TEL AVIV (Oct. 2)
In the first official Government comment on the United States decision to sell Hawk missiles to Israel, Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres said last night that the decision was an important political turning point “because of the arms themselves, the manner in which they are being given and the manner in which the announcement was made.”
Speaking on a radio broadcast, the Deputy Minister said that the political and military aspects of the decision went hand in hand and that their common purpose was to “strengthen the feeling of peace and Israel’s deterrent power.” He warned that Israel “most make the necessary effort so that we do not find ourselves falling behind.”
“We must produce the same force of strength which will once again constitute a balance of military power and a deterrent to Egyptian President Nasser’s new feeling engendered by his possession of military rockets, ” Mr. Peres said. He noted that the Hawk missiles were only a partial answer to Israel’s problems since they were antiaircraft and not anti-missile missiles.
The evening newspaper Yediot Achronot reported today that Mr. Peres would leave soon for Washington, possibly this month, accompanied by high army officers to begin negotiations for purchase of the Hawk missiles. The newspaper said that Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, might join the talks.