JERUSALEM (Jun. 23)
The Israel Cabinet discussed today the Soviet Union’s delivery of three submarines to Egypt last week and the military and political aspects of the move. Premier David Ben Gurion reported on the week’s developments.
Meanwhile, informed sources reported that Israel has not requested anti-submarine weapons from the Western Powers. The general feeling is that while the submarines are a threat to Israel navigation in the Gulf of Akaba, the Soviet Union’s plan in selling Egypt the undersea craft are far-reaching and affect the Western Powers as much as Israel. (In Washington, a State Department spokesman denied reports that Israel had sought to buy anti-submarine equipment from the United States.)
Informed Israeli observers stress that the immediate military aspects of the arrival of the naval units should not be allowed to overshadow the political implications and meanings of the Soviet move. As the Israelis see it, the crucial question is: How will Nasser interpret the latest Soviet move? Will it cause him to think that Soviet backing enables him to renew border warfare?
Before the Sinai campaign, these Israeli sources point out, Nasser used his aggressive posture vis-a-vis Israel as a means of attracting support in the Arab bloc. If Nasser feels he has all-out Soviet support, they add, he may attempt by the same system to regain the prestige he lost when the Israel is handed him a licking in the week-long military campaign.