TEL AVIV (Jun. 25)
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin is exerting pressure on cabinet members to bring the Lavi issue to a vote, perhaps at the cabinet meeting on Sunday, Haaretz reported Wednesday. This pressure apparently stems from a communique sent from the Reagan Administration to the Defense Ministry, in which it was stated that the U.S. would not discuss military aid to Israel in 1988 until the cabinet decides on the Lavi issue, Haaretz said.
Moreover, the Administration cancelled a discussion which was to have taken place three weeks ago in Washington on the subject of military aid to Israel. Several ministers will apparently decide their respective positions only after the Defense Minister declares his own view. Rabin’s position appears to be that he will not oppose continuation of the project, on condition that the government agrees to add an annual $220 million to the defense budget. Haaretz added that if funds are not made available, there will be no choice other than to ground the Lavi.