Bi-partisan Move to Restore Military, Economic Aid to Israel

Senators of both parties moved today to restore to Israel the military and economic aid eliminated when the Senate defeated the administration’s $3.2 billion foreign aid bill last Friday. Sen. Charles Percy (R., Ill.) introduced legislation authorizing the administration to provide $350 million in military equipment and service credits to Israel–$50 million more than was earmarked for Israel in the original foreign aid bill.

Sen. George McGovern (D., S.D.) announced at a press conference at the United Nations in New York this morning that he would introduce a bill providing $300 million in military sales credits for Israel plus an $85 million grant in security-supporting assistance. The Percy bill was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee whose chairman, Sen. J. William Fulbright (D., Ark), has indicated that he would support the restoration of funds to Israel although he has previously opposed military aid to that country.

The office of Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R., N.Y.) said today that the Senator would not personally introduce legislation in advance of a decision within the Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D., Wash.) was also reported to be biding his time for the introduction of legislation to extend $500 million in military credits to Israel. Jackson promised in a speech on the Senate floor last Sept. 23 that he would introduce such a measure at the opportune moment. His aides told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency this week that he was expected to act soon in view of the demise of the $3.2 billion foreign aid bill. However, it was believed that he is also waiting for the results of discussions in the Foreign Relations Committee.

CANNOT PERMIT ARMS DELAY

McGovern, a declared candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972, said the credits he will recommend for Israel would “allow Israel to purchase the aircraft it needs (Phantoms) to assure its full security and survival.” He said that “in the light of the delicate and difficult conditions prevailing now in the Middle East, we cannot permit delay in assuring that Israel will have the military equipment essential to maintain the balance of forces and the support required to undergird an economy depleted by the threat of war.”

While the Percy bill does not mention the $85 million contained in the old foreign aid bill, it was understood that there was no question that this amount would be part of the new legislation by the Senator himself or a colleague. Fulbright said on the CBS television program “Face The Nation” Sunday that Israel was “a very special case and I have acknowledged that we should support it. In fact, we have no alternative” to supporting Israel. He said the funds for Israel in the defeated foreign aid bill “was over $400 million” which was taken to mean that it included about $300 million in military credits, $85 million in grants and an additional $15 million in special grants to institutions such as schools and hospitals.

NEXT STORY