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Israel could replace government fleet with cars from Detroit 3

by Candice Miller on May 24, 2011

WASHINGTON — An influential Israeli think tank is planning to recommend that its government begin replacing its fleet of 50,000 government-owned vehicles with U.S. brands to improve the relationship between the nations.
News of the recommendation, which will be made formally early next month, comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads to Capitol Hill today to address a joint session of Congress.
Tensions have increased between Israel and the U.S. since President Barack Obama called for Middle East peace negotiations based on Israel’s 1967 borders — before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
The Jewish People Policy Institute, or JPPI, will make the recommendation to the Israeli cabinet.
JPPI’s president, Avinoam Bar-Yosef, told the Free Press on Monday that Israel’s government vehicles are mostly brands made by Japanese, German and eastern European companies. Switching Israel’s fleet over to vehicles from Ford, GM and Chrysler would “be a strong symbol to show that we care about the U.S. economy.”
GM sold only 12,000 vehicles in Israel last year.
“It’s the kind of signal that you send to the American people, and the administration, that we’re with you. That we want to help you and your industries succeed,” Bar-Yosef said. “We believe it would have an impact. And it doesn’t have to stop with cars.”
 U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., said she strongly supports the idea, calling it “the right recommendation for all the right reasons.”
“There is reciprocity in all relationships, and I think it would be a very good move,” Miller said. “I would hope the Israeli government adopts it.”
Jonathan Peled, a spokesman for the Israeli embassy, said tension between the nations likely wouldn’t influence a decision on the government’s vehicle-purchase policy.

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