TEL AVIV (Feb. 22)
An appeal to former Premier David Ben-Gurion to accept the ruling of the majority of the Mapai convention on the Lavon Affair and on a limited alignment with the Achdut Avodan party was voiced today by Kaddish Luz, Speaker of the Israel Parliament who is among the top Mapai leaders.
The convention, which concluded this weekend, approved a request from Prime Minister Levi Eshkol–opposed by Mr. Ben-Gurion–that the party put aside the internal battle over a new inquiry into the circumstances of a 1954 security mishap when Pinhas Lavon was Defense Minister. The Eshkol stand was backed at the convention by 60 percent of the votes in a secret ballot. The other 40 percent of the delegates, supporters of Ben-Gurion’s demand for a new probe of the 1954 disaster in which Ben-Gurion forced Lavon out of the Ministry.
By similar margins, the convention approved a proposal for Mapai to resume efforts for a limited alignment with Achdut Avodah. The effect of the voting was to endorse Eshkol’s formula that the question of a new investigation of the Lavon Affair be left to the discretion of Mapai representatives in the Government. More than 90 percent of the 2,226 delegates cast votes.
Mr. Eshkol expressed satisfaction with the voting and Ben-Gurion’s supporters hailed the 40 percent minority vote as “a moral victory.” The Premier said: “It is the end of bitter discussion. I am happy the convention accepted the principle of alignment and the principle that the Lavon Affair was left a matter for individual judgment of Mapai Ministers.” He said that the party had emerged” stronger and united with no feeling of fanatacism, no feeling of defeat for any of the groups.”
BEN-GURION’S SUPPORTERS SERENADE IN FRONT OF HIS HOME
A few hours after the convention ended, Ben-Gurion’s supporters came to his home singing and chanting “He’s a jolly good fellow.” The former Premier, who was already in bed, came to the window to wave at his greeters. Whether he was satisfied with the convention judgment was not immediately known. He had said repeatedly at the convention, and before the convention, that he would continue his fight for “truth and justice” and for a judicial investigation of the Lavon case even if he were expelled from the party.
The delegates adopted a wide-ranging group of resolutions. One called on the Soviet Union to recognize the justice of the historic desires of Russian Jewry, to allow reunification of Jewish families torn apart in the Hitler holocaust, to give full equality to Russian Jews as individuals and as a cultural group not only by law but by deeds, and to permit cultural, religious and spirtual contacts between Soviet Jews and world Jews.
The delegates also called for increased aliyah and preparation for it by intensifying preparation of Jewish youth in other countries to settle in Israel. Integration of immigrants and expansion of education also were urged.
In another resolution, the delegates denounced West Germany’s surrender to Egyptian “blackmail” in the suspension of arms shipments to Israel and expressed “profound revulsion” over Bonn’s “surrender which is entirely incompatible with the moral obligation that rests on a Germany which seeks to liberate itself from its bloodstained past.”