As Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz and his wife Vivian were welcoming guests to their house yesterday for a champagne reception celebrating Israel's 30th anniversary the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was refusing to disapprove President Carter's controversial plan to sell air-planes to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Such coincidences, of course, do not go unnoticed in political-social Washington and certainly did not yesterday. "I'm not going to get into a discussion about that," said Averell Harrimar when the conversation turned to Carter's package, "but I do think the United States has a very great interest in keeping friendly with Saudi Arabia. It's a key country, after all, and they want to be friends."
The crowd of some 400 was, as Israeli press counselor Avi Pazner put it, "The top of the cream of Washington." Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) propped in briefly as did Ambassador Sol Linowitz, Ellsworth Bunker and George Meany.
Also on hand was a strikingly thinner Henry Kissinger who more or less held court to a steady stream of people.
Columnist Marquis Childs pumped Kissinger's hand profusely while reminding him of one of the last conversations the two had before Kissinger left his job as Secretary of state. "I remember you told me then, Henry," said Childs, "that two more years and I could get the Middle East settled."
"Well," replied Kissinger, "I wanted to postpone the predsidential election but they wouldn't do it." As for the reaction to his own endorsement of the administration's plan (with additional planes for Israel), Kissinger chuckled: "I have succeeded in uniting everybody against me. But I will bring the Arabs and Israelis together yet."
Although guests were free to wander about the entire residence yesterday's beautiful weather prompted most to take their *champagne and hors d'oeuvres in the Dinitz' garden, abloom with a spectacular array of yellow tulips and azaleas. Upon arrival each guest wwwas given a tiny red carnation, flown in that morning from Israel.
Ambassador Dinitz recalled that on this day 30 years ago he was an 18-year-old member of the Israel army. And in retrospect, Dinitz mused, "two things today surprise me. I never thought Israel would develop as quickly and as beutifully as it has . . . but I also never thought that 30 years later we would still not have settled our political situation."
That situation, and more particularly Carter's arms package, were clearly the topics of the day, even though some, like Presidential counsel Bob Lipshutz (one of eight or so White House guests) were naturally not so keen on discussing it. "Naturally, it's a much debated issue," hedged lipchutz, "and I certainly don't expect to always agree with my friends on everything . . . In fact, I even disagree with my wife on occasion."
However, one top-level Israeli official had other thoughts. "If the president, the vice president, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the head of the CIA and the joint chiefs of staff are all mobilized for their cause and still have not succeeded in getting a majority behind them, then you'd think they'd start checking to see if their case was solid."
Elizabeth Taylor Warner, wearing a street-length flowered jersey dress, a large gold and diamond chain and carrying her cane, came despite pain fron a pinched nerve in her back. And she did some campaigning of her own.
After a long rambling monologue on the beauties of Virginia by one star-struck male, Taylor laughingly informed him, "Well, then, I'll tell you what. You can give $1,000 to John's campaign and your wife can give $1,000, too."