TEL AVIV (Oct. 22)
Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion renewed officially today his contention that it was Pinhas Lavon who, as Defense Minister, gave the order which led to a disastrous security mishap in 1954.
The decade-old controversy between the former Prime Minister and Mr. Lavon was revived again today when Mr. Ben-Gurion presented a “White Book” to Justice Minister Dov Joseph at the latter’s home in Jerusalem. Attorney General Moshe Ben Zeev also was present.
In his “White Book, ” Mr. Ben-Gurion, who forced Mr. Lavon out of the dominant Mapai party in 1961, cited his conclusion that Mr. Lavon gave the order and said that the document should be the basis for the Justice Minister’s consideration of whether a Governmental committee should be named to review the entire Lavon Affair.
Shortly after Levi Eshkol became Prime Minister, he sought to end the controversy by inviting Mr. Lavon, who also had been forced out of his post as secretary-general of the Histadrut–Israel’s Labor Federation–to return to Mapai councils. Mr. Ben-Gurion demurred strongly and a special meeting of Mapai leaders decided to leave the matter in abeyance. There the issue rested until Mr. Ben-Gurion reopened it today.
Mapai circles were uneasy over Mr. Ben-Gurion’s action. The move had been expected but it took place just one day before the Mapai party was to make a decision on some form of alignment with the Achdut Avodah party.
Mr. Lavon had been cleared by several investigations, including one by a Cabinet committee, of responsibility for the mishap, details of which have never been publicized; However, Mr. Ben-Gurion continued to insist on Mr. Lavon’s responsibility. He told the Justice Minister and the Attorney General today that his “White Book” contained documents which were not presented to the various committees which exonerated Mr. Lavon which would shed “new light” on the affair.