JERUSALEM (Jan. 9)
Israel Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan warned the Arab nations today that Israel was “psychologically” and “militarily” prepared to wage war. As he spoke here to 168 Jewish leaders, Premier-designate Rashid Karami in Lebanon began forming a new Cabinet, expected to be “hawk”-like in its dealings with Israel. He is a vigorous nationalist and an admirer of President Nasser of Egypt.
Gen. Dayan told Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s five-day conference of representatives from 55 organizations and communities in 21 countries that the Egyptian front “is the principal arena of a future conflict, if the Egyptians attack us.” He said “considerable preparation” had been made in the area against a possible attack. Gen. Dayan said that Israel’s enemies were preparing to renew war, that if they do, Israel will win, and that Israel will not agree to any peace arrangement not reached through direct negotiations with the Arabs.
Gen. Dayan asserted that guerillas attacking civilians and property were supported financially by oil-rich states like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. “We will not tolerate a situation in which guerrillas will be at liberty to operate freely across the border without being able to do likewise and hit back at them also,” he said. Gen. Dayan told a questioner that he did not “for one moment” regret Israeli reprisal actions including the Dec. 28 raid at the Beirut airport. If Israel had not reacted so rapidly to a terrorist attack on an El A1 plane in Athens a few days earlier, it was doubtful whether its national airline could have gone on operating, he said. The French embargo imposed last week on war materiel shipments to Israel, he said, was regrettable but not a disaster; Israel was making advances in some sophisticated weaponry and manufacturing certain types of armaments, he said.
Meanwhile, observers said the most anti-Israel Government in many years was being formed by Mr. Karami in Lebanon. A leftist, he has been Premier six times in the past 24 years and will succeed Abdullah Yafi, who resigned yesterday with his three-month-old Cabinet. The Yafi departure stemmed partly from the inadequate security at the Beirut airport that left it wide open to attack, resulting in the destruction, without loss of life, of 13 commercial aircraft by Israeli commandos.