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August 30, 1985 - Image 71

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-08-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, August 30, 1985 71

CAPITOL REPORT

WOLF BLITZER

`Star Wars' Is Boosting
U.S. Ties With Israel

Washington — Senior Reagan
Administration policymakers
are delighted by Israel's initial
decision to participate in the re-
search and development of the
proposed Strategic Defense In-
itiative (SDI), or "star wars"
program.
Israel, together with NATO
allies, and Japan and Australia,
was invited by Defense Secre-
tary Caspar Weinberger to take
part in the controversial project,
which faces very stiff opposition
from arms control advocates in
Congress and from some of the
West European allies.
If it should get off the gound,
U.S. officials said, the SDI will
represent the largest single U.S.
scientific undertaking since the
landing of an astronaut on the
moon in 1969.
The Administration has made
no secret of its hope that Israel's
involvement in the program —
even if only modest — will
encourage some of the more lib-
eral critics of the scheme, espe-
cially on Capitol Hill, to support
it. Many of those opponents are
extremely pro-Israel.
U.S. and Israeli officials in
Washington said that both
Prime Minister Shimon Peres
and Defense Minister Yitzhak

U.S. officials have
cited potentially
significant political,
economic and
military benefits for
Israel.

Rabin support Israeli involve-
ment. So do the top Likud lead-
ers, including Foreign Minister
Yitzhak Shamir and Minister
Without Portfolio Moshe Arens.
U.S. officials have cited poten-
tially significant political, eco-
nomic and military benefits for
Israel.
On the political side, they
pointed to the angry Arab-reac-
tion to Israel's involvement in
the project. Official Arab pro-
tests have been made to the
State Department. Israeli offi-
cials have traditionally believed
that it is in Israel's best interest
to project close ties with the
Americans as a deterrent to
Arab aggression.
On the economic side, they
said, Israeli defense-related in-
dustries might be brought into
various aspects of the project,
thereby winning lucrative con-
tracts. In recent months, Israel
has been anxiously seeking such
contracts.
On the military side, Israel's
scientific and other technical
specialists would be directly in-
volved in the latest state-of-
the-art development of weapons
to counter surface-to-surface
missile.. The Soviet Union has
installed, for eaela$44 new SO21
mitiailes in Syria, wable of
odd* much d homer mil-
itated rotor and sir ism ki-

nd! MOIL WI 111111111111 111
►d► eanearned die re•
cent we of : ground- round

missiles in the Iran-Iraq war.
"Phase I of the SDI's re-
search," a well-informed U.S.
source said, "will try to address
this specific problem. Israel
stands to gain enormously by
the sharing of this new genera-
tion of technology.
Israeli officials recognize that
the Administration, in inviting
Israel into the exclusive club of
its closest allies, may have been
largely influenced by Israel's
popularity in Congress. But Is-
raeli officials also note that the
Administration was very much
aware of the anger which the
invitation would generate in the
Arab world.
Israeli officials have been im-
pressed that the Administration
was willing to suffer any politi-
cal loss among the Arabs in
strengthening strategic coopera-
tion with Israel in such a highly
visible way.
"Whatever their rationale," an
Israeli official said, "we stand to
gain by playing, rather than
simply standing along the
sidelines."
Israeli officials in Washington
are very much aware that Is-
rael's participation in the pro-
gram might upset some of its
closest friends in Congress, who
oppose it.
Israeli officials also said they
were willing to risk further an-
tagonizing the Soviet Union, al-
though they confirmed that
some Israeli diplomats at the
Foreign Ministry remain deeply
concerned about this virtual al-
liance emerging between Wash-
ington and Jerusalem.
They are said to fear that it
will make the re-establishment
of diplomatic relations with
Moscow more difficult. They also
expressed fear that the plight of
Soviet Jews might be further
worsened in the process of sol-
idifying ties with Washington.
For similar reasons, these dip-
lomats had also — unsuc-
cessfully — opposed the con-
struction of American radio
transmitters in Israel to beam
propaganda to the Soviet Union.
Btit these concerns are clearly
not winning the day in
Jerusalem.
Thus, the Israeli Embassy's
Military Attache, General Uri
Simchoni, has already met with
General James Abrahamson, the
former director of the U.S. gov-
ernment's super-secret National
'Security Agency and the current
head of the SDI project, to dis-
cuss some preliminary details.
More discussions are antici-
pated in late May when Defense
Minister Rabin is due in Wash-
ington for another round of
talks with Weinberger and other
senior U.S. officials.
In the meantime, the U.B.-
Israeli strategic cooperation dis-
cussions on other issues have
been proverb& according to
both sides, maremoly well. The

United States end Israel are
me* aka is Judi areas as

d U.B. mili-
flie
tary *Opia
mentLrael, Joint
arawas mid Omsk* dm-
MI iddilipsaa ithamike
aradyia, aim klikly
tamithe seta

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