JERUSALEM (Jun. 20)
Israel will make every effort to convince the United States not to try to compete with the Soviet Union in selling arms to the Arab states, Defense Minister Shimon Peres declared today. Addressing the Jewish Agency’s General Assembly, Peres said Israel’s two major problems were military readiness and preparing the country for positive negotiations with the Arab states.
However, former Premier Golda Meir told the Assembly last night that immigrants were more important to Israel’s viability and security than arms or economic progress. “Millions of Jews” are needed, she declared, saying Israel cannot remain small. Peres agreed that increased aliya and improving the quality of life in Israel will help the Jewish State meet the threat posed by the Arabs. He said the Arab states will be tested by their actions not their words. He said the Suez Canal would be a test case, noting that “twice in the past did we try to go through the canal. Now we are waiting for the third time.”
Mrs. Meir told the Assembly that Israel did not expect Arab leaders to love Jews or to love Israel but to start loving their own people. She said Arab leaders should concern themselves with the advancement of their people, the education of their children and the health and prosperity of their towns and villages.