NEW YORK (Jul. 9)
Israel is “very concerned” about Egypt’s general rearmament, Israeli Ambassador Avraham Harman said in an interview here last night, given to Senator Kenneth Keating on the latter’s weekly radio-television program.
“We’re very concerned, of course, by the general picture of rearmament in Egypt,” he stated. “It has been going on since 1955, and has been stepped up in the past year. The air aspect of it is of course, one which concerns us most, but Egyptian rearmament is not limited to the air and it’s not limited to MIGs. It has also included in recent months the receipt by them of long-range heavy bombers.”
“Also from Russia?” asked Sen. Keating.
“Yes,” replied Mr. Harman. “But their plans include a heavy build-up and motorization of their infantry, development of armor and, of course, a rather impressive increase as far as their naval force is concerned. “
In reply to a question as to whether increased American aid to Egypt contributes to stability in the Middle East, the Israel Ambassador stated:
“It has always been our view that economic development of countries is a stabilizing factor, and I’d like to make that clear. I think that we, in Israel, would like to see our Arab neighbors concentrate upon the essential job of improving their economic and social situation, and any help that they get in that respect is something to which we would take no exception at all. We’d like to see them concentrate on that.
“Our only doubt about Egypt, in particular, is to what extent Egypt is concentrating upon her own internal affairs. Our feeling is that she is still devoting a considerable degree of her resources to external ventures.”
Asked by the Senator whether he saw any “mellowing in Arab antagonism toward Israel,” Mr, Herman declared: “I would say that, in recent months, there has been an increase in vituperation. There has been a lot of very wild talk about the destruction of Israel as the Arab plan. I would say that there has been no public mellowing of the Arab attitude toward us — possibly the contrary.”