TEL AVIV (Sep. 23)
David Ben Gurion, Israeli Premier, today announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the assassins of Count Folke Bernadotte.
The announcement coincided with a threatening letter received by each member of the Israeli Cabinet today, including Ben Gurion. The letter, signed “Fatherland Front,” read: “For what you did to us, for arrests and brutal action, you will be killed.” Previously, each member of the Cabinet was provided with firearms and guards.
Addressing the Israeli State Council today, Ben Gurion described the measures taken by the government to eradicate terrorism. He reported that 120 former members of the Stern Group were arrested in Jerusalem, while scores of Sternists were apprehended elsewhere. Their military bases were liquidated and arms and ammunition seized, the Premier revealed.
Ben Gurion said that the order issued by the government provided for the arrest of members of the Irgun only if they identified themselves with the Sternists. He added that none of the Irgunists so identified himself, and appealed to all Israelis to volunteer information which might lead to the capture of the assassins.
Premier Ben Gurion voiced his deepest sorrow over the murder of Bernadotte and condemned the assassination as a “low, dastardly crime committed by a criminal gang against the whole nation.” The Swedish people, he said, is a symbol of European culture, and the Jews will not forget that Sweden opened its gates to Jews escaping from death at the hands of the Nazis, while other nations did not.
“It is from that nation that Bernadotte came and it is here that a bullet hit him,” Ben Gurion said. He also eulogized the French U.N. observer, Col. Andre Serot, who was killed with Bernadotte. The Council stood for two minutes in silence, honoring the two assassinated U.N. officials.
While the State Council was in session, police authorities in Tel Aviv discovered a secret cache of Sternist stores, including radio equipment, penicillin and other medicaments worth several hundred thousand dollars. The supplies were all confiscated by the authorities.