Jerusalem (Mar. 9)
– The Cabinet stated officially today Israel’s displeasure with the Reagan Administration’s decision to provide Saudi Arabia’s F-15 combat planes with offensive capability. But apparently, the government will let the matter rest there and accept the U.S. offer of additional military hardware for Israel.
At a special session devoted to a briefing by Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir on his talks in Washington last month, the Cabinet declared that the supply of offensive equipment for the Saudi aircraft will upset the military balance of power in the Middle East and endanger Israel’s security. However, it endorsed the position recommended by Shamir. His thesis is that there is no point in creating a head-on confrontation with the Reagan Administration over the Saudi arms deal.
According to Shamir, Israel should instead concentrate on obtaining appropriate equipment from the U.S. to cope with what it sees as a new military challenge created by improving Saudi Arabia’s air power.