Delay in Saudi arms deal pleases O.U.

An Orthodox Jewish group welcomed reports that the Bush administration has delayed a proposal to sell sophisticated weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America had expressed its concern and questioned the advisability of the $20 billion arms package when it was announced in July.

The Bush administration has delayed presenting a formal proposal on the deal to Congress. Some 250 members of Congress have said they will oppose the sale.

The Orthodox Union in a statement said the Saudi rulers have “provided millions of dollars of funding to Islamic extremists who kill and maim innocents. The Saudi rulers have undermined U.S. efforts in Iraq. The Saudi rulers have refused U.S. requests to proactively assist with progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Saudi government has funded educational institutions and textbooks which disseminate radical, anti-western and anti-Semitic views around the world.

“If the litany of failures of Saudi Arabia were not enough to seriously question why the United States would reward this regime with a multi-billion dollar arms sale, we must also question the wisdom of transferring these sophisticated weapons to a country whose rulers are the targets of animosity and whose enemies desire their overthrow,” the group added.

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