JERUSALEM (Sep. 21)
Relaxation of East-West tensions would not “automatically lead to Israel-Arab peace,” Shimon Peres, former director general of Israel’s Defense Ministry, declared here in a radio broadcast tonight. “A change in the thinking of the Arab leaders would also be necessary,” he added.
As to the Suez Canal issue and the United Arab Republic’s anti-Israel blockade of that international waterway. Mr. Peres stated: “We feel that watching Nasser is the best course for the Middle East. The Arabs possess more arms and, in certain fields, better types of materiel than Israel has. But if Israel should be attacked right now, she is in a position to defend herself reasonably and forcefully.”
Mr. Peres, who in recent years has directed Israel’s arms purchases and the arms industry here, asserted that Israel’s sub-machine guns are “the best in the world.” Certain types of small ammunition made in Israel are “as good and as cheaply manufactured as any material of this type elsewhere,” he said. “Certain countries in South America, he continued, “have asked us to sell them arms. We have turned them down because such sales might disturb the balance of power among some other nations friendly to us.”
Mr. Peres, who is considered among the top leaders of the “young generation” group in the dominant Mapai Party, sharing leadership with Gen. Moshe Dayan, outlined in his radio address a four-point program which, he declared, underscores “the main difference” between his group and the leadership of Mapai veterans.
“We would like,” he said, “more democracy within our own party. We want more planning in our economy, balancing future needs against current pressures; we want to reserve more means and finances for the future. We ask for a change in mentality, language and expression. We want to speak to one another more directly and more openly.
“Finally, in the field of defense and foreign relations, we seek more mutual relation rather than an attitude of justification. If we have friends, let us be as friendly as we can. If we have foes, let us answer to foes in their own language.”