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September 19, 1980 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-09-19

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

8 frill, September 19, 1980

Israeli Ties to Latin America Still Remain Strong

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By DAVID LANDAU

JERUSALEM (JTA) —
The withdrawal of 11 Latin
American embassies from

342-7801

But, in the view of Avraham
Argov, a leading expert on
Israel-South American re-
lations, it does not necessar-
ily presage a general wor-
sening or even weakening
in the close ties that bind
Israel with many of the
Latin American countries.
Argov, who is director of
the Latin American section
in the World Zionist Organ-
ization, said pro-Israel sen-
timents were still very
strong in South and Central
America, both among the
governments of the conti-
nent and among the
peoples. "The man in the
street in most Latin Ak-neri-
can countries supports Is-
rael," Argov said.
Himself an immigrant
from Latin America, Argov
has several times revisited
the continent. His next trip
will be this fall, to Sao
Paulo, Brazil, where he is to
help organize a conference
of Jewish and Zionist lead-
ers from all over the conti-
nent. The conference, from
Nov. 9-13, will be a major
watershed in Latin Ameri-
can Jewish affairs.
Argov ascribes the em-
bassy moves to political
pressure, rather than
merely direct oil threats. He
points out that two of the
countries involved, Ven-
ezuela and Ecuador, pro-

Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in re-
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duce their own oil and are
therefore not susceptible to
oil blackmail.
Citing the bases of tradi-
tionally good relations be-
tween Israel and Latin
American states, Argov
noted particularly the in-
ternational cooperation
programs with many of the
smaller countries.
Guatemala, Colombia
and ,Costa Rica are among
those that benefit the most
from Israeli projects. The
aid is conducted through
three main channels inside
Iprael: the Mt. Carmel Insti-
tute, the Histadrut's Insti-
tute for Development Aid,
and the Hebrew Univer-
sity's agriculture faculty at
Rehovot which specializes
in overseas aid courses.
In addition, there are Is-
raeli experts in such fields
as irrigation, cooperative
economy, agriculture,
youth movements and
water planning serving in a
number of Latin American
countries.
Argov also underscores a
common experience of, and
reaction to, terrorism as a
factor tending to strengthen
political understanding be-
tween Israel and some of the
Latin American govern-
ments. Some of the Latin
American terrorist organ-
izations have proven links
with the Palestine Libera-
tion Organization.
This factor is true mainly
of the right-wing military
regimes in the southern
part of the continent. In the
more northerly states that
have a more democratic
political system, Israel finds
itself sometimes under at-
tack from left-wing parties
that tend to sympathize
more with PLO and general
Palestinian aspirations.
The actions of Jewish
communities in several of
,the Latin American coun-
tries to the Jerusalem
episode has been notewor-
thy, says Argov, especially

in view of the difficult polit-
ical situations and con-
straints in some of those
countries.
In Uruguay, for instance,
the community invited
former Premier Yitzhak
Rabin, on a visit to Argen-
tina, to address a public
gathering, and 4,000 per-
sons (the community num-
bers 45,000) turned ou'
hear him. The gather)„,
was an impressive public
display of solidarity with Is-
rael and with Israel's stand
on Jerusalem.
In Chile, the presidents of
the Jewish community and
of the local Zionist federa-
tion met with President
Augusto Pinochet in an ef-
fort to dissuade him from
moving the embassy — or at
least to persuade him to
minimize the damage to
Israeli-Chile relations.
(Chile's 28,000 Jews and the
country's sizeable Arab
community traditionally
try to avoid the Israel-Arab
conflict in the Middle East
from marring inter-
communal relations within
the country.)
In Central America, the
"Fedeco," an umbrella
group embracing the
Jewish communities of all
six states, held its biennial
session in Costa Rica at the
height of the crisis over the
Jerusalem law. The two
guests of honor were Costa
Rica's President Rodrigo
Carazo and Israel's Uzi
Narkiss, the "liberator of
Jerusalem."
(Fedeco has formally
applied for membership in
the World Zionist Organiza-
tion. It represents an esti-
mated 8,000 Jews in these
six countries.)
In other countries, Jewish
reactions have been less vis-
ible, but in several of them
local Zionist federations
have been active in lobby-
ing politically for Israel and
seeking to contain the ef-
fects of the embassy moves.

Holocaust Memoirs Become
Documentaries' in Boston

and disseminating informa-
tion relating to this
A comprehensive effort uniquely distinct and ter-
has been started in Boston rifying experience."
He said the project
to videotape the recollec-
tions of survivors of the would also provide wit-
Holocaust living in the area ness to the invincibility of
with the taping of those re- the human spirit because
collections being done in the the testimonies would
Jewish Community Center come not only from Jews
who survived but also
in Newton.
Prof. Monroe Freedman, from survivors who built
President Carter's newly- a new life in a new
appointed director .. of the environment.
-
Marian Wexler,
United States Holocaust
Memorial Council, said the dinator of the Boston proj-
recordings by the Holocaust ect, estimated there are
Survivors Film Project were more than 2,000 survivors
"consistent with the Na- living in the Greater Boston
tional Council's goals and area. She added that the
President Carter's pro- current funding "provides
nouncement that 'we must for a pilot project in which
teach the lessons of the some 20 survivors will re-
Holocaust' and that most of cord their testimonies. The
all, we ourselves must re- tapes will then be edited
and widely distributed for a
member. -
Bernard Wax, director of multitude of educational
the American Jewish His- and commemorative pur-
torical Society, said the vid- poses."
eotapes would provide a
In 1975, Israel exported
basic research tool "essen-
tial for those of us engaged $550 million worth of
in collecting, preserving diamonds.

By BEN GALLOB

(Copyright 1980, JTA, Inc.)

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