Ben Gurion Challenged by Cabinet Members on Sinai Campaign Issue
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Ben Gurion Challenged by Cabinet Members on Sinai Campaign Issue

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After a heated discussion in which present and former members of the Cabinet participated, Israel’s Parliament today adopted a resolution referring to Parliament’s Security and Foreign Affairs Committee the question as to whether there was any mishandling of state secrets in connection with the Sinai campaign of 1956.

Arieh Ben Eliezer, representing the Heruth Party, demanded the floor discussion. He recalled that Mr. Ben Gurion had several times reiterated a statement to the effect that even members of his 1956 Cabinet did not know of the planned Sinai campaign until two days before that campaign was launched.

The Ben Gurion statement had been challenged in public statements issued by Minister of the Interior Bar Yehuda and by Moshe Carmel, Minister of Communications and Transport both members of the left-wing Achdut Avoda Party who said publicly they were aware of the planned Sinai campaign 35 days before it had been started, declaring that Mr. Ben Gurion had told them of the plans. Mr. Carmel had added that he had been given a specific mission in connection with the campaign plans, and that he had carried out his mission.

In an unusual confrontation on the floor of Parliament, both Mr. Ben Gurion and Mr. Carmel announced that they stand by their respective public statements, and each insisted he was telling the truth. Joseph Burg, former Minister of Posts, introduced a resolution to refer the matter to the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee. Forty-one members voted for the resolution, while 27 members abstained.

Among the abstainers were Moshe Sharett, who was Foreign Minister until some months before the Sinai campaign; several other members of the dominant Mapai Party; and members of the coalition government who represent in the Cabinet the Mapam and Progressive parties. After the vote, Premier David Ben Gurion declared he will not reveal further details, nor will he amplify his statements, even before the committee.

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