WASHINGTON (Jul. 28)
Eight prominent American Jews accompanied Vice President George Bush to Israel, the Vice President’s office here confirmed Monday. All were people Bush consulted in planning his trip to the Jewish State, according to Gayle Fisher, an assistant press secretary to the Vice President. She said that all eight paid their own way for a one-way trip to Israel. They will not accompany Bush to Jordan and Egypt but will return to the United States on their own.
The eight are all members of the National Jewish Coalition and included Gordon Zacks, national cochairperson of the Coalition, and Jacob Stein, President Reagan’s first liaison to the Jewish community. However, they were not accompanying Bush as Coalition members but as independent advisors.
Observers here believe that Bush is using his visit to Israel to help him in his forthcoming campaign for the Republican nomination for the Presidency.
Although he has frequently represented the Reagan Administration before national Jewish organizations, Bush does not have such close ties to the Jewish community as do two of his potential rivals, Rep. Jack Kemp (R. NY) and Senate Majority leader Robert Dole (R. Kans.), who are known for their strong support of Israel.
The Bush party was accompanied by a television crew from a political action committee set up to raise funds for Bush. It will not be surprising to see pictures of Bush at the Western Wall and Yad Vashem appear during primaries in states with large Jewish populations.
Zacks, of Columbus, Ohio, is considered one of the persons closest to Bush in the Jewish community and has frequently introduced the Vice President to Jewish audiences. The other Jews who accompanied Bush are believed to be supporting him, according to sources.
In addition to Zacks and Stein, Fisher identified those accompanying Bush as: Ivan Novick, Pittsburgh, former president of the Zionist Organization of America; Paul Borman, of Detroit; Joseph Gildenhorn, of Washington, D.C.; Barbara Gold, of Chicago; Richard Goldman, of San Francisco; and Jay Kislak, of Miami.