WASHINGTON (Sep. 24)
An amendment to the pending Export-Import Bank bill to permit the bank to extend loans, guarantees, insurance and credit to Israel for the purchase of defense materials and services from the United States has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Charles Percy, Illinois Republican, and Sen. Harrison Williams, New Jersey Democrat. Although adjournment of Congress may take place late in October, a member of Sen. Percy’s staff told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he thought the credit measure, which is now in the Senate Banking and Currency committee, will be brought to the floor in October and then be accepted by House members in the joint conference committee to iron out differences in House and Senate versions for passage by both houses.
Under existing regulations, the bank cannot provide such assistance to Israel. The Percy-Williams amendment. Sen. Percy said, will give Israel “the long-term easy credit needed to purchase military equipment vital for its defense.” Israel is ineligible because of a classification by the bank as a “leas economically developed country.” Sen. Percy said the bank now provides such assistance to Italy, Australia and Spain as “more economically developed countries” and considers 18 other nations, including Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino and Monaco as eligible. He said if such small nations were eligible for such credits and guarantees. “Israel’s need must be considered at least as great as theirs.”