Agriculture Minister’s Visit to USSR Bears Fruit, Wins Extensive Coverage

The visit to Moscow of Israel’s minister of agriculture, Avraham Katz-Oz, is receiving extensive coverage in the Soviet media and is otherwise bearing fruit.

Katz-Oz, a Labor Party member, is the first Israeli of Cabinet rank to visit the Soviet Union since the Kremlin severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967.

A report of his visit was broadcast by the state television immediately following a report of a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir on glasnost and the possibility of renewing relations between Israel and the Eastern bloc countries.

The Soviet television reporter described Katz-Oz’s visit as proof “of warmer relations between Israel and the USSR.”

It was announced, meanwhile, that seven members of the Agricultural Committee of the Supreme Soviet will visit Israel early next year as guests of Israel’s Agriculture Ministry.

According to ministry spokesman Naftali Yavin, the arrangements were made at a meeting Katz-Oz had with the committee Wednesday at a dacha (cottage) put at his disposal by the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

The Israeli minister is visiting the Soviet Union as the guest of the academy, since the absence of Soviet-Israel diplomatic ties prevents the government from hosting him itself.

The Israeli and Soviet delegations held talks Tuesday about the possible export of fresh fruit and vegetables from Israel to the Soviet Union.

The Soviet delegates expressed interest in Israeli methods to improve agricultural productivity.

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