TEL AVIV (May. 14)
General Zvi Tzur, Chief of Staff of Israel’s armed forces today joined Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who is also Defense Minister, in warning the Israeli population on the possibility of a renewed military attack on Israel by the United Arab Republic. Simultaneously, Shimon Peres, Deputy Defense Minister, said that the UAR is now building up its aggressive weapons on a “tremendous” scale. All three Israeli top defense leaders spoke at meetings of the Mapai Party.
Mr. Ben-Gurion warned that “a true third round” of anti-Israeli aggressions is a genuine threat from the neighboring Arab countries now. “The people of Israel should be told of this threat to their very existence, ” he stated. Reporting on recent, large-scale Arab military exercises, he said these maneuvers were “of an aggressive nature, and nothing but preparation for the days ahead.”
General Tzur emphasized that today’s United Arab Republic army “is not the same” as the army encountered by Israel during the Sinai campaign of 1956. Egypt’s five-year plan, in which $4,500,000,000 has been earmarked for military build-up, said the general, has given Egypt top priority for strategic expenditures. Egypt has now integrated new weapons such as T-54 tanks and MIG-19 jet fighters, and has provided intensive training “to thousands of army officers,” he stressed.
In addition, said General Tzur, Egypt has been constructing a greater military industry, has built new roads, and has erected other installations that increase its military potentials. Like Mr. Ben-Gurion, the general warned “the people of Israel should know these facts and be on the alert.”
Mr. Peres, addressing a Mapai election rally, said Egypt is also “increasing the strength of its military psychosis, with the intention of enabling President Gamal Abdel Nasser to attack and destroy Israel-which is his ultimate goal.” He made it clear that it is essential that Israel’s army be equipped now with the most modern weapons and an expanded military industry. Cautioning the country against panic, Mr. Peres said that, nevertheless, the military situation of the Jewish State must be reviewed.