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Concern Expressed That Israel’s Relations with South Africa May Further Strain Relations with U.S.

Concern was expressed here over the weekend that Israel’s relations with South Africa may further aggravate its relations with the U.S., already under strain from the Jonathan Pollard spy case.

Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres referred to that issue in a speech to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Hadassah here Saturday night on the eve of a State Department report on countries which maintain military relations with South Africa.

Israel will not initiate new military contacts with the Pretoria regime, Peres said, but it would honor past agreements.

Knesset member Yossi Sarid of the Citizens Rights Movement (CRM) demanded Sunday that Israel sever all relations with South Africa. He said it would be wise to act quickly to avoid “the next scandal, with Israeli leaders claiming ‘they did not know, did not hear’, ” a reference to the Pollard affair.

Meanwhile, the defense establishment is awaiting the arrival here Monday of John Marsh, Secretary of the U.S. Army. He is expected to meet with top Defense Ministry officials and other Israeli leaders and will visit military industry plants.