Knesset Defeats Motions to Debate Halt of Arms Sale to Germany

Israel’s Parliament defeated today three motions to discuss an immediate halt of Israeli arms sales to West Germany.

Deputies of the Communist Party, Herut and Mapam referred to the West German bid for nuclear weapons and contended that the continued deliveries of Israeli submachine guns to West Germany “paved the way” for that country to obtain an atomic arsenal as well.

Yaacov Landau of Herut said that the Israeli weapons sales were a “certificate of moral rehabilitation” to West Germany. Mapam’s Israel Barzilai argued that the political significance of the arms sales were detrimental to Israel’s interests. Communist Shmuel Mikunis asserted that the arms sale policy “further isolated” Israel from the neutral states.

Replying briefly on behalf of the Government, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion recalled a previous Knesset discussion on the subject in which the opposition failed to prevail. His request that the motions be rejected as “insincere and unrealistic” was sustained only by a narrow majority because one coalition partner, Achdut Avoda, which fought the arms sale in the earlier debate to which the Prime Minister referred, abstained from the vote today.

The belief was indicated in the Knesset lobbies that the issue was revived to embarrass Achdut Avodah which joined with Mapam in a prior coalition to precipitate a Government crisis by refusing to support the Government on the issue but also refusing to resign.

Meanwhile, the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee of Israel’s Parliament called yesterday on all countries, their Governments and their Parliaments to make every effort to reach agreement on a ban on nuclear weapons testing under effective international controls. The unanimously adopted resolution was forwarded to the Secretariat of the Interparliamentary Union with a request that it be brought up to the attention of the Parliaments of the world.

The committee earlier discussed the problem of atomic testing in line with motions in the Knesset for a full-dress debate on the recent Soviet megaton weapons testing. The committee expressed full support for the unanimous resolutions approved at the fiftieth Interparliamentary Union conference in Brussels last September concerning the danger to human life and world peace involved in such weapons testing. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion attended the committee session and replied to questions raised by members of various parties.

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