Gen. Eitan Says Menace on Eastern Front Precludes Defense Budget Cuts

Chief of Staff Gen. Raphael Eitan claimed over the weekend that it is impossible for Israel’s defense forces to absorb cuts in the defense budget at this time. His statement, in a television interview over the weekend, apparently represents the consensus of the military establishment with respect to the budget cuts demanded by Finance Minister Yigal Hurwitz.

Eitan noted that Israel must sustain the highest level of preparedness because its enemies on the eastern front are expending and strengthening their forces at a dangerous pace. He mentioned no countries by name but observed that the oil-hungry powers or those powers seeking control over the region’s oil resources are only too willing to equip the armies opposing Israel on the east with unusually excessive quantities of weapons and ammunition.

OFFICIAL DEFENDS CURFEWS ON WEST BANK

Eitan said however that he was confident that Israel’s regular army is able to cope with any situation that might develop on the eastern front . It is the best, largest and strongest army which Israel can provide and must remain so, he said.

Eitan also denied allegations that Israel was pouring armed forces into the West Bank. Such reports are utterly untrue, he said. Gen. Danny Matt, Coordinator of Operations in the occupied territories, defended the use of curfews on Arab towns when violence erupts. Curfew is the alternative to the use of force, he said.

Michael Shor, director general of Israel’s military industries, reported that over 1.5 million Israel mode Uzzi submachine guns were sold to foreign countries. He said Israel’s new Galil assault rifle was also in great demand by foreign armies and about 150,000 have been sold abroad. The military industry expects exports to yield $290 million this year. he said.

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