TEL AVIV (Dec. 19)
Professor Martin Buber was presented last night with the Tel Aviv Municipality award for literature but not until after a sharp debate on his publicly expressed view that Adolf Eichmann’s death sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment.
Council members of the Herut party demanded that the prize should not be awarded to Prof. Buber. Joseph Sosiphoff of Herut said that Professor Buber had not denied a statement attributed to him that he would seek a revision of the death sentence imposed Friday on the former Gestapo colonel.
Acting Mayor E. Shechter opposed the motion and said that Prof. Buber, whom he described as “one of the greatest thinkers of our time,” had the right to express his opinion on any subject he chose. The Council approved the prize by a majority vote.
Professor Buber received the award for his book “Hidden Light.” The same prize was awarded to Mordechai Ben Yehezkel for his collection of Hassidic stories, “Sefer Hamassiot,” Book of Tales. Prof. Buber spoke briefly at the ceremony at which the awards were presented. He did not refer to capital punishment or to Eichmann.