TEL AVIV (Feb. 7)
Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres said today that the strength of the Egyptian army was growing steadily, and that it was being trained not only in conventional weapons but also in the use of non-conventional arms. He told a meeting here that, for these reasons, more efforts to strengthen Israel’s defense forces were needed.
In another address, over Kol Israel, the Israeli radio network, Mr. Feres expressed the hope that, though Egypt is now developing new weapons. Israel would maintain its military forces as “a deterring factor.” “If Israel will have to revert to arms,” he said, “it will not disappoint its heroic past.” He repeated the warning issued by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to the effect that any Arab attack against or interference with Israel’s National Water Carrier “would be regarded as an attack against Israel’s sovereignty.”
Speaking of Egypt’s efforts to develop a multi-stage rocket, Mr. Peres said he could not understand Cairo’s need for such a weapon “especially since Egypt is now in very serious economic difficulty, seeking food from the United Sates while spending enormous funds for a three-stage missile, the tactical need for which is not clear.”
Mr. Peres also expressed Israel’s anxiety over the recent rapprochement between Egypt and Communist East Germany. Israel is watching East Germany’s entry into the Middle East “carefully,” he said. “East Germany,” he declared, “owes the Jewish people not less, perhaps more, than West Germany does.”