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Israelis Await Invitation to France’s Annual Air Show

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Israelis were waiting today for one of the first signs of a Franco-Israeli thaw in the wake of President Charles de Gaulle’s resignation. The question was: Will Israel be invited to France’s annual air show after all?

Retired Gen. Maurice Perdrizet, former French Air Force commander and a leader in the French aircraft industry, arrived yesterday as a guest of Israel’s aircraft industry. Reliable circles said he brought invitations to Army officers for the show, to which Israel had not been invited this year for the first time since the show’s inception.

Invitations to other countries had gone out to “Salon Aeronautique,” an event organized by the Defense Ministry to display the latest advances in France’s aviation industry. A communique issued by the air show authorities recently said that none of the combatants in the 1967 war had been invited, including Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The decision not to invite Israel, whose Air Force was formerly the French aircraft industry’s major foreign customer, apparently had been made by the former President.

Official Israeli circles hinted yesterday that even if Gen. Perdrizet brought invitations, only a symbolic Israeli mission would be sent instead of the large one which used to go. The show is slated for next month. The three Arab states who had not received invitations this year, observers pointed out, were never French aircraft customers and never took an active role in the show as Israel had done.

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