JERUSALEM (May. 31)
The Cabinet will meet in extraordinary session tomorrow to consider the state of Israel-U.S. relations and other political matters and to hear Defense Minister Ariel Sharon’s report on his visit to Washington last week.
A leading item on the agenda is expected to be the recent differences with the U.S. over Israel’s admitted sale of arms to Iran, now in the 19th month of its war with Iraq. Sharon conceded, while in Washington, that Israel had indeed dispatched small quantities of arms to the Iranians and insisted it had done so with the knowledge of U.S. officials. The State Department has denied that the U.S. approved of the deal. (See separate story.)
Voice of Israel Radio reported yesterday that the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Samuel Lewis, requested two weeks ago that Israel halt the supply of arms to Iran. Meanwhile, American emissaries are expected in Jerusalem and Cairo later this week in an effort to restart the stalled autonomy negotiations.
DEBATE ON ECONOMY
With political matters deferred until Tuesday, yesterday’s Cabinet session was devoted to the economic situation. The debate was initiated by Yitzhak Modai, Minister-Without-Portfolio, who expressed alarm at signs that the economy is slowing down and inflation is once again on a sharp upward spiral. Modai demanded that Finance Minister Yorar Aridor present a comprehensive report on the state of the economy, noting that the Cabinet has not held a full scale discussion of the subject for many months.
“An economic program is no secret and the Finance Minister must explain what are his economic targets,” Modai declared. Aridor is expected to outline his policies at next Sunday’s regular Cabinet session.