Knesset to Discuss German Reparations Today; Tension Mounts

All eyes in Israel will be directed toward Parliament tomorrow when the Ben Gurion government submits its request for authorization to enter into direct negotiations with Germany on Israel’s claims for $1,500,000,000 in reparations.

Police were making preparations today to deal with possible disturbances here and in other cities tomorrow as tension mounted throughout the country. The rightwing Herut has called a public protest meeting here even before the Knesset convenes, and yesterday it urged that work stoppages be held as a method of demonstrating opposition to the government’s intention of dealing directly with the Germans. Beside the right-wing party, the centrist General Zionists and the leftist Communists and Mapam Party have indicated their vigorous opposition to the government’s proposal.

All parties were today feverishly preparing their positions at tomorrow’s session of Parliament. The Agudas Israel and Poale Agudas Israel, both of which are members of the government coalition, have not yet decided whether they will support the government on this question, as they are pledged to do as members of the Cabinet, despite their opposition to the Ben Gurion line. Their decision is expected to be announced after a meeting tomorrow morning of representatives of parties in the coalition. It is expected that the government will be upheld, but by a very narrow margin.

Meetings protesting the proposed Israel-Germany negotiations on reparations marked the Sabbath throughout Israel yesterday. Thousands attended a Herut meeting in Tel Aviv called by Menschem Beigin. The Herut leader urged a “march on Jerusalem” to demonstrate against negotiations with Germany and warned that a decision approving the negotiations would deepen Israel’s internal conflicts.

Meanwhile, Itzhak Greenbaum and Zivia Lubotkin, former members of the Polish and Russian underground movements, respectively, addressed a protest meeting called by the Mapam and emphasized that any negotiations with Germany would “desecrate the memory of the 6,000,000 Jews murdered by the Nazis.” They voiced the belief that the proposed negotiations “are the first step towards recognition of the Bonn Government.”

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