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February 14, 1986 - Image 84

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-02-14

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

84

Friday, February 14, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

CAPITOL REPORT

WOLF BLITZER

AIPAC Asks The United States
To Share Its Missile Savvy With Israel

THIS SPACE CONTRIBUTED Br THE PUBL.SHC

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The major pro-Israeli lobby-
ing organization in Washing-
ton has called on the U.S. to
develop an effective defense
against conventional ground-
to-ground missiles which it
could then share with Israel.
"Israel's enemies are now be-
ing armed by the Soviet Union
with a new generation of high-
ly lethal surface-to-surface
missiles, more accurate and
more deadly than any previ-
ously available weapons," said
Thomas Dine, Executive
Director of the American
Israel Public Affairs Commit-
tee (AIPAC). "Unfortunately,
there are no comparable defen-
sive systems available today
that Israel could obtain to pro-
tect its vulnerable cities from
bombardment."
Dine was testifying on Jan.
30 in open-door session before
the Senate Armed Services
Subcommittee on Strategic
and Theater Nuclear Forces.
The panel had convened to ex-
amine possible new defenses
against tactical ballistic
missiles.
Dine said this was a subject
"of particular interest to those
concerned" about the supply of
such missiles by the Soviet
Union to "its client states in
the Middle East."
"These missiles threaten
American security interests
and the security of our only
reliable, consistent and demo-
cratic ally in that part of the
world," he said.
The hearing came as the
Reagan Administration has ac-
tively continued to push its
controversial Strategic De-
fense Initiative (SDI) program,
better known as "Star Wars."
Israel has been invited to par-
ticipate in the initial research
and development stage of the
SDI project.
Israeli officials, in accepting
the U.S. invitation, have been
anxious to learn if some of the
new missile defense technolo-
gies proposed in the SDI pro-
gram might have a spillover
benefit in conventional war-
fare. Thus, there are clear
benefits for Israel in eventual-
ly receiving these state-of-the-
art technologies.
During the hearing, Dine
submitted a detailed paper on
the threat these new ground-
to-ground missiles, especially
the Soviet-made SS-21s recent-
ly deployed in Syria, pose for
the deployed of Israel. The
pape was written by W. Seth
AIPAC's senior mili-
tary alyst.
en fired from Syria,"
Caru said, "the SS-21 can
reach{ targets throughout nor-
thern Israel, including one of
Israel's main air bases, Ramat
David. If deployed in Jordan,
however, all of Israel wuld be
brought within range,",

An accompanying map
showed the clear vulnerability
of virtually all of Israel's ma-
jor air bases which were iden-
tified as Ovda, near Eilat;
Ramon, Hatzerim, and Neva-
tim in the Negev; Tel Nof and
Hatzor near the coastal plane;
and Ramat David and Mahan-
ayim in the north.
"If there is a danger of an
Arab attack," Carus said,
"Israel will be forced to strike
first, because it will not be able
to take the risks of waiting and
absorbing an Arab attack. Al-
though such a strategy will
make the Middle East a more
dangerous place, the absence
of a viable defense against tac-
tical ballistic missiles will leave
Israel with no alternative."
The paper suggested that
"tactical ballistic missiles
directed against (Israeli) cities
could easily result in 5,000
dead and wounded Israeli
civilians in a future Arab-
Israeli war."
Thus, Carus called for a new
defense against such missiles.
"Although the Israeli military
could take steps to develop
defenses on its own," he said,
"the development of such sys-
tems is too great a challenge to
be handled by one small
country.
"Clearly, any progress made
in the United States to develop
answers to the dangers posed
by tactical ballistic missiles
could have a fundamental af-
fect on Israel's future security.
And, it should be stressed, the
benefits resulting from the
development of such a system
would be shared by other
American allies who also find
that they must deal with the
growing threat of tactical
ballistic missiles."
Meanwhile, Israel received
some bad military-related
news the other day — porten-
ding possibly even worse news
down the road.
Because of the Gramm-Rud-
man budget cuts, Israel Air-
craft Industries (IAI) is now in
danger of losing a proposed
$10.12 million contract to sell
mineplows to the U.S. Marine
Corps.
The mineplows, which are at-
tached to the front of M-60 and
other tanks, clear away mines.
IAI officials were informed
that the contract was now en-
dangered because of the most
recent federal budget cuts forc-
ed on the Marine Corps by the
GrammRudman law. The law
is designed to reduce the
massive federal budget deficit.
The Israeli company had
been negotiating the deal with
the Marines for nearly three
years. U.S. officials said all the
arrangement% had been virtu-
ally completed until the
Gramm-Rudman law forced a

U.S. and Israeli officials
pointed out that the Marine
Corps, like the other branches
of the U.S. armed services,
were currently in the process of
sharply cutting back on pro-
curement in a host of areas.
They strongly denied that
the tentative decision to cancel
the mineplow deal reflected
any political irritation with
Israel.
IAI officials had hoped that
this initial sale to the Marine
Corps would encourage other
foreign nations to purchase the
mineplows, which have been
shown to be very effective.
In recent weeks, IAI, in a
joint venture with Tadiran,
had announced the sale of a
new generation of pilotless
reconnaissance aircraft —
known as remotely piloted
vehicles (RPVs) — to the U.S.
Navy.
In addition, the U.S. Navy is
expected to lease another 12
Kfir fighters for use during
training exercises. A first
batch of 12 Kfirs, based at the
Oceana Air Naval Station in
Virginia, already has been leas-
ed by the Navy to simulate
Soviet-made MiG-21s. This
proposed second shipment
would be based in Arizona.

NEWS

Israel Reports
Good News
For Economy

Jerusalem (JTA) — The infla-
tion rate was zero in the last two
weeks of January and the
estimate of about L5 percent for
the full month would be the
smallest rise of the consumer
price index in eight years. That
and other good economic news
released last Monday by the
Central Bureau of Statistics has
put Finance Minister Yitzhak
Modai in a strong position for
his upcoming contract nego-
tiatins with Histadrut.
Modai said that with inflation
virtually non-existent, there is
no need to abandon the wage/
price freeze which he credited for
ending the spiral of devaluation
and price hikes. Modai urged the
trade union federation not to de-
mand wage increases but rather
maintain the present situation
in which consumer buying
power is guaranteed.
The success of the economic
austerity program is threatened,
however, by the Cabinet's de-
cision to increase the defense
budget by $37 million. Modai
warned that if this trend con-
tinues, it would undo what has
been accomplished so far in set-
#1,i1 ,e,conglpy, cig14.

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