Ben Gurion Warns Syria; Says Soviet Arms Don’t Frighten Israel

Israel ardently wants peace but is very well able to fight back despite the continuing flow of Soviet arms to Syria, Premier David Ben Gurion told Parliament today in fighting off a Herut challenge to his security policy. A Herut demand for a formal debate was turned down 51 to 2.

The army has its instructions, he said, and if the situation worsens along the Syrian border, whether as a result of internal Syrian problems or because of the Soviet arms flow, the Israel army’s instructions will be changed. He denied allegations by Herut leader Jacob Meridor that the Israeli withdrawal in the Gaza Strip resulted in last week’s clash between Israeli and Syrian troops in which Israel lost one dead and ten wounded.

The United Nations move along the Israel-Syrian border was temporary, the Premier asserted. It has been learned that only five observers have been added to the regular truce teams in the demilitarized zone.

A Communist demand that military rule be abolished in all Arab areas of Israel was met with a review of the recent relaxation of restrictions on Arab movements in most of Israel. Unfortunately, the Premier continued, the situation still demands continuation of some restrictions.

To further criticism of a policy which drafted Druze into the Israel army but rejected Arab citizens, the Premier noted that the Israel army will never be called on to fight the American, French or British forces, but may be called on to fight its neighbors. It would be tragic, he underlined, to expose Israeli Arabs to the prospect of fighting their fellow Arabs.

NEXT STORY