Israel Cabinet Votes to Reject Soblen’s Application for Visa

Israel’s Cabinet voted unanimously today to recommend that the Interior Ministry reject an application by Dr. Robert A.Soblen, the psychiatrist convicted of espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union in the United States, for a visa which would have permitted him to enter Israel under the Law of Return.

The issue was brought before the Cabinet by Minister of the Interior Moshe Haim Shapiro. An application for an immigrant visa under the Law of Return had been filed by the convicted doctor’s Israeli attorney, Arieh Ankorion. The Cabinet held that the Law of Return does not apply to a man with a record like Dr. Soblen’s.

Mr. Ankorion is expected now to take the matter to the Israel Supreme Court. He will seek either an order instructing the Government to show cause why it should not permit Dr. Soblen’s entry, or he will request a High Court writ to enable Dr. Soblen to enter Israel provisionally.

At the same time, the Cabinet set up a Ministerial committee to inquire into the circumstances surrounding Dr. Soblen’s expulsion from this country, after he had come here on a false passport. Among the topics to be probed are the fact that an American Government agent was on hand at Lydda Airport when Dr. Soblen was put on an El Al Airlines plane and expelled from the country. Another point for probing is the fact that both Mr. Shapiro and Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had stated publicly that they did not know an American Government agent was involved in the expulsion.

The formation of the Ministerial Committee was voted by the Cabinet last week, but Mr. Shapiro gave notice he would not serve on such a committee unless the Foreign Minister, Mrs. Golda Meir, were included among the members of the Committee. He contended that the Foreign Ministry must assume responsibility for the American agent’s presence at the airport, and for escorting Dr. Soblen on the flight from this country toward Athens and London.

Mr. Shapiro emphasized that the American agent’s presence during the expulsion made the act, in fact, an extradition, although there is no extradition treaty between Israel and the United States. Critics of the Government, on this issue, have made the same claim.

The Ministerial committee appointed today, included Mr. Shapiro, Mrs. Meir, Minister of Police Behor Shitreet, Minister of Justice Dov Joseph and the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mosbe Carmel.

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