NEW YORK (May. 2)
Ariel Sharon, Israel’s feisty minister of housing, warned the United States on Thursday not to try to pressure Israel into accepting peace proposals in exchange for needed loan guarantees for immigrant housing.
“I hear that if, maybe, Israel will not accept conditions for peace negotiations, then Israel will not get the loan guarantees that Israel needs to absorb these people,” Sharon thundered to a crowd of over 300 people who had just bought $25.2 million in State of Israel Bonds.
“Israel cannot trade Jews (for) its security,” he said, as those in the room burst into applause.
“That is the moral obligation of every democratic country,” said Sharon, “to help save Jews and not to try and trade land for Jews.”
Israel recently received $400 million in loan guarantees from the United States and is expected to make a request this fall for $10 billion in additional guarantees.
The loan guarantees, which would cover a five-year period, would go toward housing and other infrastructure projects for the estimated 1 million Soviet Jews who will arrive by the end of 1993.
“It seems to me that America would like to make some link between loan guarantees and the political process,” said an Israeli official here who asked not to be named.