TEL AVIV (Oct. 24)
Improved trade and economic ties are expected to develop between Israel and the Soviet Union as a consequence of Vice Premier Shimon Peres’ forthcoming trip to the Soviet Union.
This is to include direct air routes between the two countries and establishment of ocean freight service that would bring the belongings of Soviet Jews to their new home in Israel.
Peres’ policy adviser, Nimrod Novik, returned from Moscow Sunday after completing arrangements for the visit, which is scheduled for the first week in December.
He said the Soviets expect a “high profile” event and that Peres, who is Israel’s finance minister, plans to focus on economic issues.
Novik said that during his stay in Moscow, agreement was reached in principle to establish an ocean freight service between Israeli and Soviet ports.
The cargo ships will carry the personal effects of Soviet Jewish immigrants expected to come to Israel in large numbers in the near future. But their main purpose will be to facilitate the exchange of goods between the two countries as commerce develops.
The shipping agreement followed closely on the agreement to establish regular air service between Moscow and Tel Aviv. It involves the two national air carriers, Aeroflot and El Al, which will operate both scheduled and charter flights.
This was a dream Israel long sought, to ensure that Jewish emigres who left the Soviet Union on Israeli visas went to Israel instead of a Western country.
The direct flights will also make it easier for the increasing number of Soviet Jewish tourists who are going to Israel for one to three-month visits.
In New York, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry issued a statement last week welcoming the agreement on direct flights.
Shoshana Cardin, the conference’s chairwoman, said the accord “demonstrates that the Soviet authorities may now be prepared to acknowledge their responsibility to live up to” international agreements regarding “the fundamental human right to leave one’s country.”