JERUSALEM (Dec. 15)
Israel’s new Government, a broadly based coalition of six political factions, was sworn in today before a full Knesset, in the presence of President Zalman Shazar and a gallery packed with dignitaries and visitors.
Premier Golda Meir presented each of her 23 fellow Cabinet members by name in alphabetical order. She then delivered the inaugural address of the new Administration, the theme of which was national unity and determination not to relinquish an inch of occupied territory until a genuine lasting peace with the Arabs is achieved.
Mrs. Meir’s Cabinet was put together after more than a month of difficult bargaining and negotiations. It is the most representative in the nation’s 21-year history. The six factions it incorporates cover almost the entire political spectrum and command the loyalty of 102 out of 120 Knesset members-85 percent of that body’s membership.
Mrs. Meir’s address was directed less toward the small organized opposition at home than to the Arab foe and “those nations that, standing from afar, keep the Arabs off the road to peace” and perpetuate their determination to destroy Israel.
Mrs. Meir claimed that Israel’s military strength was at an all-time high. Fully capable of preserving the cease-fire lines as long as necessary. She claimed success for her Government’s policies in the occupied territories and claimed that the Arab countries were suffering far more than Israel from the war of attrition they were waging against it. She blamed their suffering on President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt who, she said, will try, at the forthcoming Arab summit meeting in Rabat. Morocco, to “impose his failing policies on other Arab leaders, among them those whom for years he has tried to overthrow or murder”.
Mrs. Meir said that since January, 61 Arab planes–47 Egyptian and 14 Syrian–were shot down by Israeli forces against a loss by Israel of nine planes including a Piper Cub. She said that guerrilla as and saboteurs had succeeded in creating a “state within a state” in Jordan and created havoc in Lebanon.
The Premier expounded in detail on the situation in the occupied territories where she said the Government’s policy of a firm hand but minimum interference with local authorities has been successful. She claimed that the terrorists have been unable to gain recruits among the local populace, the local economy is flourishing, and there is no unemployment. Some 22,000 West Bank Arabs are working In Israel and thousands of Arabs from the Gaza Strip are employed on the West Bank. Mrs. Meir said the “open bridges” policy that permits free trade between the West Bank and Jordan was working well. She said West Bank Arabs have sent $20 million worth of produce across the Jordan and have imported $7 million worth. She said Israeli activity in the occupied regions was marked by the establishment of 20 temporary settlements and more are planned.