JERUSALEM (Jul. 15)
A government committee named to investigate the July 9 rioting in a slum quarter in Haifa, in which 11 policemen and an unknown number of North African immigrants were injured, will be enlarged from three to five members.
The enlargement was ordered last night in Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, by a vote of 67 to 13. The vote followed debate in which opposition parties failed in efforts to have the investigation turned over to a Parliamentary committee. They contended the Government must bear responsibility for the conditions which led to the day-long rioting, in which the immigrants wrecked numerous shops and set fire to parked cars.
Most of the debaters expressed the opinion that the social and economic conditions of the residents in the Islum section were responsible for the rioting and they advocated a rise in the living standards of the North African immigrants as the only way to rid them of their feeling that they were the victims of discrimination.
Opposition members asserted that Prime Minister David Ben Gurion had “aggravated” the situation by declaring in a Knesset address last December that Oriental Jews in Israel–”everything else being equal”–should be given priority for jobs in Government, for promotions in the armed forces and also in Cabinet posts. They also contended that another such aggravation was the Prime Minister’s choice of Rabbi Jacob M. Toledano as the Minister of Religious Affairs, the first Sephardic Jew to hold the post.
David Hacohen, a Mapai deputy, urged the deputies “not to lose perspective.” He contended that the rioters were drunkards and habitual troublemakers and that the “discrimination bogey” was not as widespread as claimed.
MOSCOW USES HAIFA RIOTS AS PROPAGANDA AGAINST ISRAEL
The Soviet press and radio are giving extensive play to the rioting and demonstrations of North African settlers in Israel, according to reports received here. The Soviet news agency Tass alleged that “mass demonstrations were sweeping across Israel in protest against unemployment and discriminatory measures by the Israeli authorities against arrivals from North Africa.”
The Soviet home service is broadcasting commentaries which also attack Israel for its arms deal with West Germany. According to the Moscow version, Israel made the deal because of the alleged NATO connections of “Tel Aviv’s ruling circles.” The Soviet propaganda alleges that “no step can be taken in Israel without the agreement of American advisers, experts, and consultants.”