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Economist Warns Israel Endangered by Efforts to Mute Criticism of Government Policies

Professor Don Patinkin of Hebrew University, winner of the Israel Prize for economics awarded today on the occasion of Independence Day, warned in an article published several days ago in the Hebrew University’s bi-weekly Journal that free expression in Israel is endangered by attempts to mute criticism of government policies. The dean of Israeli economists observed that the government Is so broadly based and its Influence on society and the economic life of the country so pronounced that there must exist some focal point (the university) where Independent criticism can be heard. Otherwise, he said, “there exists the danger that the democratic processes such as freedom of expression may be smothered.” Prof. Patinkin, 46, who was born in Chicago and held professional posts at the University of Chicago and at the University of Illinois before settling in Jerusalem in 1949, recently was one of the signatories to a letter sent by Israeli high school seniors to Premier Golda Meir, questioning the government’s policies toward peace with the Arabs. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Israel Academy.