JERUSALEM (Apr. 3)
President Chaim Herzog has joined Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin in publicly criticizing the Reagan Administration for the State Department’s “advisory” to members of Congress and other U.S. public figures to avoid travel to the Middle East in the immediate future because of threats by Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi.
Addressing the 35th international anniversary Israel Bonds conference here Tuesday. Herzog said: “I welcome all the delegates, but when I see the American delegation I am pleased to note that there are still some Americans who are not prepared to take orders from Qaddafi as far as their travel plans or anything else is concerned.”
Rabin told a luncheon meeting of the Foreign Press Association in Tel Aviv Monday that the State Department caution amounted to giving in to terrorism. He said it should not be the policy of a country which aspires to be the spearhead of the fight against international terrorism.
At least two U.S. Senators. Gary Hart (D. Colo.) and Bennett Johnston (D.La.) took the State Department warning seriously and cancelled trips to the Middle East which were to have included stopovers in Israel. But another Senator, Steven Symms, a conservative Republican from Idaho, visited Jerusalem this week and told a Hebrew University audience, “I’m not prepared to have Qaddafi as my travel agent.”
Symms urged Israel to pursue a policy of “peace through strength” and to cooperate with the U.S. in fighting terrorism.