Israel-Switzerland: MFA Spokesman Response to Statement by Edgar Bronfman

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
March 10, 1998

In response to a question regarding the statement by Mr. Edgar Bronfman, the Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that the allegation that Switzerland was the only country which demanded payment for the gas masks supplied during the recent Gulf crisis is incorrect. Without going into details, the spokesman said that the assistance offered by Switzerland was generous, and Israel thanked the Swiss government for its good will.

With regard to Bronfman’s statements regarding the assets of Holocaust victims in Swiss bank accounts, the Foreign Ministry spokesman reiterated Israel’s position that urgent action is needed to reach an agreement for the benefit of those survivors who are still alive, and whose numbers are dwindling from year to year. The Government of Israel has placed the negotiations on this matter in the hands of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO). This decision has not changed. Israel believes that these negotiations should be conducted by accepted norms, with the avoidance of sweeping generalizations and accusations – this in order to achieve the worthy goal of restoring the assets to their rightful owners as soon as possible.