TEL AVIV (Jul. 30)
The possibility of a regional peace conference has been a bonanza for Israeli flag makers.
One of the largest, Yitzhak Berman of Jerusalem, has just completed 900 Syrian flags.
Berman says he also has orders for several hundred Jordanian, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian and Israeli flags from the same client, whom he declined to name but is believed to reside in the United States.
Washington is the peace conference venue said to be favored by Israel.
According to Berman, the run on flags is a good sign that peace is on the way.
Berman said if Assad announces tomorrow that he will visit Israel, the Syrian flags will be ready to wave. He recalls he was caught short of Egyptian flags in 1977 when President Anwar Sadat made his historic trip to Jerusalem.
A small boom in Saudi Arabian flags began after the Persian Gulf War, when the Saudi attitude toward Israel became noticeably warmer.
This was reported by Israeli ship and yacht owners, who have taken to raising the Saudi flag as a gesture of respect and good will when passing close to the Saudi coast.
Weissman-Lehman Flags of Tel Aviv has received an order for Saudi flags from the Center for Oceanic Equipment in Eilat. Shimon Namer, the center’s director, pointed out that it is an ancient maritime tradition for vessels to fly the flag of the nation they are approaching, as well as their own.
This has led to a few warm encounters at sea. The crews of Saudi navy patrol boats have been very friendly to Israeli yachts or fishing boats that drift into Saudi waters, sailors from Eilat report.
Israeli boats set their courses closer to Saudi waters than Egyptian waters, though Israel is officially at peace with Egypt and technically at war with Saudi Arabia.