JERUSALEM (Mar. 31)
Asserting that “we shall do everything in our power to prevent a war with the Arabs,” Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, told the Knesset (Parliament) today that Israel will defend its water rights. “Israel will do anything necessary to stop the Arabs from diverting our water resources,” she declared.
Mrs. Meir made these statements as she concluded the Knesset debate on her Ministry’s budget, which Parliament approved after she had finished her presentation. In a separate vote, the Knessed approved the overall, national budget for the fiscal year 1965-66, which will be in excess of 4,000,000,000 Israeli pounds ($1,333,333,333).
During the debate, the Government was criticized by the left-wing Mapam Party for failing to respond favorably to a statement recently made by Habib Bourguiba, president of Tunisia, who, in a speech in Jordan, seemingly called for an Arab-Israeli rapprochement. “While it is true,” replied Mrs. Meir, “that Mr. Bourguiba said there should be no war, it is not clear what he proposes. We must see first what he really meant.”
(President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia today urged Arab Palestinians to go slow in trying to win back their disputed land from Israel. In Turkey on a state visit, he told a news conference in Istanbul that Tunisia followed such a gradual approach “in freeing itself from colonialism.”)