MIDDLE EAST: Phantoms and Bargains

One English word that both Arabs and Israelis instantly recognize is "Phantom." Meaning not ghost or specter, but the U.S.-built F-4 fighter-bomber, which has been the backbone of Israel's clearly superior air force since 1969. Considering the importance of the planes, Israelis should have been happier—and Arabs more furious —than they were after it was announced at year's end that the U.S. was prepared to resume shipment of F-4s to Israel.

During her visit to the White House last month, Israeli Premier Golda Meir bluntly asked President Nixon to sell her the 50...

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