive in London from The Netherlands, where he is paying an official visit. He will leave here for West Berlin, the first visit to the former capital of Nazi Germany by an Israeli Premier.