WASHINGTON (Oct. 20)
An amendment that could have prevented Israel’s participation in some research for the Reagan Administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) has been deleted from the Defense Department’s appropriation bill for 1987.
The amendment proposed by Sen. John Glenn (D. Ohio) was removed during the Senate-House conference on the appropriations bill, largely through the efforts of Rep. Jim Courter (R. NJ), according to Howard Kohr, deputy director of the National Jewish Coalition. The Glenn Amendment was not aimed specifically at Israel, but at all foreign countries that would compete with American firms in bids for SDI research.
This was noted by Lt. Gen. James Abrahamson, director of the Department of Defense’s SDI Office during a recent address to a group of Jewish leaders. He said it would not have affected research on tactical weapons but could have prevented other research such as on lasers that Israel is now doing under the SDI program.
Israel and several West European allies have accepted the Reagan Administration’s invitation to participate in the SDI program, popularly known as “Star Wars.”
Israel is particularly interested in defending itself against short-range tactical ballistic missiles such as the SS-21 which the Soviet Union has supplied Syria. But Israel is also interested in the jobs SDI research and development will bring to Israel as well as other benefits to the Israeli economy. Initial contracts now total about $10 million, but are expected to expand greatly.