TEL AVIV (Feb. 7)
Israel has agreed to the Reagan Administration’s proposal to build a powerful Voice of America (VOA) radio transmitter in Israel to relay broadcasts to the Soviet Union and other Eastem bloc countries, Maariv said today.
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rab in made a verbal commitment to President Reagan at their White House meeting last month, Maariv said. It was not put in writing. Rab in reportedly acted on a decision taken secretly by Israeli leaders in recent weeks.
The American request raised considerable controversy here. The U.S. wants the transmitter in Israel to overcome Soviet jamming of VOA broadcasts relayed via Europe. But many Israelis feared that to acquiece would involve Israel directly in the cold war between the superpowers and would have a detrimental effect on the situation of Soviet Jews which has seriously deteriorated during the past year.
But President Reagan exerted pressure, Maariv said, and Israel was forced finally to agree. The only condition was that no public disclosure be made of the agreement until the debate in Israel dies down, Maariv reported.