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Rift Between Ben-gurion and Eshkol Sharpens; Ben-gurion Defiant

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The rift between former Premier David Ben-Gurion and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol appeared today to have widened, as Mr. Ben-Gurion told a group of younger members of Mapai that he will pursue his aim of reopening an investigation of the Lavon affair, even if the Cabinet and Parliament oppose such a move.

Mr. Ben-Gurion said he wants the Lavon case reopened, not only regarding the original “security mishap” of 1954–which caused the political downfall of former Defense Pinhas Lavon–but concerning Mr. Lavon’s clearance of the original charges by a Ministerial Committee in 1960. That committee, he charged, culminated “in a travesty of justice.” Mr. Eshkol was a member of the ministerial group, which exonerated Mr. Layon.

Asserting that he knows that the Cabinet will not agree to his demand to reopen the Lavon case, “and that the Knesset will follow,” Mr. Ben Gurion said: “But above and beyond the Knesset, there is the nation and the cause of justice.” He made it clear that he intends to appeal to the Israeli public.

Mr. Ben-Gurion’s adamant stand on the issue has caused concern within the Mapai Party, as it was felt that he has now shut the door against a possible compromise with Mr. Eshkol; The Prime Minister discussed the entire issue this weekend with Mrs. Golda Meir, Israeli’s Foreign Minister, who is still hospitalized following her collapse due to overwork and exhaustion. It is understood that Mrs. Meir encouraged Mr. Eshkol to continue taking a firm stand against Mr. Ben-Gurion.

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