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Israeli Official Says Israel Rejects Apartheid but Must Let Western Governments Establish Policy

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Minister of Immigration Yaacov Tsur, greeting 50 youthful olim from South Africa at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday, made clear that Israel totally rejects the apartheid regime but must leave it to the Western powers to establish policy toward the Pretoria government.

“We must be part of the Western world, including the U.S., in our policy toward the South African governments but I do not recommend that Israel play a leading role on this issue,” Tsur said. He stressed that “Israel opposes the apartheid regime in South Africa and rejects everything related to it. However, Israel’s responsibility and commitment to the Jewish community calls for a warm and continuous connection with the Jews there, in order to encourage their immigration to Israel.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Harold Rudolph of Johannesburg, who is visiting Israel, said economic sanctions against South Africa would not harm the Jewish community. But he said he would be disappointed, nevertheless, were Israel to impose sanctions, “since sanctions don’t solve a thing and don’t help anyone.”

Rudolph, who is Jewish, spoke at a new immigrant absorption center in Rishon LeZion where immigrants from South Africa have settled. His visit, which began last Thursday, had been kept secret because of the tense situation surrounding relations between Israel and South Africa. It was disclosed Sunday after the Rishon LeZion town council issued a press release about his arrival which was published in the newspaper Maariv.

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