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Brown Discusses Israeli Defense Needs with Israeli Military Leaders

February 14, 1979
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U.S. Defense Secretary Harold Brown met for more than five hours with Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and senior Israeli military officers today, the first day of his three-day visit to Israel, to discuss Israel’s defense problems and requests for American military aid in light of the latest events in the region. An Israeli official described the first round of talks as friendly, serious and to the point He said the Americans showed on under standing of Israel’s defense problems.

Looming over the discussions were the establishment of a new government in Iran by supporters of the Ayatollah Ruhollah. Khoumeini, the impending military alliance between lraq and Syria and the possibility of a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and its military ramifications. Brown referred to the situation when he stated on his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport this morning that the U.S. and Israel share a common goal which is to maintain stability in the region. He stressed America’s commitment to ensure Israel’s security.

Brown, on his first tour of the Middle East, has already visited Saudi Arabia and Jordan and will go to Egypt after leaving Israel. At today’s meeting, the Israelis reportedly explained the new defense infrastructure envisioned after Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai under a peace treaty with Egypt. The importance of building two new air bases in the Negev to replace those to be relinquished in Sinai was said to have been stressed.

Israel’s new weapons, requests are expected to emphasize the latest, most sophisticated electronic systems. This reflects growing concern here over the possible creation of a hostile new power bloc on Israel’s eastern front, Israelis say they cannot ignore the possibility that khoumeini’s militant Islamic regime in Iran which now commands the most powerful military machine in the region, will join forces with Iraq and Syria against Israel.

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