TEL AVIV (Sep. 27)
A U.S. decision to present Israel with 25 Apache and 10 Blackhawk assault helicopters, as well as 70 Patriot anti-missile missiles, is being described by the media here as the “”best Rosh Hashanah present the U.S. could have given Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel.11
The helicopters are being given to Israel to help offset the proposed sale of 72 advanced F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, which Israel has protested.
President Bush announced the sale Sept. 11, during a campaign stop in St. Louis, where the F-15 is made by the McDonnell Douglas Corp. But the president said the United States would ensure that the sale did not alter the strategic balance in the Middle East.
Announcement of the arms package for Israel was made Saturday by the White House, which said the helicopters were being provided to maintain Israel’s x”qualitative military edge.”
At the same time, it was announced that the United States would “pre-position”‘ a considerable amount of military equipment in Israel. It would be ready for use by U.S. armed forces but could also be drawn upon by the Israel Defense Force in the event of an emergency.
The total value of the equipment is put by the Israeli media at about $700 million.