JERUSALEM (Jan. 22)
About 200 Israel Bonds leaders from the United States, Canada and Latin America pledged to purchase over $45 million in Israel Bonds during the coming year at a banquet with Premier Shimon Peres at the Jerusalem Hilton Hotel Saturday night.
The gala affair, attended by several other Cabinet ministers, marked the end of a week-long tour of the country where the visitors were shown industrial development projects and military installations and had meetings with most government leaders.
PERES ON ISRAEL’S WITHDRAWAL FROM LEBANON
Peres spoke of his government’s decision to withdraw the Israel Defense Force from Lebanon and relations with Egypt. “We want Lebanon to remain independent and peaceful, “Peres said. “We do not seek a part of her waters nor a part of her territories, and we do not want to play a part in her politics. But at the same time, we are determined that no Katyusha (rockets) will be fired from her territories at the villages of Galilee.”
Peres stressed, “We do not ask Lebanon for permission to leave, nor do we charge Lebanon with the task of defending our villages. We shall leave on our own, we shall defend our villages ourselves, with the strategy we deem fit.”
The Premier noted that talks with Egypt are to begin shortly in Beersheba to resolve the border dispute over the Taba region on the Gulf of Aqaba which both countries claim. Israel will work uninterruptedly to make the peace with Egypt a real political success. We don’t want the first peace agreement (with an Arab state) to be the last one, “he said.
ISRAEL’S ECONOMIC SITUATION
The Bond leaders had a luncheon meeting with Minister of Science and Development Gideon Patt who told them that beginning on April 1, Israeli goods of all types will enter the United States duty free under terms of the Free Trade Agreement concluded with the Reagan Administration last Monday.
At an economic panel, the Bond leaders heard from Arye Sher, Accountant General of the Finance Ministry. He said Israel’s average long-term debt is at an advantage over other countries whose debts are much shorter term. Israel’s average rate of interest payments on long-term debts–5.2 percent–is low by international standards, he said.
The Bond leaders also heard a review of relations with Egypt by Elyakim Rubinstein, legal advisor to the Foreign Ministry. He condemned what he said were anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel cartoons that continue to appear in the Egyptian press.
Rubinstein rejected Cairo’s explanation that this was the privilege of a free press and declared that Egypt’s peace agreement with Israel demanded that the Egyptians cure this situation.