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August 07, 1992 - Image 64

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-08-07

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

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64

FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 1992

Chinese Pressure Israel
To Cancel Arms Sale

Tel Aviv (JTA) — Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin is
reconsidering plans to sell
40 Kfir jet planes to Taiwan
as a result of pressures being
exerted on him by the
People's Republic of China.
Mr. Rabin met with senior
Israeli officials to discuss the
implications of going ahead
with the deal, which is
valued at $400 million.
Israel waited two years
before obtaining U.S. ap-
proval of the deal. The
Israeli-designed planes are
manufactured by Israel
Aviation Industries, but the
aircraft are fitted with
American-made jet engines.
But now the Beijing au-
thorities have protested the
deal, which they fear will
strengthen their traditional
enemies, the Taiwanese.
The mainland Chinese are
reported to have threatened
to downgrade, or even
cancel, their recent diplo-
matic recognition of Israel,
which involved the mutual
exchange of ambassadors.
Israel's national airline, El
Al, is scheduled to start
making direct flights from
Tel Aviv to Beijing at the
beginning of September.
The agreement with
Taiwan had been initialed
before the opening of diplo-
matic relations with
mainland China.
According to published
estimates, Israel had been
maintaining healthy levels

of exports to China even
before the establishment of
full diplomatic relations
between the two countries.
Their sales to the Chinese,
including arms, are put at
more than $400 million.
The meeting at the prime
minister's office was
scheduled to include Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres,
defense ministry Director
General David Ivri, and IAI
Director General Moshe
Keret.

The warning from the
Chinese was reportedly con-
veyed to Jerusalem by
Israel's ambassador to Beij-
ing, Ze'ev Sufot.
This is the second Kfir air-
craft deal with a Far Eastern
country recently to be put in
jeopardy.

Israel had previously
reached an agreement to sell
a large number of Kfir jet
fighters to the Philippines,
and the deal had been
ratified by the United
States. The agreement had
been initialed by officials of
the previous government of
the Philippines, but its
implementation has been
postponed by the new presi-
dent in Manila, Fidel
Ramos.
IAI is reported to be seri-
ously concerned about the
possibility of losing the two
sales, which may lead to
large- scale layoffs of IAI
staff.

Orthodox Jews
Harass Deri, Wife

Jerusalem (JTA) — Jewish
worshippers at the Tomb of
the Patriarchs in Hebron
harassed Interior Minister
Arye Deri and his wife dur-
ing morning prayers last
week, disrupting his reading
from the Torah.
Mr. Deri came to the Tomb
of the Patriarchs on the eve
of the 1st of Av, as he does at
the beginning of every Jew-
ish month.
When the Torah scrolls
were taken out, several wor-
shippers, Jewish residents of
Hebron and neighboring
Kiryat Arba began shouting
and demanding that he be
prevented from reading the
Torah.
They hurled epithets at
him and accused him of hav-
ing enabled the outspoken
left-wing Meretz leader
Shulamit Aloni to become
minister of education.

Mr. Deli, leader of the
Sephardi Orthodox Shas
Party, said he was especially
bitter about the incident
since it was he who had rais-
ed the funds to purchase a
Sephardi Torah scroll for the
synagogue at the tomb.
Mr. Deri has been the sub-
ject of widespread criticism
among the haredi commun-
ity he and Shas spritual
leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,
defied the order of Rabbi
Eliezer Schach and joined
the new government led by
Labor Party head Yitzhak
Rabin.

The criticism has become
more pungent because he is
now aligned with Aloni, who
is reviled by a broad spec-
trum of Orthodox Jews for
her liberal Judaism and fre-
quent statements against
the religious establishment.

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