Mondale Hits Suspension of F-16 Deliveries to Israel

Former Vice President Walter Mondale was sharply critical of the Reagan Administration’s freeze on the delivery of four F-16 jet fighters that had been scheduled to go to Israel last month. Speaking to reporters here, he said, “I am opposed and always have been, to withholding essential security assistance to Israel to try to achieve other political purposes.”

Mondale, who is here to analyze Israel’s election results for American television and to receive an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University, observed that “Our two nations ought to respect each other. If we do have differences — as we will from time to time — we ought to go at it as equals,” otherwise the U.S. would undermine the basis of trust.

Mondale met with Premier Menachem Begin and with President Yitzhak Navon. Earlier, Begin told a group of visiting U.S. Congressmen that Israel will honor its promise to give special envoy Philip Habib more time to find a peaceful solution to Israel’s missile dispute with Syria. Habib, who was recalled to Washington during Israel’s elections, is due to return to the region this week.

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