In Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan has dismissed Opposition demands for his resignation after he disclosed that Israel has supplied military aid to Ethiopia.
In Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan has dismissed Opposition demands for his resignation after he disclosed that Israel has supplied military aid to Ethiopia. He was replying to an urgent motion in the Knesset by Opposition MP Yossi Sarid.
SYNOPSIS: General Dayan's disclosure to a television reporter has embarrassed the government of Premier Menachem Begin because Ethiopia's main support in its war against Somalia comes from the Soviet Union.
In presenting his motion Mr Sarid claimed that General Dayan had done irreparable harm to Israel's national security interests in disclosing the move. He did not go into details, but he added that every Israeli would be shocked if the details were known.
After General Dayan's interview Ethiopia suspended trade relations with Israel and expelled Israeli nationals at the demand of the Soviet Union.
In reply to Mr Sarid, the Foreign Minister said he had made his disclosure in order to correct exaggerated foreign reports about Israeli aid. He said the reports maintained that Israel had supplied planes, intelligence services and other services to Ethiopia, although in fact only a small quantity of weapons had been provided at Ethiopia's request. General Dayan said he had wanted to establish the truth about Israel's position.
Foreign press reports said Israel had supplied cluster bombs, napalm and ammunition among other weapons. But in his interview General Dayan maintained that neither Israeli pilots nor planes were involved. The interview caused surprise in Israel because of the role played in Ethiopia by the Soviet Union and Cuba, two countries which have poor relations with Israel.