WASHINGTON (Feb. 24)
Moshe Arens, making his first public address as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, stressed today that one of his tasks in Washington is to convince the U.S. not to sell sophisticated weaponry to the Arab countries.
Israel, like the U.S., wants the Arab countries to “be inclined towards the West and not toward the East,” the envoy told some 800 persons attending the closing day of the International Biennial Convention of B’nai B’rith Women (BBW). “The best way of obtaining that objective is not by selling them more sophisticated arms.”
Although Arens did not deal with specifics, the women at the convention who come from throughout the United States, Canada, Israel and Ireland, adopted a resolution expressing to the Reagan Administration and to Congress the organization’s “profound concern with the Administration’s Middle East policy of selling arms.”
The resolution, which delegates presented to their Senators while visiting them on Capital Hill yesterday, noted that the Administration sold AWACS to Saudi Arabia and now some Administration officials “propose to sell I-Hawks (missiles) to Jordan, which has never recognized Israel nor the Camp David peace process and which is negotiating with the Soviet Union.”
The resolution added: “The deeds of the Administration seem not to match its words that promise to maintain the military edge of Israel in the Middle East, both in terms of quality and quantity of arms.” The BBW resolution stressed that the organization believes “the interests of the United States requires maintaining a strong and secure Israel.”
In his speech this morning, Arens also stressed that the situation in Lebanon is “not a struggle between left and right,” as has been depicted in the U.S., but a “latent and brutal attempt by Syria and the PLO to take over what once was an independent country.” He said the reason they have only been 70 percent successful is due to Israel’s help for indigenous forces and because Israel has been a deterrent to both the Palestine Liberation Organization and Syria.
Arens maintained that the U.S. and Israeli objectives and interests are the same. He listed them as the prevention of Soviet penetration into the Mideast; peace, or at least stability in the area; continuation of the oil flow to the industrialized nations; and a strong Israel. But he noted that this “doesn’t always mean you agree on how you obtain the objectives” since the two countries have different perceptions. “I will do my level best to close the gap between the perceptions,” Arens said.
SAYS U.S.-ISRAELI RELATIONS ARE IMPROVING
But he stressed that while “we have had many ups and downs” in the U.S.-Israeli relationship since the establishment of the Jewish State, “on the whole, the relationship is getting steadily better.”
Arens, who presented his credentials to President Reagan eight days ago, said he will get a “passing grade” if he assures that there is no “misunderstandings” between Israel and the U.S., that both countries know what each others position is. He said he will have done a “good” job if he can bring about an understanding between the two countries and said his work could be considered “excellent” if “I can bring about a measure of agreement.”
The former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee also said he will be devoting a great deal of his time to economic matters, including urging American investment in Israel. He said much of Israel’s current economic “burden” is due to the peace process but he was confident that Israel will overcome its economic difficulties. “Israel which has no resources below ground, has resources above ground — the people of Israel, ” Arens declared.
DOROTHY BINSTOCK IS NOW BBW PRESIDENT
At a dinner last night, Dorothy Binstock of Pittsburgh, a member of the organization for more than 40 years, was installed as BBW president for the next two years. At the opening session Sunday night, Beverly Sills, the opera singer and general director of the New York City Opera, was presented the organization’s Perlman Award for Human Advancement for her volunteer work to prevent birth defects. Sholom Doren, chairman of the board of the BBW’s Childrens Home in Israel, was honored Monday for 30 years service to the home, and Yecheskiel Cohen, the home’s director, was honored for 25 years service.