Israel scored a major victory here yesterday when two-thirds of the governing body of the International Labor Organization (ILO) voted, against strenuous Arab opposition, to admit Israel to the Asian Regional Conference and regional activities of that United Nations agency.
The issue arose two years ago when the ILO’s Committee of Structure recommended that there should be four regions: the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. The Arab states applied immediately for admission to the Asian group. Israel did not apply at that time because there was some feeling in Jerusalem that it should seek to be a member of the European group.
The matter became one of some urgency because the annual ILO conference next June is expected to adopt the Structure Committee’s proposals, leaving Israel a member of no region. The Asian countries, under Arab pressure, opposed Israel’s entry into the Asian Regional Conference on the grounds that it would “disturb the harmony existing between the Asian countries.”
The Israeli delegate, Gideon Ben, observed that statements made about “Asian harmony” are cynical at best inasmuch as there is no harmony between Iran and Iraq or between Jordan and Syria, not to mention Vietnam and its neighbors.
The outcome was the admission of Israel to a sub-region of the Asian Regional Conference which includes Turkey and Iran.
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