Herzog on State Visit to Switzerland First Such Visit by an Israeli President
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Herzog on State Visit to Switzerland First Such Visit by an Israeli President

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President Chaim Herzog’s state visit to Switzerland coincides with the 90th anniversary of the first World Zionist Congress, convened in Basel in 1897 by Theodor Herzl, who predicted with amazing accuracy that within 50 years there would be a Jewish State.

Herzog, accompanied by his wife Aura and aides, landed at Zurich Airport Wednesday morning, where he was greeted by his host, President Pierre Auber, who is also the country’s Foreign Minister.

Immediately after airport ceremonies, Herzog went to Basel, where he received a warm welcome from the Canton authorities at the City Hall. He will remain in Switzerland over the weekend and then go to visit Germany (related story P.4).

Herzog is the first President of Israel to visit Switzerland officially and his arrival has stirred the country’s 18,000 Jews, He returned to Zurich Wednesday evening for a reception given by the Federation, of Jewish Communities in Switzerland. George Brunshweitz, president of the Federation held a dinner in his honor at the Baur Au Lac hotel.


Israel and Switzerland have excellent relations. The Swiss Defense Ministry is a customer of Israel’s arms industry. A majority of the Swiss are pro-Israel, though certain banks and manufacturers have been wary of business ties because of the Arab boycott.

The Herzogs will be guests of president Auber and his wife Anne-Lise at their home in Neuchatel Friday and the two heads of state are expected to discuss trade and cultural relations. Another subject will be Israel’s relations with the International Red Cross, which is headquartered in Switzerland. Those relation have deteriorated of late. The Red Cross maintains that Israel does not adhere to the 4th Geneva Convention with respect to the Arab population of the administered territories.

The Red Cross moreover has refused to recognize its Israeli equivalent, the Magen David Adom, though earlier this year it incorporated the Moslem Red Crescent organization.

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