Eshkol, Warns Israel on Implications of Nasser’s New Overtures

Premier Levi Eshkol warned yesterday that the inclination of some countries to accept overtures from President Nasser of Egypt to patch up relations might endanger peace in the Middle East. The Premier voiced the warning at mustering-out exercises of reservists and regular troops at the close of extensive maneuvers.

(The Nasser regime recently sent a high-level delegation to Paris for talks with top French officials and a State Department spokesman announced yesterday in Washington that President Johnson had authorized resumption of food shipments to Egypt while the United States was negotiating a new aid agreement with Egypt.)

These changes, the Premier told the troops, meant that Israel’s defense forces would have to do their utmost to defend the country and to serve as a deterrent to aggression. He added a blunt warning that if the order to march was given, “we will carry the war beyond our frontiers.”

Asserting that Nasser’s hostility against Israel remained unaffected by the poverty of his people and his country, the Premier expressed the hope that the day would come “when the Arabs recognize that Israel is indestructible and cannot be destroyed by local wars.” He called Israel’s situation without a parallel anywhere in the world. “We are in a permanent stage of siege, outnumbered in men and weapons,” he said. “Our defense forces are few against many and would have to rebuff adverse odds of quantity by quality.”

Major Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, the Chief of Staff, told military correspondents that similar maneuvers would be held annually, reporting that more than 10,000 men and 2,000 military vehicles of all types took part in the exercises. The final action yesterday involved implementation of a massive break-through by tank units with a follow-up by supporting infantry units.

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