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June 27, 1986 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-06-27

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

bruce m. weiss

Z.: THE

Jewelers

Specials Daily

26325 Twelve Mile Rd.

they were subject to intense
pressure by the American of-
ficials they met to abandon the
project on grounds that Israel
has neither the money nor the
technical ability to build the
plane. The main American argu-
ment against the Lavi is its ex-
cessive cost per unit. But Amer-
ican cost calculations greatly ex-
ceed those of Israeli experts.
The U.S. has a direct stake in
the plane because it is financing
the project to a large degree and
because the Lavi will be powered
by American-made Pratt and
Whitney engines. Haaretz
quoted a senior Defense Min-
istry official as saying the
Reagan administration has
taken no formal decision to
discontinue the Lavi but would
be very pleased if Israel decided
to do so on its own.

ml Aviv (JTA) — The escal-
ating debate between Israel and
the U.S. over the Lavi, Israel's
second generation jet fighter
plane scheduled for its first test
flights next September, focused
last week on the number of jobs
that would be lost if the project
:s abandoned.
The U.S., which is paying for
most of the development and
production costs, has been urg-
ing Israel to drop the Lavi, main-
ly on grounds that it is too ex-
pensive. The Israelis dispute the
American cost. estimates. De-
fense Minister Yitzhak Rabin
said in a radio interview that
Israel stands by its decision to
develop and produce the plane
but is willing to hear alternative
proposals from the Americans.
Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Levy
has taken a similar position.
But executives of Israel Avia-
tion Industries (IAI), manufac-
turer of the Lavi, warned that
abandonment of the project
would mean the dismissal of be-
tween 3,000 to 4,000 engineers.
The Americans have promised
that all of them would find jobs
in high-tech research and en-
gineering in connection with the
Reagan Administration's Strat-
egic Defense Initiative (SDI),
the "Star Wars" program with
which Israel has agreed to
cooperate.
According to Israeli officials,
most of the engineers would
probably leave Israel for the U.S.
where the knowledge and exper-
tise gained from the Lavi pro-
gram would bring them higher
paying jobs than they had in
Israel.
Meanwhile, a multi-party
Knesset delegation just re-
turned from the U.S. reported

Rabin has indicated that
Israel is determined to build the
plane but is willing to hear
American alternative proposals,
the newspaper Al Hamishmar
reported. "They (the Americans)
are not talking about discontinu-
ing financial aid for the project
(but) Israel is open to proposals
and is willing to examine them,
provided there is no delay in the
plane's development in the
meantime," Rabin was quoted as
saying in advance of an inter-
view to be published in Al
Hamishmar.
Rabin disclosed that the U.S.
is now seeking to present Israel
with alternatives to the Lavi.
"When alternatives are in ques-
tion, it is not the F-20 (an
American-built jet) but a com-
bination of an American plat-
form and Israeli avionics," Rabin
was quoted as saying.

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