Ben-gurion is Backed by Minister of Justice on Reopening of Lavon Case

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol was seen here today as facing the need for a possible compromise with his predecessor, former Premier David Ben-Gurion, in their disagreement on the latter’s insistence for reopening a probe into the case of Pinhas Lavon.

Mr. Ben-Gurion’s view that a new inquiry be made into the exoneration of Mr. Lavon by a committee of Cabinet ministers in 1960 was reportedly supported here yesterday during the current Cabinet’s weekly meeting by Minister of Justice Dov Joseph. He was said to have told the Cabinet that the 1960 findings, which found that Mr. Lavon had not been guilty of a 1954 “security mishap” for which he was dismissed from the post of Minister of Defense, and later from his secretary-generalship of Histadrut, were “unacceptable” and urged a new inquiry.

The Minister of Justice based his views at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting on an opinion by the Attorney General and upon a study of material presented by Mr. Ben-Gurion. Members of the Cabinet opposing the reopening of a probe into the Lavon Affair contend that a “dangerous precedent” would be established if the current Cabinet ignored findings adopted by a previous Cabinet as well as by Parliament. They also question some of the factual grounds upon which Mr. Ben-Gurion bases his demands.

Among the opponents to Mr. Ben-Gurion’s request are not only Cabinet members belonging to the National Religious Party and Achdut Avodah but also some who are members of Mr. Eshkol’s own Mapai Party.

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