WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 21)
The West German Ambassador to the United States assured a Jewish audience here Monday that Jews need not fear a united Germany.
But an Israeli envoy who addressed the same gathering earlier was not as certain.
Ambassador Moshe Arad of Israel spoke Saturday night at the American Jewish Congress convention here. He told the 500 delegates that although Israel recognizes the right of the German people to determine their own destiny, “we are totally justified in observing with trepidation the movement toward German unification.”
Arad acknowledged that “West Germany has recognized its responsibility and has been a friend of Israel for 40 years.” But he pointed out that East Germany has only now “recognized the responsibility of the entire German people” for the crimes of the Nazi era.
Jurgen Ruhfus, the West German ambassador, delivered his first public address on the subject before a major Jewish organization.
“A stronger German role, a Germany growing together, will be viewed in some parts with concern,” he admitted.
But “Germans themselves have awakened with horror at what they did in the past and say, ‘Let this never happen again,’ ” the envoy declared.
He said the “integration of Germany into the community of free nations is the best assurance that the world need not fear a unified Germany.”
Ambassador Arad emphasized that Israel “looks with hope and concern for a renewed commitment against racism, Nazism and anti-Semitism by a united Germany.”
For Israel and the Jewish people, he said, today’s remarkable changes in Eastern Europe contain “both hopes and dangers.”