JERUSALEM (Feb. 19)
The “Lavon A’ ffair, ” seemingly closed in 1961 when Pinhas Lavon, one-time Israel Defense Minister, was ousted from the top echelons of Israeli political life in a dispute about his alleged responsibility for a “security mishap” in 1954, flared up higher than ever today. Its revival was due to a statement on the subject made last night in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, by Minister of agriculture Moshe Dayan, who was Israel’s Chief of Staff, with the rank of general, when the “mis. hap” presumably took place.
Three opposition parties–the Liberals, Herut and the Communists–have filed motions of non-confidence in the Government, as a result of the Dayan statement. A third non-coalition party, Mapam, addressed an inquiry to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. Two members of the coalition Government–Adut Avodah and the National Religious Party–gave notice they would bring the matter up at the next Cabinet session Sunday.
One of Israel’s leading newspapers, “Maarlv,” had reported that Mr. Dayan had made statements about the Lavon affair differing totally from the facts as known until now. Members of the opposition questioned him last night in the Knesset about these press reports, and also challenged him as to why he had withheld vital facts in his possession.
Mr. Dayan answered at length, but the Speaker of the House ordered his reply expunged from the record “for security reasons.” Today, however, “Maariv” reported the Dayan version of the events surrounding the “security mishap”–an occurrence which was never publicly related in detail.
DAYAN REPORTED PLACING GUITT FOR ‘MISHAP’ON ‘THIRD FACTOR
According to the newspaper report, Mr. Dayan had stated that the “mishap” which resulted in Mr. Lavon’s ousting as Defense Minister had actually taken place long be fore the dates mentioned earlier, and that the orders leading to the mishap” had net been issued either by Lavon or by a senior officer, but by “a third factor” who was not identified by Mr. Dayan. According to “Maariv,” Mr, Dayan claimed that he was “no longer in the army” when that action had been initiated.
Asked why he had not reported what he knew to the Government or to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, Mr, Dayan was said to have replied that, although what he knew was, at the time, “only an assumption,” he had made his data known to the then Minister of Justice, Pinhas Rosen. Mr. Dayan said “dates had been confused, and when I said neither Lavon nor a senior officer gave the order for the actions, I meant these orders were issued before the dates attributed to Lavon or to the senior officer. “
Mr. Dayan was reported as Saying he had tried to bring his Information to various committees discussing the entire Issue but was not heard and has never been invited to give his testimony to those bodies “to this day.” According to “Maariv,” he had revealed his views for the first time at a meeting of the top leaders of the Mapai Party. leaders last Friday, stating that he considered Lavon not responsible for the “mishap.”
While the non-confidence motions are pending, and stated for debate In the Knesset next Monday, former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion requested today that he be furbished details of the fresh parliamentary debate on the Lavon issue. Prior to next Monday’s Knesset debate, the secretariat of the Mapai Party is expected to discuss the issue at a meeting scheduled for Friday.