Israel today presented to the United States a request for more than $3.5 billion in economic and military aid in fiscal 1987, approximately the same as the current level of assistance.
Finance Minister Yitzhak Modai handed the aid request to the U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering shortly before the arrival here of a team of U.S. investigators to question Israeli officials implicated in the Jonathan Jay Pollard spy case.
This year the United States is giving Israel $1.2 billion in economic aid and $1.8 billion in military aid, plus $750 million in emergency supplemental economic aid, for a total of $3.75 billion already paid in outright grants. Additionally, Congress has approved $750 million more in emergency economic assistance that is still to be paid.
Pickering said Israel has taken "painful steps" to revive the economy and control inflation, and he said economic aid is "an area in which the United States has done its part and will continue to."
The investigating team, headed by Abraham Sofaer, the State Department's legal adviser, is expected to be in Israel five days to question Israeli officials who have been linked to the Pollard case, including Rafael Eitan, a former operations chief of Israel's external intelligence agency, the Mossad. Eitan reportedly was the senior Israeli official involved in recruiting and controlling Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, in alleged espionage activities.
Sofaer and other U.S. investigators met tonight with Hanan Bar-On, deputy director of the Foreign Ministry, who returned from Washington last week after meeting with U.S. officials on the case.
The investigators are expected to examine documents allegedly stolen by Pollard and to question two Israeli diplomats who returned here immediately after Pollard's arrest in Washington. They are Ilan Ravid, a deputy science attache in the Israeli Embassy, and Yosef Yagur, a science aide in the Israeli Consulate in New York. Both have been reported to have been Pollard's contacts in the United States.