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Ben Gurion Defends His Stand on Seeking Diplomatic Relations with Germany

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The Israel Parliament rejected today, by a vote of 41 to 16, a Herut motion to debate a proposed establishment of diplomatic relations with West Germany, after Premier David Ben Gurion advised the Knesset to look to the needs of the future, not the sufferings of the past.

The motion was introduced by rightist deputy Esther Raziel-Naor who scored the Premier for a statement to foreign correspondents that diplomatic relations should be established between the two states. Mr. Ben Gurion replied that his statements to the newsmen were made in his private capacity, not speaking for the government.

However, he insisted that the Germany of today is not the same country as that of the Nazi regime. He pointed out that despite the skeptics, Bonn had scrupulously observed its reparations agreements both with respect to Israel and to the Jews in general. Germany is fulfilling an important role in a united Europe, he pointed out, and Israel must look forward to establishing relations with that entire region, particularly since the Jewish State is planning to embark on gigantic projects which are well beyond the strength of Israel and world Jewry alone.

Mr. Ben Gurion warned that it was “not healthy” for Israel to depend solely on aid from the United States, although both political and economic ties with the U.S. will grow deeper. Mrs. Naor reminded the Premier that when the original decision to accept the reparations pact was passed in the Knesset by a mere three vote margin five years ago, its supporters–including members of the present government–had stated that diplomatic relations with Bonn were not envisioned. She declared that a decision of such momentous import must first be brought to the Knesset.

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