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Shapira Condition ‘grave'; Ben Gurion, Meir, Carmel Hospitalized

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Moshe Shapira, Israel Minister of Religion, who suffered abdominal, chest and head wounds yesterday when a deranged immigrant threw a hand grenade at the ministerial bench in the Knesset, was reported by Hadassah Hospital tonight to be slightly improved but his condition was stated to be “still very serious.”

Mr. Shapira, 55, was the most severely injured of the five Cabinet ministers struck by grenade fragments. Fears that he would not be able to resume his duties in the Cabinet and as leader of the Religious National Party for some time to come were confirmed tonight when the party cabled Minister of Posts Joseph Burg, who is now in the United States, to return immediately. Dr. Burg is the party’s second member of the Cabinet.

(Dr. Burg disclosed in New York Wednesday that he had cancelled 22 addresses he was scheduled to make throughout the country for the Israel Bond drive and would leave for Israel Thursday afternoon in response to his party’s emergency call.)

Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, who was treated at the hospital last night for bomb splinters in his hand and was recalled to the hospital for further observation after having been released, will have to remain there for some days, it was indicated today, because of the condition of his hand.

Mrs. Golda Meir, the Foreign Minister, who spent the night at the hospital for observation after treatment for a leg injury, will be released tomorrow. The Minister of Transport, Moshe Carmel, who suffered a broken arm, will be detained until next week. The only wounded Cabinet member to escape hospitalization was Israel Barzilai, the Minister of Health. After first-aid treatment, he was able to attend the resumed session of the Knesset last night. The Premier, Mrs. Meir and Mr. Carmel all had to be absent from the Knesset this morning during the inaugural ceremonies for President Ben Zvi.

The Foreign Ministry reported receipt today of scores of messages of sympathy from all parts of the world, among them from Secretary of State Dulles and acting Foreign Minister Christian Pineau of France. Jewish organizations in many countries also cabled expressions of regret over the incident and relief that the assassination attempt had miscarried.

PREMIER WRITES FAMILY OF WOULD-BE ASSASSIN ABSOLVING THEM OF BLAME

From Hadassah Hospital today, Premier Ben Gurion wrote to the parents of Moshe Douek, the 25-year-old immigrant from Iraq, absolving them of any blame for their son’s act yesterday in throwing a hand grenade in the Israel Parliament. The letter was generally regarded as a precaution on Mr. Ben Gurion’s part against any misguided acts of revenge which might be directed against the deranged youth’s family.

“You are living in the State of Israel which is governed by right and justice,” the Premier wrote the Douek family. “I hope no harm of any kind will befall you and your children. I hope you will succeed in bringing up your other children to good deeds and a love of Israel.”

Young Douek, according to police, freely admitted hurling the hand grenade from the visitors’ gallery of the Knesset in an effort to wipe out the entire Cabinet and so to “avenge” himself for fancied wrongs. The police stated officially that there was no evidence of any political motive for the assassination attempt.

Police said Douek told them he had stolen the hand grenade from a soldier. They reported that Douek had suffered head injuries some years ago and had been considered mentally unbalanced ever since.

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