TEL AVIV (Jul. 6)
The highest-ranking Soviet diplomat in Israel walked out of a reception here Wednesday, saying that he was offended by the political overtones and anti-Soviet sentiments expressed by some of those attending.
Georg Martirosov, the senior member of the Soviet consular delegation, stormed out of a reception honoring Jewish athletes from Soviet Lithuania who are participating in the 13th Maccabiah, the Jewish Olympic-style sports competitions held every four years.
Martirosov complained that the Maccabiah was being politicized.
He was referring directly to Natan Sharansky and other former refusenik activists who used the reception, hosted by Bank Leumi, as an occasion to attack Soviet policy and urge the Kremlin to allow all Jews to emigrate.
Martirosov said he “strongly opposes at-tempts by some people to use sports for politics.” He said the remarks put the soviet Lithuanian athletes in an embarrassing position.