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Israel Coalition, Mapai Party Reported Split Widely on Lavon Issue

The six-to-five vote in the Israel Cabinet, Sunday, to publish the opinion of the Attorney General on the Cohn Committee report in the Lavon Affair, cut across party lines, according to the Jerusalem Post. Four Mapai Party members of the Cabinet voted for publication of the report, and two opposed publication. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and two other members of the Cabinet abstained on the issue.

Attorney General Gideon Hausner’s report was published in the Israeli press yesterday but, so far, foreign correspondents stationed here have not been permitted by the censorship to transmit dispatches reporting its contents. Objections to publication were reportedly based on indications that there would be further investigations into the developments that forced the removal of Pinhas Lavon as Minister of Defense in 1955. Lavon, now secretary-general of Histadrut, the Israel Federation of Labor, charged that he had been the victim of a plot by certain Army officers, and that forged documents and perjured testimony had been used to force his resignation.

The case has split Israel politically from top to bottom. In Mapai, the split has followed the lines of the cleavage between the veterans and the “young guard” headed by Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres, who is a central figure in the case. Peres was director-general of the Defense Ministry when Lavon held the portfolio. Lavon’s demand for the dismissal of Peres led to his own resignation. Peres testified for two and a half hours Sunday before the Knesset Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, which is seeking to investigate the affair.

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