Sunday, July 29, 1990

Washington Post reports costs of massive influx of Soviet Jews has begun to hurt Israeli citizens economically, while housing problems have panicked politicians, and strained Israel's budget [WP 7/30].

New York Times reveals for last 4 years, Israeli Foreign Ministry and Jerusalem radio studio have run covert program in which radio reporters were paid to report favorably on gov't.; Foreign Min. statement suspends relationship with radio because "some aspects of current arrangements might be misconstrued," adds there are no journalists on its payroll [NYT 7/30; WP, WT 7/31; IDF 7/30 in FBIS 7/31].

Housing Minister Ariel Sharon introduces to Knesset controversial 5-year $13.5 billion housing plan for Soviet Jews: gov't. to build 45,000 housing units this year and 60,000 in each of next 4 years; gov't. to buy 50,000 mobile homes and 40,000 prefabricated homes within 2 years. Action on proposal is delayed because of opposition from Finance Minister Yitzhak Modai [LAT, WT, MEM 7/30; JPI 8/11].

Israeli leaders are concerned-and King Hussein has recently stated he believes - that water is the only issue that could provoke conflict between Jordan and Israel; Jordanian minister Daoud Khalaf says Israel steals close to 59 billion cubic feet of water a year from Arab sources [WT 7/30].

Israeli police close 2 E. Jerusalem offices of the Institute of Arab Studies under directorship of Faisal Husayni and extend closure of 3d (closed since 7/ 88); offices are to remain closed for 1 year for "public welfare and public good" [JDS 7/29 in FBIS 7/30; MEM 7/30; FJ 8/6].

Israeli chief-of-staff Dan Shomron warns that Shiite fighting is of concern to Israel, which will not hesitate to intervene if it feels its security is threatened [AFP, JDS 7/29 in FBIS 7/30].