JERUSALEM (Aug. 21)
Official Israeli sources said today that Israel had not yet received any official request from any country for permission to examine the Soviet-built MIG-21 flown to Israel last Tuesday by an Iraqi Air Force captain in a bid for political asylum.
The Israel Government was continuing to examine the issue from all angles against a background of reports that several western governments were interested in a close look at the first Soviet MIG ever to land in a non-Communist or non-Arab country. There were reports that the Government might prepare an official communique on the matter. This was expected to stress that the MIG-21 belongs to Israel and that Israel alone is entitled to examine and study it.
The Israeli press continued today to be split on whether technical information about the advanced Soviet fighter jet should be made available to the United States and other friendly countries. The leftist newspapers remained adamant in opposition to such action on grounds that it would cause further deterioration of Israeli-Soviet relations.
Independent newspapers, such as Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot, recalled that the Soviet Union recently adopted a more hostile stand toward Israel while the United States was actively cooperating with Israel in the field of aviation. Those newspapers contended that if the United States trained Israeli technicians in the use of Hawk supersonic ground-to-air anti-aircraft missiles to fight Soviet-supplied MIGs, it was only fair that Israel should share with the United States information useful in fighting such Soviet-built planes, the main air weapon used by North Vietnam against American military forces.
Informed sources said there was no chance whatever that Israel would return to Iraq the pilot and the MIG-21. They noted that Iraq had not even signed an armistice agreement with Israel.