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A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Company–Executive offices, Waco, Texas Bernard Rapoport, Pres. In 1955, President Nasser of Egypt announced his acceptance of Soviet weapons to strengthen his military forces against Israel. The following year, a second Arab-Israeli war ensued, and the Arabs were defeated. Thereafter, Soviet arms poured into Egypt and into Syria. Prime Minister Ben-Gurion in 1963 pressed in vain for a United States-Soviet guarantee of Israel’s frontiers. He subsequently requested a mutual defense accord between Israel and the United States. Although President Kennedy rejected such a pact, he did pledge U.S. economic and arms support in the event of Arab aggression. As the war clouds once again gathered, President Johnson said in May, 1967, that the United States was “firmly committed to the support of the political independence and territorial integrity of all nations in the area. The United States strongly opposes aggression by anyone in the area, in any form, overt or clandestine.” He also stated: “Israel will not be alone, unless it decides to go alone.” In June of that year, the third Arab-Israeli war took place. We all know that the Soviet Union has given determined political andto the extent that Soviet interests were servedmilitary support to the Arab states since 1955. It intends to maintain its presence in the Middle East. The Soviets had conspired with Syria in 1967 to urge Nasser into foolhardy adventurism prior to the June war. After that war, they continued to arm on a massive scale Egypt and Syria. From all appearances, they were cognizant of the coordinated surprise attack by Egypt and Syria upon Israel in October, 1973. Israel again prevailed in that fourth Arab-Israeli warand the United States, alone of the Western powers, maintained its commitment by providing the means for Israel’s survival. We all keep alive the hope that a true settlement may finally be achieved between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Secretary of State Kissinger’s efforts in the step-by-step negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors since the cease-fire in November, 1973, are to be commended. The fact that his most recent journey in March of this year did not result in achieving a further step in the direction of a permanent settlement should not cause a major revision of U.S. policy toward Israel. Secretary Kissinger declared in 1969 that the United States “will not negotiate over the survival of Israel.” He said: “This would be an act of such extraordinary cynicism that the world would be morally mortgaged if it ever happened. But it won’t happen.” When he returned from his trip to Egypt and Israel in March of this year, he said he did not think any administration would let Israel “go down the drain.” But he did say that the Israelis were questioning the durability of U.S. assurances. I strongly urge that there will be no erosion of America’s long-standing commitment to Israel. Israel is a real democracy that shares the basic principles, morality, and free way of life of the United ‘States. I consider that a strong Israel is an asset to the United States in this vital region. I cannot agree with those who state that our support for Israeleven though morally justifiablehas created a barrier between the United States and the Arab world. Evidence would suggest otherwise. The United States has not been barred from the Middle East as a result of the support for Israel by various administrations. In fact, the Arabs have realized that the United States is a factor and plays a leading role in any effort to achieve a just and lasting political settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Soviet Union continues to supply vast amounts of arms to the Arab states. The Arab states also are acquiring arms through a coordinated procurement program which had been worked out at the Rabat Conference last fall. They appear to have greater political unity than ever before. They possess the power oil embargo as a weapon. There are those who prefer to believe that American problems in the Middle East will simply evaporate if only the Arab-Israeli problem would disappear. I believe this to be an erroneous view. The Middle East is a Gordian Knot that must be untied, not cut. The forces of instability are endemic in the region and I can say, without reservation, that the existence of Israel has been a factor of stability and has precluded disintegration. The United States cannot turn its back on Israel merely because the situation is difficult and complex. We have considerable stakes in the Middle Easteconomic, strategic, and political. There is also a moral stake in the regionone which I value very highlyand that stake involves our commitment to Israel. It is a question of honor, as well as pragmatism. In the words of William Shakespeare: “If it be a sin to covet honor, Then I am the most offending soul alive!”