Shamir: U.s.-israel Relations Are Better Than at Any Time in the Past

Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel said here that relations between the United States and Israel “are better than at any time in the past.”

The U.S., he told 1,400 guests from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America attending an International Bond tribute to Dr. Armand Hammer, “understands that a strong Israel is important to the interests of the free world in our region and that a strong Israel means an economically sound Israel.”

The Foreign Minister declared that the recent agreement by the U.S. and Israel to establish a free trade zone will “boost our industry and our exports to the United States and enable us to redress our foreign trade balance.” He added that a vast infusion of development capital in conjunction with Israel’s austerity measures was needed to help turn the nation’s economy around.

Shamir stated, “For the first time since the renewal of our independence 36 years ago, our national priorities are not the external military situation, nor international terrorism, nor our external relations. Our first priority is the economy.”

More than $66 million in Israel Bond subscriptions primarily for the 1985 campaign were announced in honor of Hammer, the chairman of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation. He was honored on the occasion of his acceptance of the Bond Organization’s 1984 Gold Meir Award, which was presented to him by Shamir. Hammer was hailed for a lifetime of philanthropic activities and his many humanitarian efforts.

In his response, Hammer announced that he will soon be leaving for a visit to the Soviet Union for a meeting with Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko and that he will raise the question of Soviet Jewish emigration to Israel.

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