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Knesset Rejects Motion to Abolish Military Rule in Arab Areas

Israel’s Parliament, rejected today a motion to abolish military government in the country’s Arab sections after Prime Minister David Ben Gurion intimated that defection within his coalition government on the issue would lead to a fall of his government and force new elections. The vote was 50 to 26 with 23 abstentions.

The motion was introduced by the Liberal party’s Pinhas Rosen. It did not mention the present military rule, merely proposing new Israeli legislation amending British mandatory regulations of the pre-state period of 1945 from which the military rule was derived.

Dr, Rosen, who last February sustained a narrow 58 to 55 defeat in the Knesset in a previous fight for cancelation of the military rule, said today that the vote then was an “unclear majority. ” He alluded to a coalition agreement which gave the Agudat Israel party a deputy minister in the Cabinet and promise of a larger budget for its educational system in return for a pledge of continued Agudat Israel support of military rule.

He added that two Arab deputies who “unnaturally” voted against cancelation had done so under pressure in a “temporary show of weakness. ” He said they would undoubtedly vote otherwise in another balloting.

Achdut Avodah, a coalition party, abstained under an agreement permitting it not to support the Government on this issue. A spokesman told the Knesset that it would continue all efforts to effect cancelation at “the appropriate time. ” He added that the Rosen motion was “insincere” and a ruse to embarrass the “Government.

The Herut party abstained on grounds that the motion would change “hated British repressive laws” under an Israeli guise. A spokesman said that the party would support an outright proposal to rescind military rule which it considers unessential and harmful to Arab and Israeli interests.

The Prime Minister took angry issue with Dr. Rosen, a former Justice Minister, calling the motion most untimely in view of current intra-Arab squabbles. He said the motion was designed to reintroduce the issue through a “back door, ” and called it an undignified maneuver.

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