Rabin Concerned over Israeli Sanctions Against South Africa

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin is unhappy with the sanctions Israel has announced against South Africa which he fears may serve as a precedent for similar embargoes by many countries against Israel. He is also concerned over the impact Israel’s action may have on the South African Jewish community of 115-120,000.

Rabin expressed his views to a visiting Israel Bond Organization delegation here Tuesday night. Referring to the government’s recent announcement that it would enter into no new arms sales contracts with the Pretoria government — though it would honor existing ones — Rabin said he disliked embargoes and sanctions. He recalled that Israel was the victim of boycotts by the U.S. and Europe in 1948 and 1967.

South Africa, Rabin said, was the only country to send Israel badly needed spare parts for its French-built Mirage jets after the 1967 Six-Day War when France and other Western European countries imposed an arms embargo against Israel.

Israel has always expressed abhorrence for apartheid, despite its friendly relations with South Africa. But it never let the domestic policies of any regime influence its diplomatic relations with that country, Rabin said.

He noted that Israel maintained diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1953 when Stalin was engineering the "doctors plot" which fueled anti-Semitism. It was Moscow which broke relations with Israel, not the other way around, he said.

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