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In September 1986, the Israeli defense minister explained to a press conference what was behind a raft of scandals involving Israeli arms exports and technology thefts (these last, most frequently from the U.
S., have been an inevitable hallmark of a small country attempting to sustain a full-scale armaments industry). We cut our orders in our military industries..." he said, "and I told them quite frankly: 'Either you'll fire people or find export markets.' The export markets open to Israel are frequently among the world's most unsavory; indeed, to be off limits to the superpowers they often are located inside the very gates of hell.
2 5 bi llion ■ "'^ Since 1982 Israel has been ranked among the world's top ten arms producers.''' The importance to the overall economy of the arms manufacturing sector also increased, with weapons exports estimated to have comprised 3 1 percent of industrial exports in 1975, up from 14 percent in 1967'^ and more recently 30 to 40 percent of Israel's industrial output.'* The arms industry employs "anywhere from 58,000 to as many as 1 20,000 Israelis," or, taking the lower figure, 20 percent of the industrial labor force,'' with the biggest unit, Israel Aircraft Industries, the nation's largest employer, carrying 20,000 on its payroll.'^ The export imperative, in turn, brought its own set of problems, these centering on the overseas markets available to Israel and on its choice of customers from that list.
Already under international censure for its oppression of the Palestinians in the territories it occupies, Israel's dealings with the scum of the world's tyrants — including the white clique in South Africa, Somoza of Nicaragua, Gen.
Pinochet of Chile, Marcos of the Philippines, Duvalier of Haiti, Mobutu of Zaire, the allegedly cannibalistic Bokassa of the Central African Republic'^ — invariably result in its further exclusion from more "respectable" circles.
While all of the administrations since Eisenhower were obliging to one degree or another, the Reagan Administration seems to have made Israel the object of cult worship.
It is known that the President subscribes to the superstition propounded by right-wing Christian fundamentalists that Introduction 1 1 Israel will be the site of the battle of Armageddon which precedes the end of times.*' To help Israel prepare for more immediate battles, the Reagan Administration has increased its military and economic aid to the highest levels ever.