Begin Greeted in Washington
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Begin Greeted in Washington

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Premier Menachem Begin arrived here today for two days of talks with President Reagan and was greeted by some 700 members of the Washington area Jewish community with declarations of

support for Israel and cries for peace. The demonstration of welcome was organized by the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington and included people carrying such signs as “No One Wants Peace More Than Israel,” and children from the area’s day schools singing songs of peace such as Aveinu Malkenu and Avenu Shalom.

When Begin’s limousine arrived at Blair House, where the Premier will be staying until Friday, he noticed the crowd of welcomers more than a half block away and walked over to them. He was accompanied by his entire party, including Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who had welcomed Begin 30 minutes earlier at Andrews Air Force base, and the three Israeli Cabinet Ministers accompanying Begin — Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Interior Minister Yosef Burg.

Begin shook hands with many in the crowd. He apparently did not say anything to the people, but many of the welcomers said he had tears in his eyes.

Begin will be officially welcomed to the White House by President Reagan tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, the Premier met with Haig this afternoon to discuss the upcoming summit talks with Reagan. Afterwards, Haig met with the President and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger for a preliminary discussion of the summit.


Before arriving in Washington, Begin stopped over for a day in New York City where he held private meetings and prepared for his meeting with Reagan. This morning he had a meeting with representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in his suite at the Waldorf Towers. During the 90-minute meeting, Begin reportedly told the Jewish leaders that Israel is deeply concerned over the Reagan Administration’s proposal to sell AWACS to Saudi Arabia.

He also reportedly said that he will present Reagan with the Israeli view that the AWACS aircraft in the hands of the Saudis is a danger to Israel’s security. “The Israeli government reached a decision terming the Saudi AWACS a danger to Israel’s security and it is my duty to tell the President Israel’s point of view,” Begin was reported as saying.

Among the leaders who took part in the meeting were Howard Squadron, chairman of the Presidents Conference, Yehuda Hellman, the Conference’s executive director, and Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

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