JERUSALEM (Apr. 8)
Leading Knesset members have called for exhaustive parliamentary discussions before Israel decides how to respond to Washington’s invitation to participate in star wars research. Victor Shemtov (Mapam), acting chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, yesterday suggested a full debate in that committee. Earlier, Shevach Weiss (Labor) urged discussion in the plenary.
The invitation from U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger to Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin reached Israel Friday. President Reagan had said publicly he would offer the NATO countries, Japan, Australia and Israel a chance to join in the research. The Foreign Ministry said a reply would be sent as soon as possible.
Plainly, the high-level consultations on the American invitation will focus not only on the scientific aspects but also on possible political repercussions, given the Soviet Union’s intense sensitivity to star wars planning.
Haaretz reported yesterday that in three Israeli universities and several high-tech industries research work was underway which could be of relevance to the star wars program. The paper mentioned Haifa Technion, the Weizmann Institute, and Tel Aviv University. The paper noted, too, that some space-related work, funded by the U.S., has been done in these institutions for years.