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Fisher Blames Israeli Press for Build-up of Israel-u.s. Tensions

Max Fisher, chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, said here today that the current feelings of tension between Israel and the United States were being generated by the Israeli press. He said they were not apparent in the U.S. and that in fact. President Ford with whom he met only 10 days ago in Washington, was puzzled as to where the tension came from.

Fisher, a close personal friend of the President, spoke to Israeli newsmen at a press conference following the end of the Board of Governors meeting. Yosef Almogi, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives participated in the press conference.

The Detroit industrialist said he would “suggest very strongly that the Israeli press handle differently the relations between Israel and the U.S.” Declaring that he did not “find the same tensions in the U.S.” and that “in all fairness,” what is reported here “is not quite accurate.” Fisher warned that “if you highlight minor differences then you lead to major disagreements.”

GIVES DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON ISSUES

Fisher himself sought to give Israelis a different perspective on two immediate issues that are regarded as largely responsible for the current displeasure in Israel with the Ford Administration. One is the Administration’s projected sale of six C-130 transport planes to Egypt which Israelis fear will mark the opening of a U.S. arms pipeline to Egypt.

The other is the President’s opposition to additional foreign aid funding for the three-month transitional quarter between the end of fiscal 1976 June 30 and the beginning of fiscal 1977 Oct. 1. The matter is now before Congress and if approved, Israel would receive an additional $550 million in U.S. aid.

Fisher said he would personally use whatever influence he has to see that Israel receives the extra money. However, he noted that in the last 27 months Israel has received over $4 billion from the U.S. Israel also must understand President Ford’s position, Fisher said, and realize that it is very difficult for the President to approve an additional $550 million in aid for Israel when he faces a $49 billion deficit at home.

TOO MUCH BEING MADE OF C-130S SALE

Fisher claimed that Israel was making “too big an issue” over the sale of six transport planes

FORD HAS NOT WRITTEN OFF JEWISH VOTE

Replying to questions, Fisher denied allegations that Ford has “written off” the Jewish vote in this year’s Presidential elections. “No candidate can give up the big Jewish population concentrations” in states like New York, Florida, California and Pennsylvania and President Ford has not, Fisher said.

Referring to the Board of Governors meeting, Fisher said the “sensitive problem of the constructive funds” was discussed. He said he hoped the Board would reach a final recommendation to be presented to the Jewish Agency’s General Assembly this summer. (See separate story on Jewish Agency budget.)

Almogi, noting that this was the first time he had participated in a Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting, said he was greatly impressed by Fisher’s dedication, talents and abilities. He said the WZO Executive would discuss Fisher’s suggestion that the Jewish Agency directly allocate money to the various Zionist parties for the constructive fund and that the Jewish Agency’s controller would oversee the use of the money by the parties.

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