JERUSALEM (Feb. 22)
Growing dissension within the Israel coalition cabinet over Israel’s foreign policy was foreseen today in an article by the diplomatic correspondent of the Jerusalem Post.
The correspondent reports that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Mapai, leading party in the coalition, to answer questions by its leftwing Socialist partners, the Mapam and Achdut Avodah, why the government has not asked the Eastern European states for arms in view of United States reluctance to supply Israel with defensive weapons. The Mapam and Achdut Avodah believe that such a request by Israel would prove whether or not the Czech-Egyptian arms deal was meant as a hostile act against Israel.
There is a theory current, the diplomatic correspondent says, that some Western quarters would not altogether object to a deal between Israel and the Communist bloc states which would tend to show that the Soviet Union is also a friend of Israel. This, the correspondent concludes, “is a degree of Machiavellianism that will not easily gain credence.”
Meanwhile, Premier David Ben Gurion called yesterday for 150,000 volunteers, members of the Histadrut, to give up six working days of their vacation for building fortifications along the borders. He stressed the urgent need for a million man-days to build shelters and fortified points along the borders and in the new immigrant settlements established nearby.
The Premier, speaking to an emergency meeting of Histadrut and labor council leaders, announced his decision to draft Druze into the army. This decision followed requests by Druze chieftains that their men be taken into the Israeli Army on a basis of equality and that they be accepted as fully equal citizens in all respects. The Druze live along the Lebanese and Syrian frontiers where military requirements have restricted civilian movement.