The Johnson Administration was urged tonight by the heads of 21 national Jewish agencies to help Israel protect itself against “an unmistakable buildup for war” by Arab governments.
In a statement, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called on Mr. Johnson to make clear that the United States would “not accept the growing preponderance of arms in favor of the Arab governments.” The statement was issued by Dr. Joachim Prinz, chairman of the Conference of Presidents.
The statement cited recent large-scale Arab arms orders and acquisitions — including modern Soviet jet fighters — and quoted a declaration by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser on November 18 that “it must be our unswerving purpose to destroy Israel.” The statement urged the Johnson Administration “in the interest of peace no less than in the interest of justice” to make certain that Israel is capable of maintaining its deterrent strength.
“The Arab intention to destroy Israel is clear, and the Arab governments are now rapidly acquiring the means to fulfill this purpose,” the statement declared. “In addition to the large military expenditures already budgeted in each separate Arab State, some amounting to over $350, 000, 000 have for the first time been allocated to the United Arab Command for the purchase of material and equipment.”
Dr. Prinz, who is also president of the American Jewish Congress, said the threat of war in the Middle East could be averted “only if the Arab governments are persuaded that Israel remains capable of fighting off any act of aggression.”
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.