Ben Gurion Announces Govt. Planning to Draft Orthodox Women

The Israel Government intends to introduce in Parliament an amendment to the national compulsory service law withdrawing the right of Orthodox women to be exempted from compulsory service, Premier David Ben Gurion announced in the Knesset last night.

It was over this issue that Israel’s first coalition government fell last year. One of the conditions under which the present coalition was formed with the participation of the Religious Bloc parties was that the exemption on religious grounds would continue. Strenuous opposition to the amendment is expected from all religious parties.

Parliament also heard a complaint by Mapam deputy Israel Bar Yehuda against the government’s censorship policy. He specifically referred to censorship exercised in the report of the action of the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee on the issue of direct negotiations with Germany for reparations and in withholding for part of a day the news of the public hanging of the two Iraqi Jews in Baghdad Monday morning.

Premier David Ben Gurion, who replied for the government, said that the censorship of the Knesset committee’s action was a security requirement. On the Iraqi situation, he admitted that the report had been held up, but pointed out that the first news came from the Beirut Radio, whose accuracy the government could not check. However, he pointed out, when an authenticated report arrived later in the day the government released the news of the executions to the nation.

Meanwhile, it was learned that the Cabinet will soon consider a proposal to launch a “semi-compulsory” internal bond issue. It is understood that the measure would empower the government to float a 10,000,000-pound issue with all persons being forced to subscribe to it in accordance with their financial status.

The condition of Joseph Sprinzak, Acting President of Israel, who is in Beilinson Hospital, was today reported as improved. Doctors caring for him hope to be able to discharge him from the hospital in ten days.

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