JERUSALEM (Oct. 14)
Rumors that David Ben Gurion intends to take a long leave of absence as Prime Minister of Israel were published in the press here today, causing much speculation.
The Davar, leading pro-government newspaper, in an editorial today reproaches the editors of other newspapers for reporting the rumors in a sensational manner, The paper points out that even were there any truth in these rumors, such a delicate matter should be handled with maximum caution.
“Suppose it is true that the Prime Minister intends to interrupt his political activity for a year or two?” the editorial says. “Suppose he has psychological and physical reasons–fatigue after six years of over-strenuous work–why should the press make such a fuss?”
The Davar appeals to the Israelis to avoid public discussions until a final clarification of the situation is available. Everybody should be interested in solving such a serious question without added complication, the paper emphasizes.
MAY SETTLE IN NEGEV TO DIRECT DEVELOPMENT, REPORTS SAY
The evening paper “Maariv” and the Agudah Laborite organ “Sharim,” reporting the rumors about Mr. Ben Gurion, added that after his retirement, the Prime Minister intends to settle for a long period in the Negev and dedicate himself primarily to the development of that section of the country – where oil prospecting is being conducted and in whose mineral possibilities Israel is pinning great hopes.
Some newspapers today stated that the Mapai, Israel’s Labor Party, of which Mr. Ben Gurion is the leader, is already discussing the question of a successor who will be acceptable as Premier to the other parties in the government coalition.
General Zionist sources indicated that the General Zionist members of the Cabinet intend to press Mr. Ben Gurion for a confirmation or denial of the press reports. They made it clear that should he confirm the reports about his alleged intention to seek a long leave of absence, the General Zionists will ask him to state what he intends to do about the Cabinet, since his long absence would disturb the present equilibrium in the coalition government.
The General Zionists, who have four members in the Cabinet, indicated that in their opinion, a long absence by the Prime Minister would be “politically unhealthy and Constitutionally irregular.”