Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

France Resumes Arms Sales to Israel for First Time Since the Six-day War

November 6, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

For the first time in 21 years, France will officially supply military equipment to Israel.

The government has authorized the sale of modern jet engines for updated models of the Kfir fighter plane, the first combat aircraft designed and produced in Israel.

It is a departure from the policy set by Gen. Charles de Gaulle, then president of France, on June 3, 1967, when he imposed an arms embargo against Israel on the eve of the Six-Day War.

The embargo was made total by President Georges Pompidou in December 1968, after an Israeli air raid on the Beirut airport.

Now the state-owned SNECMA Co. will sell Israel five Atar 9K-50 engines that were initially developed for France’s Mirage IV nuclear bomber and its Mirage F-I jet fighter.

French officials say the Israelis planned to equip the new Kfirs with General Electric J-79 engines, but chose the French alternative in order to diversify their sources of supply.

Israel apparently does not want to be totally dependent on American good will for its military hardware, the French say.

The only condition put on the sale is a commitment by Israel not to sell the engine to a third country without France’s permission.

Recommended from JTA