Menu JTA Search

Israel Minister Reverses Decision on $1,000,000 Gift from German

The controversy over a gift by a West German publisher of $1,000,000 to the Israel Museum was revived today by a temporary reversal by Education Minister Zalman Aranne of the Museum’s acceptance of the donation.

A Ministry spokesman said that a final decision on the gift from Axel Springer, offered for construction and maintenance of a special building to house a library and archives for the Museum, would be taken at “the Cabinet level, ” and that the matter would rest until that decision was made.

Teddy Kollek, chairman of the Museum committee, met last night with Premier Levi Eshkol for a discussion of the question. Mr. Kollek then cabled Herr Springer, giving him a full report and assuring him that any “temporary difficulties” had nothing to do with his past.

The museum directors held a secret and stormy meeting last week on the offer which was made when the publisher visited Jerusalem two months ago on a private visit. The dispute in the board centered on whether the donor had a Nazi past. After a probe showed that Mr. Springer had no connection with the Nazis, the board voted nine to three to accept the offer. Some members expressed reluctance about following the normal procedure of naming the building after the donor but museum sources said that Mr. Springer himself had asked for an “abstract name” for the proposed building.

NEXT STORY