TEL AVIV (Oct. 25)
The Zim, Israel navigation company, said today it had decided to conclude its negotiations for the construction of a $3, 500, 000 ocean liner to be built in France.
Negotiations have been interrupted several times, the latest halt being linked by some sources to the decision of the Renault auto firm, a French enterprise, to dis-continue assemblies at the Kaiser-Frazer plant in Haifa.
The Renault experience was taken into account by the Israel shipping company with a decision to seek a clause in the proposed contract under which the French shipbuilder would agree to supply all spare parts for the ocean liner at any time and without reference to any changes “in the general situation or relations.”
Levi Eshkol, Israel’s Finance Minister, speaking on the experimental television station in the Tel Aviv Exhibition, said today it was better to “localize” the Renault controversy. He expressed hope that it would “not cast a shadow over Israel-French trade and friendly relations.” He admitted some forms of public pressure might still change the French auto company’s attitude and added that France and Israel should stick to “business as usual.”