JERUSALEM (Jan. 8)
President Ben Zvi today received Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and members of his reconstituted coalition amid indications that many of the issues which led to the downfall of the prior Government remained unresolved. The reestablished Cabinet was approved last night in Parliament by a 76 to 33 vote.
The Premier introduced 14 of the 15 Cabinet ministers and President Ben Zvi wished the new Cabinet a “long life. ” He expressed hope for a speedy return to his desk of Moshe Shapiro, Minister of Religious Affairs and Social Welfare, who was still recuperating from injuries he suffered November 20 when a madman’s grenade exploded in the Knesset.
The new Government will hold its first meeting Sunday when Premier Ben Gurion is expected to raise the issue of the demonstrative abstention from Parliament of Gershon Shocken, Progressive deputy and publisher of Israel’s largest daily, Haaretz. Although his party remains in the reconstituted coalition, Mr. Shocken walked out of the Knesset last night before the vote of approval for the new Government was taken. His action was in protest against a bill projected by the Premier to punish newspapers for publishing reports on secret Cabinet decisions. Premier Ben Gurion is expected to take the position that Mr. Schocken’s action violated the agreement on which the coalition was renewed.
In the debate prior to the vote of approval in the Knesset, three of the five coalition parties indicated strong reservations about the conditions which the Premier, in his speech of presentation to Knesset, said had been accepted by all parties as the platform for the renewed condition.
PARTIES WITHIN CABINET ACCEPT BEN GURION’S STAND WITH RESERVATIONS
A spokesman for the Religious Bloc, Yitzhak Raphael, declared in the Knesset debate that his party would not be bound by the Ben Gurion doctrine of collective responsibility in matters contrary to the laws of the Torah.
Yigal Alon, speaking for Achdut Avodah, the left-wing party which touched off the recent crisis by publishing details of a secret Cabinet decision to send an emissary to West Germany on an arms-buying mission, also expressed reservations about the terms of the new Cabinet platform. Mr. Alon argued that such a grave issue as the relationship between the Jewish and the German people should not be discussed casually but should rather be deliberated “calmly and profoundly.”
Yaakov Hazan, speaking for Mapam, the coalition’s other left-wing member party, said that while Mapam still favored receiving armaments from any source, the party also continued to oppose making such a stand the basis for a military pact with any bloc or any nation in any bloc.
In his concluding remarks before the Knesset, Mr. Ben Gurion justified his disclosure of the purpose of the German mission, a disclosure which had been sharply criticized by Menahem Beigin, leader of the right-wing Herut which is in the Opposition.
The Prime Minister asserted that assumptions of the failure of the mission to West Germany were premature. He declared that the Cabinet crisis had achieved two things, a reaffirmation of Cabinet collective responsibility and guarantees of the secrecy of Cabinet discussions. He said he had had to demonstrate that “sabotage,” perhaps inadvertent, on such a vital security issue as seeking arms from West Germany, could not go unchallenged.