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Senate Approves $20 Million for Desalination Program in Israel; Action Assailed

The Senate yesterday approved a foreign appropriations bill containing a $20 million grant for a desalination program in Israel and sums for the Hadassah medical facility and other Israeli institutions. The bill now goes to the White House for the President’s signature. Sen. J.W. Fulbright, of Arkansas, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, protested against the sums for Israel. He said such grants were “practically dictated by various special interest groups.” He said the grants resulted from manipulation by “lobbyists for special interests and foreign governments.” The senator charged that “we no longer have a foreign policy. We have a collection of foreign policies.”

The desalting grant was advocated in the Senate by Sen. Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin Democrat. It was initiated in the House with joint Democratic-Republican sponsorship. The sum originally requested was $40 million over a five year period. This was reduced to half and will be made available this year for immediate use. The concept behind the desalting grant was that Israeli expertise would he made available to other nations with similar problems involving water. Israeli institutions granted funds included Hadassah Hospital (expansion of facilities) $4.85 million; Weizmann Institute, $2.5 million; Merkaz Ulpanat B.A. Merkaz Lechinuch Ichud, $1.9 million; Beth Yaacov Avat Girls School, $1.2 million; Educational Center of the Galilee, $800,000 and Amana Ulpenat B.A., $600,000.