TEL AVIV (Feb. 28)
David Ben Gurion, former Premier of Israel, today left his place of retreat in the Negev and came to Tel Aviv to confer with Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon on problems of Israel’s security arising from the revolutions which took place in Egypt and Syria during the last few days. This was the first time that Mr. Ben Gurion left his home in Sdeh Boker to come to Tel Aviv since his retirement.
Last night Minister Lavon and leaders of Israel’s armed forces emphasized in public statements that the Israel Army is prepared to guard the borders of the country against any danger that might flare up as a result of the instability of the neighboring Arab countries.
The Defense Minister said that in the present unstable situation, adventurers among the Arab leaders might be encouraged to attempt to attack Israel. He underlined the fact that giving arms to such states is “like giving matches to pyromaniacs” and added that the Arab regimes were as unstables as “paper houses which collapse in the slightest breeze.”
The Arab League, Mr. Lavon declared, is only an “artificial name” which means nothing but hatred for foreigners and for Israel. The League has proved its inability to solve even internal Arab problems. He contrasted this situation with that in Israel where democracy exists and the “Premier nominates the Army Chief of Staff and not vice versa” as in the Arab countries.
NEW EGYPTIAN PREMIER SEEKS DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL
Besides outlining the army’s defense potentialities, Mr. Lavon asserted that its greatest task was in helping the integration of many youngsters and new immigrants into Israeli life. Through its pioneering corps, he said, the army was preparing thousands of farmers and settlers.
Gen. Moshe Dayan, Army Chief of Staff, told a public meeting that Col. Gamel Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian Army officer who unseated Gen. Naguib as Premier and who remains as Premier even with Naguib’s return to the Presidency, sought, among his various aims, the destruction of Israel. Gen. Dayan said that the Israel Army would take care to prevent the realization of Col. Nasser’s goal in this instance.
Presenting a quick review of the problems facing the Israel armed service, the Chief of Staff said that the army must re-equip itself, at a cost of millions of Israeli pounds. He stressed the fact that Israel gets no arms from any source unless it pays for them. He added that even if Israel could get arms grants, it would not accept them at the cost of its independence.
Col. Itzhak Rabin, chief of the Israel army training command, reported that the army’s major accomplishment in the past year was to train 15,000 new officers.
The palace revolt in Egypt and the Army revolution in Syria continue to be the chief topic of discussion here. While the Israel authorities continue watching events to the South and North closely, no special movements of Israel’s security forces have been reported. On the financial exchanges, the Israeli pound was reported to have made gains against dollars and gold following news of the two Arab revolts.
Among the Druzes settled in the north of Israel, there was rejoicing over the downfall of Col. Shishakly whose regime had employed repressive measures against the Jebel Druze and who had used bloody measures to suppress a Jebel Druze revolt only a few weeks ago. The Israeli Druze reported that Sultan Pasha al Altrash, Jebel Druze leader who took refuge in Jordan with 35 of his followers following suppression of their revolt, will now be able to return home to Syria.