JERUSALEM (Jan. 13)
The Cabinet met for three hours today to consider the implications of France’s embargo on military equipment and spare parts to Israel. No details were disclosed except that Prime Minister Levi Eshkol will make a statement on the embargo to the Knesset (Parliament) tomorrow. The Cabinet ministers were joined at the meeting by Lt. Gen. Amihai Tsur. assistant to the Defense Minister, and Maj. Gen. Mordechai Hod, Commander of Israel’s Air Force. Cabinet secretary Michael Arnon told newsmen afterwards that Foreign Minister Abba Eban had briefed the Cabinet on world reaction to President de Gaulle’s embargo, stressing the almost universal condemnation of it in the French press. Mr. Arnon quoted him as saying, “Israel’s relations with France have a glorious past and probably a great future, but meanwhile we must overcome the difficulties of the present.”
The Foreign Ministry denied press reports yesterday that Israel’s Ambassador to France. Walter Eytan, would be recalled for consultations on the new crisis in Franco-Israel relations. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned that several Cabinet ministers favored consultations with Mr. Eytan but Mr. Eban opposed them at this time. Israeli authorities were taking pains to distinguish between the Gaullist Government and the French people in their comments on the boycott. But the Israeli public was embittered. A poll published by the newspaper Haaretz today revealed a spontaneous boycott movement against French merchandise and services by Israelis. A majority said they would not buy French automobiles and would not travel on Air France. Some women were uncertain whether they would give up French perfumes but others said they planned to switch to American or Israeli perfumes. The Israeli bus cooperative, Egged, reportedly cancelled orders for three French automobiles for its executives.