House Oks, Sends to Senate, Foreign Aid Bill with $50.5 Million for Israel Projects

The House of Representatives has narrowly adopted a foreign aid bill that includes $50.5 million for projects in Israel, among them a $40 million water desalination plant and lesser sums for medical, scientific and educational institutions. The desalination appropriation was written into the measure on the initiative of Rep. Benjamin Rosenthal, New York Democrat, and Peter Freylinghuysen, a New Jersey Republican. An effort by economy-minded Midwestern conservatives to strike it out was defeated on the floor.

The bill authorized $5 million for the Hadassah-Hebrew University hospital and medical school in Jerusalem, $3 million for the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovoth and $1.9 million and $600,000 respectively for two educational institutions, Merkaz Lechinuch Ichud and Amana Ulpanat.

Rep. H.R. Gross, Iowa Republican, and Rep. James McClure, Idaho Republican, criticized the desalination appropriation as “favorite country awards” likely to create more problems for the United States in the Middle East. But the House defeated their amendments to delete the funds. The House bill now goes to the Senate where efforts might be made to strike out the appropriations for Israel.

Rep. Emanuel Celler, New York Democrat, warned during debate on the foreign aid bill that sums for Arab refugees might be cut off unless the United Nations Relief and works Agency (UNRWA) stops aiding refugee camps controlled by Palestinian guerrillas. A provision of the bill was retained from the existing law that provided that no contributions by the U.S. should be made to UNRWA unless the UN takes all possible measures to assure that no part of the U.S. money aids refugees serving in guerrilla or terrorist groups.

In debate over an amendment to grant nationalist China $45 million to buy jet fighters from the U.S., Congressmen argued that if Israel, which is in much more immediate peril, is required to pay for military equipment here, China should also be required to pay. However, the amendment was passed.

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