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March 28, 1986 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-03-28

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

11

NEWS

`Private' Visit Of Peres
To Focus On Economy

BY ERIC ROZENMAN
Special to The Jewish News

Washington — Israel's Prime
Minister, Shimon Peres, plans
to make what the Israeli Em-
bassy in Washington terms a
"private visit" to the United
States from April 1-3. It will be
his second U.S. trip in six
months. Last October an ad-
dress to the U.N. General
Assembly and a meeting with
President Ronald Reagan
highlighted a crowded itinerary.
This time the agenda looks
shorter — tentative plans call
for Peres to stop only in
Washington and New York,
while Reagan is on vacation in
California — but private trip or
not, economics and politics like-
ly will highlight the Prime
Minister's stay.
Meetings with Vice President
George Bush and Secretary of
State George Shultz are pro-
bable; a session with business
people participating in Opera-
tion Independence — a program
to shift private overseas finan-
cial support for Israel from
philanthropy to investment — is
definite. Peres' schedule also •
calls for him to keynote another
Jewish testimonial dinner, this
one for World Jewish Congress
head Edgar Bronfman Jr.
But the crucial part of the
visit may well come in private
meetings between the Prime
Minister and the Secretary of
State. The topic will be Israel's
economy and the debate over
economic growth. This issue
recently rattled the national

Coli8eum
collection

Fidelio
collection

and

RAYMOND WEIL

GENEVE

Shimon Peres

gram last summer. Shultz told
a subcommittee of the Senate
Appropriations Committee in
mid-March that "we're trying to
have .the flow of aid take place
in such a way as to be most
useful...to help Israel get its
economy in shape." After prais-
ing the achievements of the
reform program so far; he said
the second installment of sup-
plemental aid "obviously needs
to.be dispersed fairly soon."
Now is an opportune time for
Israel's economy to focus on
growth, the embassy source
said, adding that "the ques-
tion...will be raised" by Peres in
his U.S. meetings. The timing is
right politically as well as
economically, he added, because
"you cannot prolong austerity
without showing some light at
the end of the tunnel." Peres
used the lightat-the-end-of-
the-tunnel phrase in announcing
austerity 18 months ago and
Peres and Shultz
Shultz has echoed it, most
recently in his Senate testi-
will discuss the
debate in Israel over mony.
But the timing of a shift from
stabilization to growth has a
economic growth.
partisan as well as s general
political edge. Both Labor and
Likud have an eye on the
scheduled rotation in office this
government,
with
Peres
.
unity
between Peres and
and some Labor Party col- October
Foreign
Minister Yitzhak
leagues pushing for a shift from
Shamir. Both parties shared
stabilization to expansion,
and
Likud members arguing that responsiblity for austerity
neither wants the other' to get
the battle against inflation is
sole credit for economic growth
not over yet.
it does occur.
.Meanwhile, Israeli diplomats when
Neither major bloc in the
in Washington say they have Israeli government doubts
asked the United States to whether stabilization has begun;
release soon the second and final inflation, which hit an annual
$750 million installment of sup- rate of 440 percent before the
plemental economic aid the reform program seems to have
United States began providing leveled out at around 25 percent
last year. The U.S. has in-
and foreign reserves, previously
dicated it will disperse the sup-
under the $2 billion "red line,"
plemental, but has not said have climbed back to approx-
when," an embassy source imately $3 billion. Questions
noted. He said the earlier the arise over whether the change is
transfer comes, the better able permanent.
Israel will be to do long-range
Improving the balance sheets
economic planning.
brought pocketbook pain to the
The emergency economic Israeli public. According to
assistance provided a cushion Prof. Howard Pack, a Swarth-
for Israel's dangerously low more College economist familiar
foreign currency reserves as the with the Israeli economy, "real
unity government launched the
second and more austere version
Continued on next page .,
of its economic stabilization pro-

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RAYMOND WEIL

GENEVE



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