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Israel Asks U.S. for $3 Billion in Civilian and Military Aid

Israel has submitted an aid request to the U.S. government for the coming fiscal year which totals $3 billion. The request was presented last Friday in Jerusalem by Finance Minister Yoram Aridor to U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis, and a simultaneous submission was made in Washington.

The request is identical to that put forward last year, when the figure eventually approved was $2.2 billion. Proposals in Washington to increase that figure by another $425 million have been shelved recently due to the Lebanon war.

The Israeli request breaks down into $1.25 billion in civilian aid, which Israel seeks as an outright grant, and $1.75 billion in military aid which Israel seeks half in grant form and half in loan form.

In explanatory material accompanying the aid request, Israel says its civilian balance of payments deficit is likely to widen by half a billion dollars in the coming fiscal year. (But this will be set off, it is hoped, by a decrease in military imports.)

Israel says it plans to keep unemployment down to below five percent of the labor force, and, while inflation will top 130 percent in the coming year, it will hopefully decline steadily thereafter. Naturally, Israeli officials regard the new aid request as something of a test of U.S. support and sympathy which some experts believe have been seriously eroded by the Lebanon war.

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