WASHINGTON (May. 10)
Israeli Ambassador Meir Rosenne said Thursday that funds from the United States have enabled Israel to strengthen its economy.
But he said relations between the two countries are a “two-way street,” and Israel has been an important U.S. ally.
Rosenne, who is scheduled to leave the Israeli Embassy at the end of the month, made his remarks at a farewell dinner hosted by the Prime Minister’s Club and Ambassador’s Society of Trustees of the Israel Bond Organization.
Rosenne said Israel has saved the U.S. billions of dollars by sharing sophisticated technology. He cited Israel’s participation in SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) and the building of a transmitter for the Voice of America. But he noted that the “future and strength of Israel depends upon its capacity to build a society with a safe economy, and the U.S. has helped us a lot by bringing down inflation.”
Rosenne said the future of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union will depend on Israel’s ability to provide housing and jobs.
Robert Keats, president of the Prime Minister’s Club, admitted that “while relations between the U.S. and Israel have basically been excellent, there have been periods characterized by differences,” such as in 1983, when Rosenne arrived in Washington. Keats was referring the disagreement over the war in Lebanon.
“But our relations have reached a new high,” Keats said. Rosenne, whose successor has not yet been named, noted that it’s not the diplomats who are responsible for good (U.S.-Israel) relations.
“The great hero is the Jewish Israeli citizen who serves three years in the army and in the reserves until the age of 55, and who pays the highest income tax in the world, and who in spite of the terrorist attacks keeps on smiling and fighting for a better tomorrow,” he said.