JERUSALEM (Aug. 20)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared in a television interview yesterday that Jews who rioted against Arabs in East Jerusalem were playing into the hands of terrorists and warned that the Army would be called in to keep public order should the Sunday night rioting be repeated. The rioting broke out following a series of terrorist grenade explosions in downtown Jerusalem which injured 10 persons, two of them seriously. The explosions were followed by assaults on Arabs in the East and West sectors of the city by mobs of infuriated Jewish youths who were dispersed by police. Gen. Dayan reiterated his condemnation of the rioters which he made in the strongest terms during a personal tour of East Jerusalem yesterday. He said the rioters were doing the work of the terrorists who want to poison relations between the Jewish and Arab communities. He said that overturning cars and breaking shop windows can achieve nothing but more trouble. Gen. Dayan was interviewed on a test program produced in advance of the establishment of regular TV broadcasting in Israel.
His visit to East Jerusalem yesterday was at the request of Mayor Teddy Kollek and apparently had a calming influence. Life in the city appeared normal today although police patrols were more in evidence than usual and some Arab taxi drivers refused to take fares to the Israeli sector. Gen. Dayan’s comments reflected fears expressed by other officials and in newspaper editorials that future terrorist attacks on civilians could lead to large-scale anti-Arab rioting. Officials considered the grenade attacks part of a new effort by Arab terrorists to concentrate on civilian targets in retaliation for alleged Israeli attacks on civilian targets in Jordan. The press was unanimous today in its condemnation of the Sunday rioters and declared that the battle against terrorists should be left to the security forces which have done well in the months since the Six-Day War. The papers noted that the grenade explosions Sunday led to the first civilian casualties in the many attempts by terrorists to plant explosives in urban centers. The evening paper Maariv welcomed Gen Dayan’s visit to East Jerusalem as “timely” and noted that he had even visited some Arab shops looking for antiquities and made some purchases.
In a related development, Labor Minister Yosef Almogi proposed today that national insurance be expanded to cover any person killed or injured in terrorist attacks in any part of Israel. Until now, only persons in border settlements have been eligible for compensation. Mr. Almogi is responsible for the national insurance institute. A 19-year-old Israeli soldier, Offer Tishbi, of Haifa, was killed yesterday when an army command car in which he was riding struck a mine in the Araba region of the Negev, a military spokesman announced. The incident occurred about 20 miles south of Ein Yahav, a settlement that was attacked two weeks ago by El Fatah guerrillas who were later pursued into Jordan by Israeli forces and killed or captured.