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Knesset Hears Attack on Ussr: Golda Meir Reports on Foreign Contacts

March 6, 1963
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A Knesset deputy of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s Mapai Party made a scathing attack in Parliament today on anti-Jewish discrimination in the Soviet Union.

Deputy Yonah Kesse, in a statement assumed to have the official backing of Mapai, denounced Soviet anti-Jewish policies during debate on the budget presentation by Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Quoting from a Soviet publication which carried an apparent incitement of the local population against the Jews, Mr, Kesse declared that “the silent cry” of Soviet Jewry was now reaching the entire world. He said the outcry would not come to an end until Soviet Jewry was restored to full equality with the rights given to those who wanted to emigrate to Israel, to do so.

Mrs. Meir, speaking at the conclusion of the debate on her Ministry’s proposed 40, 500, 000-pound ($13, 500, 000) budget, made no reference to the Russian Jewish situation beyond a brief citation from the Soviet publication to which Kesse had referred.

Replying to various criticisms, Mrs. Meir denied that the Government policy was that “not one single Arab refugee” would be readmitted to Israel, She also rejected an assertion that Israeli foreign policy was oriented on a “Paris-Bonn Axis.” She called such a charge unrealistic and said that, therefore, there could not be any suggestion of conflict with the United States in this phase of Israel’s foreign policy.


She reported that the Foreign Ministry’s Agency for International Cooperation had been further expanded, and that Israel now maintained relations of cooperation with 87 countries — of which 37 were in Africa, 23 in Latin America, 16 in Asia, and 10 in the Mediterranean basin.

She reported that Israel maintained diplomatic relations with 84 countries, 52 of which were at Embassy levels, the others being legations, She said also that, in addition to 17 consuls, there were 16 honorary consuls in smaller countries where diplomatic relations were maintained by non-resident envoys. During 1963, she said, six new consulates will be set up.

She reported that, while there had been no basic changes in Israel’s relations with East European countries, the raising of the level of representation between Israel and Poland had “given us a good deal of encouragement” as had the growing participation in artistic and athletic events in Israel by groups and individuals from Eastern Europe. She said Israeli artists had appeared in Poland, and that she hoped that “similar opportunities would be afforded our performers in other East European countries.”

She expressed her appreciation of steps taken by the Swiss Government regarding heirless property of Nazi victims held in Swiss banks, and expressed the hope that legislation would soon be approved for a complete settlement of this “painful” issue.

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