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September 04, 1970 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-09-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Bonn Pro-Kremlin Line at Israel's Expense

(Editor's Note: The Jewish Telegraphic
Agency's correspondent in Bonn. Al.
fred Waltman... has become a center
of controversy. An article he wrote for
the influential newspaper Die Welt
criticizing the Middle East policy of
the Brandt government ruffled official
feelings. Especially resented was Wolf.
mann's charge that Bonn's rapproche-
ment with Moscow and the East Eu-
ropean Communist bloc was at the
expense of relations with Israel. The
following Is Wolfmann's view of the
situation in West Germany today.)


(Copyright 1975, JTA, Inc.)

A few weeks ago this corre-
spondent attended a press briefing
by Foreign Minister Walter Scheel
for a select group of German and
foreign newspapermen. The Bonn
correspondent of Pravda, the So-
viet Communist Party organ, was
present and it was obviously for
his benefit that Herr Scheel stress-
ed his belief that Moscow is striv-
ing sincerely for a peaceful world
and the renunciation of force.
This correspondent could not
control his reaction. I asked Herr
Scheel, with whom I have had
exclusive interviews in the past,
how he could reconcile a striving
for peace by the Soviet Union with
its brutal one-sided intervention
in the Middle East conflict. The
foreign minister replied. "You
know, I am generally against wars.
And I believe that all the great
powers who are interested in the
Middle East problem are making
sincere efforts to solve the con-
flict peacefully."

The reply was an evasive one.
When I pressed Herr Scheel fur-
ther on the subject he became
visibly irritated. The Pravda
correspondent had a good laugh.
This minor exchange is worth
reporting because it is symp-
tomatic of the change that has
come over Bonn's attitude to-
ward Israel since the coalition
of Chancellor Willy Brandt's
Social Democratic Party and the
Free Democrats (the party of
Walter Scheel) formed a gov-
ernment after last year's na-
tional election.
For the purposes of orientation,

let me recall that the relationship
between Israel and West Germany
has been a very special one from
the outset, transcending formal
diplomatic relations. Bonn and
Jerusalem exchanged ambassadors
only in 1965. Long before that,
during the regime of Konrad Ad-
enauer, an unwritten principle of
West Germany's foreign policy
was support for Israel, concern
for Israel's development and wel-
fare and a determination to pro-
tect its interests. Obviously this
sprang from West Germany's
sense of obligation towards the
little nation that became the haven
for the survivors of the Nazi Holo-
Practical manifestations were
the $822.000.000 Bonn-Israel rep-
arations pact of 1952 and the
economic aid that West Germany
still renders Israel, currently at

the rate of about 535,000,000 a
year. But the spirit of West Ger-
man friendship counted more than
the substance of its aid. This
spirit continued after Adenauer,
through the regimes of Ludwig
Erhardt and Kurt Georg Kiesingcr.
That it is changing now under
Chancellor Willy Brandt, a man
with impeccable anti-Nazi creden-
tials and a long record of friend-
ship toward Israel in the past, is
both shocking and painful. But it
cannot be denied.
It was no accident that govern-
ment spokesman Conrad Ahlers
recently "regretted" publicly an
Israeli retaliatory incursion into
southern Lebanon. This followed
the ambush murder of eight Is-
raeli school children by Arab ter-
rorists on the Lebanese border.
State Secretary Ahlers apparently
wanted to show Moscow, East Ber-
lin and the Arab world that the
Bonn government could rap Is-
rael's knuckles when need be,
refuting Communist and Arab
propaganda that West Germany is
always in league with Israel.
No one can fault West Ger-

many for trying to improve its
relations with the East and with
the Arabs. The latter broke their
diplomatic ties with Bonn when
it recognized Israel five years
ago; some Arab states have
since extended recognition to the
East German Peoples Republic.
There is nothing sinister in Bonn
wanting to repair these fences,
unless it is done at the expense
of Israel.

West German spokesmen have
repeatedly assured Israel that
this would not be the case. Never-
theless, the move toward "normal-
izing" Ponn-Israel relations was
started two years ago when Herr
Brandt, then foreign minister, de-
clared in New York that "20 years
are enough." That remark was
intended to cancel for West Ger-
many its 20-year debt to the vic-
tims of Nazism.. When he became
chancellor last year, Brandt had
no words to say about German
relations with Israel though all of
his predecessors had made a point
of defining Germany's special obli-
gation when they took office.
Chancellor Brandt obviously be-
lieves that his personal anti-Nazi
record allows him to demonstrate a
certain amount of diplomatic cool-
ness toward Israel without raising

A contributing factor to the
changed atmosphere in Bonn is
the new Israeli ambassador,
Eliashiv Ben Horin, who re-

placed Israel's first envoy, Asher
Ben Natan, this year. Ben
Natan was always on the alert
for anti-Israel manifestations
and cried out loudly and pub-
licly if 'he found any. His suc-
cessor has a different person-
ality. Ben florin works more

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Intfic.p1- 12montbs more than 2000 Arrtrican Jews
participated in f lisf-i+s+o Israel undek- UJ A auspfce.s
to observe conditions in that country.

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t he cou ntry. R9in falls only in -file winter. months .

