Ben Gurion Clashes with “dissident” Minister in Knesset on Arms Deal

Premier David Ben Gurion returned today from his vacation and participated in a general debate in Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, on the merit of Kol Isroel, the national broadcasting services. He spoke for more than an hour defending the service against charges that Kol Isroel was “subjective” to the pro-government Mapai Party. The Knesset voted to refer the issue to a special committee.

Premier Ben Gurion indicated his continued dissatisfaction at the presence of the four left-wing members of the Mapam and Achdut Avodah in his Cabinet by taking his seat in Knesset not at the Government table, but among the Mapai deputies. During his speech he did not miss the opportunity to lash out against the dissident left-wing members of his Cabinet for voting against Israel’s sale of arms to West Germany.

Transportation Minister Moshe Carmel, one of the four dissident Cabinet members, took the floor in Knesset to reply to the Premier’s charges. He said that when his party entered the coalition Cabinet, it made it a condition that while participating in the government, its members in the Cabinet were to maintain a free hand regarding questions concerning Germany.

Mr. Carmel rejected the Premier’s charges that the Mapam and Achdut Avodah members of the Cabinet had violated the collective responsibility pledge by their vote against the arms deal with West Germany. He asserted that they acted in good faith according to a resolution adopted unanimously in Knesset in November 1954 against Germany’s rearmament, and pointed out that this resolution was still valid and binding on the House.

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