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30,000 Israel War Veterans, Including Ben Gurion, Get Haganah Decoration

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The Haganahbon, a decoration which will be awarded to some 30, 000 veterans of Israel’s War of Independence, was presented today to President Itzhak Ben Zvi and to Prime Minister David Ben Gurion at ceremonies at the President’s office. The ribbons were presented to the two Israel leaders by Brig. Yaakov Dori, former commander of the Haganah, the Jewish underground army, and first chief of staff of the Israel Army of Defense.

The presentation this morning was a forerunner of ceremonies here at Jerusalem Stadium this afternoon and throughout the country at which the former underground fighters will be honored. Mrs. Ben Zvi, who was to have received her ribbon this morning, deferred its acceptance until the afternoon ceremony when she could receive it among the ranks of her colleagues who participated in the defense of Jerusalem. Premier Ben Gurion will pin the decorations on 75 Haganah commanders and survivors of those who fell in action.

Moshe Sneh, one-time Haganah commander who is now a Communist member of the Knesset, was not invited to attend the ceremony today since Mr. Ben Gurion had refused to pin the ribbon on him. He will receive his award by mail. The Herut Knesset faction rejected an invitation to attend today’s ceremonies, charging “blood discrimination” between the Haganah on one side and the Irgun Zvai Leumi and Stern groups on the other.

HERUT OBJECTS TO HAGANAH BEING SINGLED OUT FOR DECORATIONS

In a letter to the Ministry of Defense, the Herut group said that it was proper for members of the Haganah to receive decorations from the Haganah organization, but it warned that if the Defense Ministry singled out the Haganah as one of the three underground organizations which fought for Israel’s independence, it created questions about service with the two other groups.

The Herut deputies said they could not approve the fact that a State body granted decorations to the members of only one of the organizations and no decorations to the members of the others who had also shed blood for the liberation of the State.

Prof. Eri Jabotinsky, son of the late Vladimir Jabotinsky, the famed Zionist leader, rejected an invitation to accept the posthumous award to his father. He cited grounds similar to those of the Herut and added another reason that “the Government has not found it necessary to transfer his father’s remains to Israel as requested in his will.”

Meanwhile, it was learned, that following a B’nai B’rith decision in this respect, a special delegation was received by President Ben Zvi, requesting the President to use his good offices to induce the Government to act to transfer Jabotinsky’s remains to Israel.

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