TEL AVIV (Aug. 29)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan reaffirmed last night that he took full responsibility for the Aug. 10 interception of a Lebanese airliner which he described as an act of self-defense and asserted that as long as he remained in office he would not permit Jews to be assaulted and murdered, either by terrorists or by Arab regular forces. He made this statement at a meeting with 250 top American-Jewish community leaders participating in the three-day “Prime Minister’s Mission” in Israel.
Dayan said that waiting for the terrorists to arrive and attack is no way to overcome them. He said the interception of the Lebanese airliner chartered by Iraq, was planned because Israel had reliable information that Dr. George Habash, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an extremist terrorist group, and several of his lieutenants, were among the passengers.
It was Habash who initiated and planned most of the murderous attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in Israel and abroad, Dayan said. “Unless this attempt was made to intercept the plane and capture those leaders, we should have considered ourselves, responsible to some extent for every further murderous attack planned by those terrorists,” Dayan said.
Referring to other matters, Dayan expressed confidence that a major power such as the United States would not accept the dictates of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia or any other Arab leader. The Defense Minister reiterated that Israel did not want the U.S. to suffer any losses on its account. Americans should not have to fight for Israel, he said.
HISTORIC FIRST FOR UJA DELEGATION
The UJA delegation made history when their El Al jumbo jet coming from the U.S. landed for the first time at an air force base somewhere in Israel. The group, headed by UJA general chairman Paul Zuckerman, was met at the base by Air Force Commander General Benjamin Peled. The purpose of the “Prime Minister’s Mission” is to allow the top leadership of the American Jewish community to “obtain first-hand information and see for themselves the urgent needs of the people of Israel, especially as they relate to the absorption of large members of new immigrants from the Soviet Union,” Zuckerman said.