JERUSALEM (May. 19)
With the United Nations Security Council scheduled to start discussion tomorrow on the Suez Canal issue, to be followed later this week by discussions of Syria’s complaint against Israel’s erection of a bridge in the Huleh demilitarized zone, the Israel Cabinet today took up these matters. It heard a report by Foreign Minister Gold Meir.
The Cabinet meeting today also discussed the joint American Israel statement on the “Eisenhower Doctrine” which is to be issued as a result of the visit here of James P. Richard, President Eisenhower’s special ambassador. The text of the statement is now being prepared.
Foreign Ministry officials, meanwhile, refused to discuss any aspect of a “test” ship attempting to pass the Suez Canal. They did hint, however, that no ship would be sent through the waterway pending clarification in the Security Council debate which starts tomorrow. Israel considers herself covered by the “six principles” for operation laid down for the canal’s operation by the Council last October and which France now charges were violated by Egypt. It is for this reason that Israel has not requested a voice in the Council debate, it was indicated.
The Israel-chartered Norwegian freighter Mars which left Haifa this week-end will not be routed through the canal in line with Israel’s policy to let the Security Council make an attempt to solve the problem. It was stated quite frankly last week by Foreign Ministry circles that there was a likelihood that the ship would be routed through the canal, although Israel did not consider her a “test” vessel since she did not fly the Israel flag.
In another action, the Cabinet today agreed to appoint a special committee to study expansion of the current national insurance program to cover more Israelis and to offer those already under its protection additional benefits in the form of health insurance.