LONDON (Nov. 6)
Israel has ordered about 40 French Mirage-3 jet fighter planes “in view of the need to match Arab aircraft,” the Guardian of Manchester reported today in a dispatch from Tel Aviv.
According to the Guardian’s correspondent, military tensions in Israel have “eased noticeably” since Syria broke away from the United Arab Republic recently. “The subsequent survival of King Hussein in Jordan, against all the forecasts,” the dispatch continued, “and the re-assertion of Syria, has convinced the Israeli military authorities that a shift in the balance of power against them can be ruled out for the foreseeable future.”
But the correspondent stresses that the vulnerability of Israel’s electric power installations and communications to Egypt’s Ilyushin-28 bombers and MIG fighters carrying bombs “is a preoccupation” of the Israeli Defense Ministry. He points out that the United States sells no military equipment to Israel, while Britain “sells only with reluctance and when it appears that no other sources are available.”
Referring to the “strong” France-Israeli ties, the correspondent added: “Fortunately for the Israelis, France possesses a superb, single-engined, supersonic jet fighter, Mirage-3, which fits their requirements perfectly.” As for air-to-air weapons, the Guardian declared “there is good evidence” that these will soon “come into service in both the Israeli and Egyptian air forces.”
The correspondent stated “it is believed in Israel that a new Russian fighter will soon be supplied to the Egyptians. This might be expected to be the advance MIG-21, but could also be the new Sukhoi interceptor.”