WASHINGTON (Apr. 25)
The United States Senate marked Israel’s 18th anniversary by having a rabbi open today’s session with an invocation prayer. The rabbi was Dr. Abraham B. Hecht, of Brooklyn, president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America.
A number of members of Congress today marked Israel’s anniversary with speeches and statements in which they lauded Israel and criticized American sale of jet fighter planes to Jordan. Rep. Thomas C. McGrath, New Jersey Democrat, said he hoped that by Israel’s 19th anniversary “the United States will have entered into a mutual security pact with her, supplied her with necessary defense weapons, and ceased supplying American arms to all Arab nations.”
Rep. William Fitts Ryan, New York Democrat, greeted Israel’s anniversary and said he was “deeply troubled by the United States provision of F-104 jet fighters to Jordan which contributes to escalation and a spiraling vicious cycle in which the United States may supply some nations with dangerous arms while the Soviet Union supplies others in the same region.” He visualized exploration of possibilities of a joint American-Soviet moratorium on shipment of increasingly dangerous and sophisticated arms to the Middle East. He said limitation of the arms race was the best guarantee for regional peace and Israeli security.
Rep. William B. Widuall, New Jersey Republican and ranking minority member of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, charged that “a vast cloud of silence was ordered with regard to the unbelievable sale of late model jet fighters to Jordan.” He pledged that in the coming year he would seek to make the anti-boycott law mandatory “in order to protect both the economic vitality of Israel and our own American business enterprises who wish to expand their trade relationships with Israel.”