NEW YORK (Jul. 14)
Israel is greatly concerned about President Nixon’s offer of nuclear assistance to Egypt, Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin said in an interview today on the ABCTV program “Issues and Answers.” “Since we live in the Middle East, in an area of tension,” Rabin said, “you can never know what will be the purposes which certain countries will use once they get the technology of how to handle nuclear energy.”
The Israeli Premier predicted the American offer would result in accelerating the move by other countries into the use of nuclear technology. But when asked if Israel possessed the atomic bomb, he said that Israel was not a nuclear country “in military terms.” Rabin would not answer whether Israel could produce an atomic weapon on short notice. “I don’t believe that I am in a position to give you an answer because it should require a lot of exploration,” he said.
Rabin said that the U.S. should not forget in improving its relations with the Arab countries that this was made possible because of U.S. support for Israel. “As long as the United States will continue to support Israel,” he said, “there is hope that the Arab countries will also turn toward the United States.” The question of peace in the Middle East was up to the Arabs, Rabin declared. He explained that as long as the Arabs were willing to pursue a political settlement there would be no war.