48—Friday, September 4, 1970

up Vialon's claim that whatever
he did during the war was under
orders and without knowledge of
the fate of the Jews. Sheel him-
bassador Ben Natan, takes his
self told me a few years ago that
Instructions from Jerusalem.
had seen the Jewish ghettos as
a few weeks ago, Herr Scheel in- he
Ambassadors do not make poli-
a Wehrmacht soldier during World
fluenced a Free Democratic War II and was convinced that it
cies. But the styles with which
they carry them out can make
Party congress to intervene
was humanly impossible to do any-
a profound difference. At least
the Italian and Netherlands gov- thing about the conditions.
so it seems in Bonn today.
ernments for the release of war
There are political circles in the
criminals still jailed in those
The Israeli envoy saw fit to
West German capital who believe
criticize this correspondent pub- countries. He refused to call
Bonn government has made
licly for the article he published
the euphemism, "convicted per- concessions to the Soviet govern-
in Axel Springer's newspaper, Die
in order to secure the "re-
Welt, pointing out the changes in
called for the release of Rudolph nunciation of force" treaty signed
official attitude toward Israel.
in Moscow. According to
Herr Scheel was obviously upset Hess, Hitler's one-time deputy
who is serving a life term at these circles, the Federal Repub-
by my article and complained to
Spandau prison in Berlin as a lic has indicated that it would fol-
the Israeli ambassador inasmuch
low a line in the Middle East
war criminal.
as I am correspondent for an Is-
Scheel defends his state secre- closer to the Kremlin's. There is
melt newspaper.
Ambassador Ben Horin later tary, Karl-Friedrich Vialon, a man an awareness of this in Israeli
gave me his personal apologies. It I with a long Nazi record. He backs political quarters.

quietly; he is less the gadfly
and more the diplomatic soother.
Of course, he, no less than am-

is his duty, of course, to maintain
good relations with West Ger-
many's foreign minister.
Herr Scheel has favored the re-
lease of Nazi war criminals. Only

Richard Tucker a Sensation in Israel

Special Jewish News
Correspondent in Israel
TEL AVIV — The world-famous
singer, Richard Tucker, is now
visiting Israel and taking part in
a music festival as soloist in
Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

(Tucker will be soloist at the
Balfour Concert of the Zionist
Organization of Detroit Nov. 21
at Ford Auditorium.)

When the last concert of the
Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra
ended this season in the Mann
Auditorium in Tel Aviv, Richard
Tucker got up and sang together
with a choir of 300 men, when the
Orchestra played "Hatikva" under
the conductor Zubin Mehta. Such
a ",Hatikva" was never heard in
Israel up till now.
On Sabbath Rosh Hodesh, Tucker
visited the Wailing Wall on the
anniversary of his father's death.
Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem
had a special surprise for him. He
ordered the old synagogue of
Yohanan Ben Zakai in the Old
City be opened to let Tucker pray
in it. In this synagogue, no prayers
were said since the Jordanian
army captured the Old City in
1948. Stones and sand were re-
moved quickly from the syna-
gogue. A Torah Scroll was brought
in and Tucker held a public
prayer there. Before leaving the
country, Tucker gave a concert
for wounded Israeli soldiers in the
"Assaf Harofe" hospital in Sara-
The National Theater Habima
has no luck. After many years of
troubles and worries, until the

Hebrew Corner

Labor Federation

"There are some things In Israel
which I do not understand," a friend
of mine who came from Canada for
a visit to Israel, said to me one day.
"For example, the elections in the Gen-
eral Federation of Labor. Your news-
papers write so much about them!"
'The elections in the 'Histadrut' are
a very important matter," I answered.
"Important? For the whole country?
This is what I do not understand."
"The number of 'Histadrut' members
is today over 1.100,000. Together with
their families, they are the majority
of inhabitants of the country. A matter
which is important to the majority of
inhabitants is Important to the whole
"How did it happen that the majority
of the inhabitants are members of one
organization? They always say that
where there are three Jews you will
find four organizations!"
'The conditions under which the
Yishuv (Jewish settlement) developed
in Israel were such that there was 3
need for a large, strong labor organiza-
tion. When the 'Histadrut' was founded
in 1920, it concerned itself with (lit.
took upon Itself the concern) all the
needs of the laborers as there was no
other body which took care of them.
It had to take care not only of find-
ing work for its members, but also of
creating work for them. It had to see
to the laborer's occupational protec-
tion, health services, housing, educa-
tion of children, sport and even to
books in Hebrew."
"In other words, to all aspects (lit.
areas of life."
In the last . 21 years,
some of these functions have been
transferred (lit. passed) to the govern.
ment—education of children, for exam-
ple. But today too, the 'Histadrut' is
active in many fields and fulfills Im-
portant functions in the life of the
Translation of Hebrew Column issued

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS wbyithBICIet re i nvrItika°rioanmLetarbuto

Israeli government has given it ' to be stopped on the wish of the
the status of a National Theater author and now the Israeli regis-
and helped it to build a new mod- seur, Yosef Milo, is expected to
ern hall for 10,000.000 Israeli take over the preparation for its
pounds, Habima faces new diffi- showing.
After the failure of the first
Some of their managers were three performances, the art three-
accused of misusing funds. They for of Habima, David William.
were arrested and released on from London, left Israel and the
bail until their trial. Then, a new theater remained without an art
crisis broke out, when the artists director. The administrative 'Ii-
strongly criticized the manager of rector, Gabriel Zifroni, acted as
the theater, the famous journalist, art director until the artists of
the theater opposed this procedure
Gabriel Zifroni.
The first three performances in and demanded the appointment of
the new hall were a complete the famous artist, Shimon Finkel,
flop. The hall was half empty. as art director. Finkel was man-
During the summer a play was ager of Habima years ago. Zifroni
staged by the Israeli author Ben- has published a declaration in
zion Tamar, "Friend Tell About which he stated that internal in-
Jimmy" (a play about the period trigues among artists caused the
of the Palmach and the British new uproar in the theater.
Zifroni is ill and the minister
mandate in Eretz Israel). The
regisseur was the new immigrant of culture, Yigal Alton, and the
from Romania, Roda Miran, who chairman of the public committee
did not know this period and for Habima are waiting for his
failed in the part. The play had return to try to solve the new crisis.

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