NEW YORK (Oct. 19)
Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin expressed a high degree of satisfaction today with the state of American-Israeli relations although he stressed that Israel and the United States do not see eye to eye on all issues and Israel is not entirely happy with some phases of American Mideast policy.
The Ambassador told nearly 300 outstanding American Jewish industrialists and financiers attending a steering committee session of the American regional committee of the Council for Israel’s Economic Development here that American policy on arms for Israel had progressed from the arms embargo that the U.S. had enforced during the first 10 years of Israel’s existence to a policy of not permitting a change in the Middle East balance of power that would allow Israel’s destruction by military force. He affirmed that Israel was “quite satisfied” with the present policy of the U.S. Government on the arms issue.
Gen. Rabin told the conference that Israel has made a case to U.S. Government agencies on the need for economic aid, particularly in the form of credits on military purchases. He disclosed that the U.S. had given Israel only one-third credit on its recent purchase of 50 F-4 Phantom jet fighter planes and that Israel was obliged to pay two-thirds of the purchase price on delivery.
Gen. Rabin said that Israel had explained to American governmental agencies that the present situation of urgent need of credits would prevail for from four to five years, after which time. Israel would be in a much stronger position industrially and economically. He noted difficulties involved in foreign aid by the U.S. today and the “many pressures” on the Government to cut foreign spending and divert funds to domestic needs. Israel’s immediate need, he said, was better credit terms.
The envoy said that what Israel expected and wanted from the U.S. was. first, to make it possible for ISR Israel to purchase the amount of arms required to defend itself; second, a policy in the international arena not to permit the present Mideast situation to be changed except in the context of achieving a genuine peace; third, that the U.S. do whatever is possible to “localize” the Arab-Israeli conflict and prevent other powers from becoming involved in direct hostilities against Israel; and fourth, in view of the outlook for a continued state of no-peace, no-war, to assist Israel in carrying the heavy economic burden that the present situation puts on it.
Gen. Rabin saw an identity of objectives of both countries regarding peace in the Mideast, but said that the divergencies came on the technique of achieving peace. Reviewing the pressures on Washington to negotiate with the Soviet Union and noting that the Russians were not interested in a real peace in the Mideast, the diplomat said that the danger in the bilateral talks could come if the Americans tired and gave up too much in the interest of agreement. The Russians, he said, free of the pressure of public opinion, could hold out indefinitely for American concessions.