JERUSALEM (Feb. 19)
The Prime Minister’s office and the Foreign Ministry declared here today that there was not “the slightest truth” in alleged security revelations printed last December by the sensational, Israel weekly magazine, Bul(“Stamp,”) whose editors have since been tried in secret and sentenced to one-year prison terms.
The statement, by the official spokesmen for the Prime Minister’s and Foreign Minister’s offices, reiterated a statement on the subject made by Israel’s Consul-General in New York, Michael Arnon. Mr. Arnon had declared, after news of the arrest and conviction of the two Bul editors had been revealed by today’s New York Times, that the stories published by Bul were “a completely groundless fabrication.”
The men involved are Shmuel Mor, editor of Bul, and Maxim Gillon, an assistant editor. They were arrested on December 11, the day their articles were published, violating regulations which require editors in Israel to submit for pre-publication clearance any material “affecting the security of the state.” The issue of Bul was ordered confiscated, and nearly all copies of the magazine had been confiscated.
Today’s evening newspapers featured the story as reported by The New York Times, spreading the story among Israelis who knew nothing of the affair, since nothing on the case had been published heretofore in the Israeli press, although certain political and pres circles were aware of the case.
(The New York Times article reported that the offending issue of Bul had featured on its cover the question: “Israelis in the Ben Barka affair?” That matter referred to the unresolved question about the abduction in Paris in October, 1965, of Mehdi Ben Barka, the Moroccan nationalist politician. However, according to the Times, the story inside the magazine “gave no definite answer” to the Ben Barka question.)
Israeli circles pointed out today that the two men had admitted during their trial that they had based themselves on “gross, security-tied rumors” and had expressed repentance for their acts. In spite of these assurances, the public interest in the case was substantial and a number of opposition party member of the Knesset (Parliament) may ask the responsible member of the Cabinet for additional details.