Franz-Josef Strauss, leader of Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), took a swipe at Israel last week over the sale of advanced German weaponry to Saudi Arabia. He claimed that arms sales were necessary to “stabilize” Saudi Arabia and were in Israel’s interests, arguments rejected by Israel’s President Chaim Herzog during his recent state visit to West Germany.
Strauss, who is a director of one of the leading Bavarian arms manufacturers, said he expected Israel to make “certain concessions.” He was reacting apparently to Herzog’s remark that the United States had “stabilized” Iran with more than $20 billion worth of arms before the overthrow of the Shah.
According to Strauss, Iran today is more of a threat to Israel than the Saudis or any other moderate Arab country and a well-armed Saudi Arabia therefore would be an advantage for Israel.
The Bavarian leader, whose party is closely linked with Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was invited to meet with Herzog during the latter’s stay in Bonn. But he didn’t find time to make the one-hour flight from Munich.
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.