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Threats Will Not Frighten Israel on Jordan Irrigation Plan, Meir Says

No threat of any kind will influence Israel to slow down work on the Jordan River irrigation project which is vital to Israel’s development and which will be completed as quickly as technical considerations permit, Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, declared today in Parliament.

She made the statement in reply to several questions and suggestions made by Knesset deputies during debate on her Ministr’s budget. She rejected a proposal by Herut deputy Aryeh ben Eliezer that Israel should “get tough” with Ghana and base its relationships with African states on a “quid pro quo” approach.

Mrs. Meir said she was not prepared to demand from Ghana an explanation of what constituted friendship and added that what Israel was doing in Africa was more than “policy,” that it was a continuation of the traditions of the Jewish people.

Asking whether Israel should make the sending of doctors to fight malaria or trachoma contingent on the way African states vote in the United Nations, she asserted that such an approach would be a failure of Israel’s historic instincts. She said she agreed that Israel should strive to improve relations with the Soviet Union. However, she pointed out, the Soviet’s hostile attitude and refusal to maintain even commercial relations was not attributable to Israel’s votes in the United Nations. Other countries which do not vote with the Soviets do not suffer the same treatment, she said.

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