JERUSALEM (Feb. 24)
A motion of no-confidence in Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s coalition Government was introduced today by the right-wing Herut party in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, and defeated by a vote of 58 to 16 with 13 abstentions. All of the 16 votes were by Herut deputies.
The motion charged the Prime Minister with giving moral justification to Arab infiltrators and to the harboring of infiltrators by Israel Arabs. The charge was based on some remarks by the Prime Minister during the debate Monday on motions by Herut, the General Zionists and the Communists to abolish military government in Arab-populated border areas. The motions were defeated.
In the debate preceding the vote Monday, the Prime Minister said he understood “the human point of view” which motivated Israel Arabs to give refuge to infiltrators. He said that if he were such an Arab, “perhaps in his place I would do the same thing. “
Menachem Beigin, Herut leader, charged today in the Knesset that Mr. Ben-Gurion’s statement on Monday was “an invitation” to Israel’s 200,000 Arabs to support infiltrators and also “irresponsible remarks which threatened the security and future of the state.” He added that if similar statements had been made by President Eisenhower, British Premier Macmillan or Soviet Premier Khrushchev, they would have created a “storm” in the Knesset from all parts of the House.
In a forceful reply, the Prime Minister said that it was only by understanding the motives of the infiltrators and of those who harbored them that the gravity of the situation could be gauged properly. The Prime Minister added that he also understood Nasser’s feelings and that was why he had organized an army and Israel’s defense. “It is because I also understand the feelings of Arab rulers that I did not rely only on international law, ” he said. “I knew that the Arabs were ready to break that law. “
He added that if he met President Eisenhower or Premier Macmillan, he would tell them that he understood why “a certain power” was supplying President Nasser of the United Arab Republic with arms and why Nasser wanted to use these arms “in a certain way.” He said he could explain to them that such supplies were a “very grave matter” and that it was therefore necessary to act to preserve international law, which, he declared, meant strengthening Israel enough to deter the Arabs from attacking Israel.