JERUSALEM (Feb. 16)
Premier David Ben Gurion today told the Israel Parliament that the Israel Government “rejects with all the emphasis at its command” the allegation made by the Soviet Government that the bombing of the Soviet Legation in Tel Aviv took place with the connivance of Israel police.
Speaking in a crowded and heavily guarded chamber, the Premier pointed out that numerous attacks have taken place of Soviet diplomats in foreign countries as well as on foreign diplomats in the Soviet Union, nevertheless the Moscow government did not break off diplomatic relations in retaliation of these acts as was the case now with regard to Israel.
The Israel Government, Premier Ben Gurion said, learned of the Soviet decision to break off relations “with amazement and grave concern.” It could find no justification for this “astonishing step” since the reasons for the severance of relations indicated in the Soviet note “have no basis in fact and the practice of the Soviet Union itself in international affairs is not in keeping with them.”
Mr. Ben Gurion, in his statement to the Parliament, emphasized that the Israel Foreign Ministry had offered police guard for the Soviet Legation some time ago but the offer was rejected by the Legation. He noted that not even the Soviet police were always able to prevent crimes and referred to the murder of a foreign ambassador in Moscow for which the Soviet Government did not blame the police.
SAYS MOSCOW IS CONDUCTING DEFAMATORY CAMPAIGN AGAINST ISRAEL
“To our regret,” Mr. Ben Gurion declared, “we can not help seeing in the note delivered by the Soviet Government to our Minister in Moscow one more step in the campaign of defamatory propaganda against the State of Israel, the Zionist movement and world Jewry – a campaign which has been proceeding for a long time in the Moscow press and which became an official campaign of hostility during the Slansky trial in Prague and in slandering allegations published in Moscow.”
The Premier emphasized that while the Israel Government “will maintain a firm and resolute stand against the: flood of slanders and hostility against Jewry, Zionism and the State of Israel,” it is prepared in the future “to cooperate with any country in the world which is loyal to international peace, no matter what its internal regime may be.” At the same time, he said, Israel is prepared to defend “as the apple of its eye” its democratic regime and its Zionist mission.
The Premier concluded his statement with a warning that the Israel Government will “resolutely suppress” any manufacture or carrying of bombs and any attempt at burning bookshops, or forcible interference with freedom of speech in the same way as it will suppress any injury to the security of the state or any support to anti-Jewish incitement “in any form whatsoever,” or collaboration with enemies of Israel and the Jewish people.