Simcha DinitzSimcha Dinitz, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., declared here that Israel should give top priority to repairing its relations with Washington. Addressing the 25th national convention of the Labor Zionist Alliance, the former envoy, a prominent member of the opposition Labor Party, said the present state of U.S.-Israel relations is his “greatest concern.”

Dinitz stressed that the focus of Israeli diplomacy now must be to reach a memorandum of agreement with the U.S. that would recommit it to the proposition that Israel should have secure and recognized boundaries; that it rejects a Palestinian state; and that it continues to support a unified Jerusalem.

He expressed concern that once Israel completes its withdrawal from Sinai next April it will come under great pressure to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders on all fronts, to divide Jerusalem and to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state headed by Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat.

Rep. Stephen Solarz (D. N.Y.) told the LZA convention that “not since Suez in 1956 have the relations between the United States and Israel been at the breaking point.” He said that American support for Israel “is stretched dangerously thin.” He indicated that if new tensions develop between the U.S. and Israel, American foreign aid to the Jewish State could be in jeopardy.

Ezra Spicehandler New LZA President

At the final session of the LZA convention Rabbi Ezra Spicehandler, Distinguished Service Professor of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, was elected president. A scholar, writer and active Labor Zionist leader, Spicehandler succeeds Prof. Allen Pollack, who has announced that he is making aliya.

Spicehandler, who was a vice president of the World Union of Progressive Judaism and is now a member of that group’s governing board, said “the rise of political and religious reaction in both East and West brings with it a new threat to Jewish physical survival and Jewish spiritual life. This is exacerbated by the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish forces unleashed in Western Europe and the U.S. because of their increased dependency on Arab oil and the steady increase of anti-Semitism in Russia and Eastern Europe.”