JERUSALEM (Oct. 18)
The findings of the Cohen commission into the circumstances surrounding the 1955 resignation of Pinhas Lavon as Defense Minister were submitted today to Attorney General Gideon Hausner by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion for an opinion and possible action. The results of the probe remained undisclosed.
Supreme Court Justice Haim Cohen and two senior Army officers conducted a closed investigation into charges that forged documents figured in an inquiry in 1955 on security issues which led to the resignation by Lavon, now secretary general of the Histadrut, Israel’s Labor Federation.
A separate inquiry was meanwhile still underway by the Committee for Security and Foreign Affairs of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. The committee yesterday heard Moshe Sharett, who was then the Premier. On Thursday it will hear Shimon Peres, then director-general of the Defense Ministry and now Deputy Defense Minister.
A third area was a meeting of the secretariat of the Mapai, of which the key figures in the controversy are members, to discuss the situation. Mapai leaders were reportedly disturbed by the fact that the debate was developing into a situation of Lavon versus Ben-Gurion. The Prime Minister took part in the Mapai secretariat meeting but Lavon said he had a medical examination and could not attend.
It was indicated that the findings of the Cohen commission might lead to prosecutions by the Attorney General and thus achieve the “rehabilitation” which Lavon has demanded since the controversy was revived. Lavon has contended he was forced out of the Defense Ministry under circumstances which made it impossible for him to present his side of the dispute.
Mr. Sharett has refused to reveal the nature of his testimony to the Knesset committee. It was learned, however, that he had confirmed some of Lavon’s assertions but that, on most questions, he was not decisive and frequently testified that he could not remember what happened at the time.