Kitty Dukakis Gets Warm Welcome; Stresses Husband’s Ties to Israel

Kitty Dukakis, whose husband, Michael, is scheduled to be nominated Wednesday night as the Democratic candidate for the presidency, received an emotionally warm welcome from a largely Jewish audience Monday.

Many in the audience, including delegates to the Democratic National Convention, seemed close to tears as they welcomed her not only as the wife of the Democratic candidate, but as the potential first Jewish first lady.

Kitty Dukakis stressed the strong commitment of both her husband and herself to Israel.

“Michael Dukakis is committed to a relationship between the United States and Israel that is reciprocal and enduring,” she said.

Dukakis said her husband “believes that peace in the Middle East must come about through direct negotiations between Israel and its neighbors” and cannot be imposed from the outside.

She added that her husband “does not believe violence and terrorism can achieve peace,” nor would “the Michael Dukakis I know” reward terrorism “with cakes and Bibles.”

The latter comment was a reference to the items brought by former national security advisor Robert McFarlane to Teheran in the aborted U.S. arms-for-hostages initiative to Iran.

DEVOTION TO SOVIET JEWRY

At the meeting, which was sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Dukakis also spoke of how she and her husband were devoted to the cause of Soviet Jewry.

She said both of them were moved last Saturday, when Benjamin Charny arrived in Boston to be reunited with his family, and to receive needed medical treatment.

This ended a 9-year struggle in which the Dukakises participated to help bring him out of the Soviet Union.

Dukakis said Charny’s arrival in Boston “brought tears to my eyes,” adding that she joined in prayers that all Soviet Jews who wanted to leave the USSR be allowed to do so.

She noted that she could have been in the same position if her parents had not come from Russia in 1903.

Dukakis also said she hoped that when her husband is elected president, he will appoint her to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

She had previously served as a member of the council until President Reagan decided not to reappoint her when her term was up.

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