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King of Spain May Visit Israel, Arens Says on Return from Madrid

King Juan Carlos of Spain has agreed in principle to make a state visit to Israel, Foreign Minister Moshe Arens announced Wednesday evening, upon his return from Madrid.

This would be the first visit to Israel by a Spanish head of state, and one of the very few royal visits at all to the Jewish state. No date has yet been set for the king’s trip.

Arens spoke of the Spanish people as having a “strong desire for reconciliation” with the Jewish people. He reported that Spain’s small Jewish community is hoping for a formal annulment in 1992 of the 500-year-old decree expelling Jews from Spain.

With regard to the peace process, Arens refused to say what he thought of Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s visit to Washington last week.

He said he would want to discuss the substance of the visit with Rabin before passing judgment as to whether the defense minister strayed from government policy while in Washington.

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