Washington (Mar. 11)
— The Reagan Administration’s revised austerity budget submitted to Congress keeps Israel’s total aid for the next fiscal year at the current year’s level but military assistance to Egypt is almost doubled for the coming year.
While U.S. assistance to Israel and to voluntary agencies in the United States for the resettling of Soviet Jews is being slashed more than half, financial assistance to the United Nations for Palestine Arab refugees is to be increased and in the next fiscal year will be more than 13 times as much as oil-rich Saudi Arabia’s contributions to those Arabs.
As had been previously made known to Congress, Israel will get $1.4 billion in military assistance in the fiscal year beginning next Oct. 1 and $785 million in economic assistance for a total of $2.2 billion, the same as this year.
Egypt will get $900 million in military aid plus $100 million from the 1979 peace package, or a total of $1 billion. During the current year, Egypt is getting $550 million in military aid. Egypt’s economic supporting assistance is to be $750 million apart from the estimated approximately $300 million in other economic programs, including Food for Peace. Thus Egypt’s total package is almost equal to Israel’s for the first time.
Jordan is to get $50 million in military credit, and $20 million in economic assistance, and Lebanon $5 million in economic aid and $15 million in military support in the new fiscal year. There are no funds earmarked for Syria.
SLASH AID TO ISRAEL FOR RESETTLING SOVIET JEWS
The new budget cuts aid to Israel for helping Soviet Jews from $25 million in the Carter Administration’s budget to $12.5 million in the new fiscal year. The Reagan austerity budget chops it to the $12.5 million figure for the current year–a recission of half the allocated amount.
For support to voluntary agencies in America that help resettle Soviet and other Eastern European refugees the amount put for this year is $9.6 million compared with the $24 million allocated in the Carter budget. For the new fiscal year the amount is lowered to $9 million. The State Department administers the resettlement funds for Israel and the Department of Health and Human Services handles them for the American agencies.
INCREASED AID TO UNRWA
The State Department informed the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the new budget allocated $67 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for the new fiscal year, or $5 million more than in the current year. For the four years prior to the current year, the U.S. was giving $52 million a year. Thus, both the Carter and Reagan Administrations have increased the funding for the Palestinian Arabs. The U.S. thus is providing about one-fourth of the budget of $269 million established by UNWRA.
However, oil-rich Saudi Arabia is providing only $5 million this year: Kuwait slightly more than $2 million, and Libya slightly more than $1 million to this total fund. The Soviet Union, the Eastern European Communist countries, and the People’s Republic of China that back the PLO give nothing to UNRWA.