Ben Gurion to Address 10,000 Youths Today; Issue Raised in Knesset
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Ben Gurion to Address 10,000 Youths Today; Issue Raised in Knesset

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The Knesset this morning in seven successive votes turned down a demand by representatives of three parties that a youth rally in Tel Aviv tomorrow at which the sole speaker will be former Premier David Ben Gurion be discussed in Parliament.

The rally, at which some 10,000 youths between the ages of 15 and 17 will be gathered, was scheduled by the Ministry of Education, which is also providing transportation to bring many of the youths from various parts of the country to the meeting. The parties which demanded the debate interpreted this rally as an attempt by the Mapai Party, of which Education Minister Prof. Ben Zion Dinur is a leader, to capture the political loyalty of the youths.

The resolutions demanding a debate were proposed by right-wing Herut and leftwing Mapam deputies and supported by the General Zionists, second most important party in the government coalition. All, including a compromise by the General Zionists to refer the matter to a Parliamentary committee, were defeated by a one vote margin. The Mapai cast 35 votes, the three opposition groups–joined by several religious bloc deputies–mustered 34, and the Progressives and remaining Orthodox deputies abstained.

During the discussion which preceded the vote, the Minister of Education rejected all criticism of his action, asserting that he had full responsibility and authority to hold such rallies and to invite such speakers as he deemed appropriate. In this he was supported by Premier Moshe Sharett who urged the Knesset to drop the matter since it interfered with the constitutional rights of the Ministry of Education. The deputies, however, rejected this advice and proceeded with the vote.

Mr. Ben Gurion is scheduled to address the rally for 90 minutes. His speech is expected to cover what he believes to be the three major tasks facing Israeli youth: settlement in border regions, integration of the newcomers and living up to a moral code.

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