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Israeli Spokesman Denies Reported Request from Nicaraguan Rebel Group for Funding from Israel

A spokesman for Israel’s Embassy in Washington has denied any knowledge of a reported request from the largest Nicaraguan rebel group for funding to help fight the Nicaraguan government. The report, carried in the Los Angeles Times, quoted an unidentified official of the Nicaraguan Democratic Front as saying that the Front’s leader, Adolfo Calero Portocarrera, had begun searching for alternative sources of funding because of the Congressional moves to limit further CIA expenditures for the rebel forces fighting the Sandinista government.

“We have looked for private money, but there isn’t enough,” the unidentified rebel official reportedly said. “We need a government. We think the Israelis would be the best, because they have the technical experience.”

According to the account by the Times, Israel has supplied arms in the past to other Nicaraguan rebel groups and “might be willing to provide funding as a favor to the Reagan Administration which is providing more than $2.6 billion in aid to Israel this year, and to punish the Sandinistas for their ties with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the rebel official said.”

The Israeli spokesman, Victor Harel, denied that Israel was currently providing aid to rebel groups fighting the Nicaraguan government.