Knesset Rejects Motions to Debate Visit of Germany’s Ex-minister
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Knesset Rejects Motions to Debate Visit of Germany’s Ex-minister

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Three motions calling for full-scale debate of the Government’s invitation to former West German Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss to visit Israel were defeated in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, here today.

The motions were beaten by votes of 47-30, with nine abstentions, after Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, as spokesman for the Government, requested their rejection. He asserted that the only criterion to be applied is whether the visit–scheduled to start next Sunday–“will help Israel in its need to obtain support for its security.”

The motions, placed by the Knesset presidium on the immediate agenda because of their urgency, had been introduced by Menahem Beigin for the Herut party, by Israel Barzilai for Mapam, and by Shmuel Mikunis, of the Communist party. These three parties voted for a full-scale debate, while the Ahdut Avodah, which is a member of the Government coalition, and the Liberal party abstained.

Each of the opponents of the proposed Strauss visit insisted that the invitation extended to him violated a decision taken by the Knesset last March, when it voted unanimously that the German Government is responsible for the work being done in Cairo now by German scientists engaged in the development of nonconventional weapons intended for use against Israel.


Mr. Beigin told the House that Dr. Strauss should cancel his projected visit to Israel “as a humanitarian duty.” He said Dr. Strauss, as Bonn’s Minister of Defense, knew about the German scientists and technicians who went to Egypt, and said “Strauss knows that his visit will create deep controversy both in Israel and among Jewry, and cause great injury to the people in Israel, whether a majority or a minority.”

Mr. Mikunis described the Strauss visit as “an irritant to the Soviet Union,” asking how the Strauss invitation squared with the recent assertion by Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, who had requested Joint guarantees of Israel’s security from both the Soviet Union and the United States.

Mr. Barzilai said that Mr. Strauss “personified the renewed German militarism.” He charged that European Socialism, in Germany itself as well as in Britain and France, regarded Strauss as “anti-democratic and dangerous.”


In reply to the Government’s critics, Mr. Eshkol intimated that Dr. Strauss’ visit may be linked with efforts for possible sanctions by the Bonn Government against the German scientists and technicians employed by Egypt. He told the House that Dr. Strauss had, in the past, “aided Israel on many occasions in circumstances that cannot be disclosed here.”

“Relations between Bonn and Israel,” he said, “exist on various levels.” He recalled that France had invited both Dr. Strauss and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, adding: “Undoubtedly, we want continuing good relations with France.” He implied that the desire for good relations with France was also a factor in the invitation to Dr. Strauss here, and assured the Knesset: “Strauss is against the activity of the Germans in Egypt.”

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