The building of the Voice of America transmission station in the Negev came one major step closer to realization Sunday when the Cabinet formally endorsed an agreement initialled last week by visiting U.S. Vice President George Bush and Israel’s Communications Minister, Amnon Rubinstein.
The Cabinet step follows formal U.S. assurances that no less than half of the contracts for the construction of the facility will go to Israeli companies. The estimated cost of $250 million is considered by experts here to be too low.
The Cabinet move allays the concerns of some of Israel’s major industrial complexes who were anxious to secure a substantial part of the construction contracts. It has not allayed, however, the concerns of various environmental groups about the long-term effects of the project.
Some experts warn that the ecological balance in a wide area of Europe, Asia and Africa — particularly the migration patterns of millions of birds — could be seriously affected by the transmitters. Moreover, the facility will radically alter Israel’s physical and geographical contours. A group of 16 tower-antennae is planned, each the height of a 70-story building.
The Cabinet decision apparently was influenced by the Reagan Administration assertion that it attaches major importance to boosting VOA’s output to the Soviet Union and its satellites.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.