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500 Demonstrate Against Corruption; Demand Resignation of Sapir

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Demonstrations against corruption were staged here and in Tel Aviv yesterday. About 500 Hebrew University students and Black Panthers massed outside the Knesset building to demand the resignation of Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir. Inside, the Knesset was engaged in a heated debate over allegations of scandal in government-owned corporations currently under investigation and heard Sapir pledge that the full weight of the law would be applied against anyone found guilty of misconduct.

The demonstrators accused the government of laxity in detecting waste and mismanagement in public corporations. They carried placards reading. “Sapir Does As He Pleases” and “Sapir Must Go.” Several students smashed replicas of ancient pottery to dramatize their complaints that Defense Minister Moshe Dayan is engaging in illegal archaeological activities, Dayan is an amateur archaeologist.

About 250 members of the Tel Aviv branch of the Black Panthers demonstrated in busy Dizengoff Circle last night against alleged corruption in government economic enterprises. They claimed it was costing the taxpayers millions which could be used to improve conditions for the poor, Apart from an unsuccessful attempt to disrupt traffic, the demonstration was orderly.

The Knesset, meanwhile, seemed to echo the man-in-the-street. It adopted a resolution yesterday expressing its displeasure with the moral climate and administrative deficiencies in Israeli business enterprises, including firms owned wholly or partly by the government. The resolution urged the government to correct the situation and apply punishment where due. It also called for intensified supervision over state-owned corporations. The resolution was drafted by a coalition committee headed by Minister-Without-Portfolio Israel Galili.

Earlier, Sapir presented the Knesset with a long list of measures proposed to tighten control over government owned and other public enterprises. The measures were prompted by the investigations now underway into charges of corruption and mismanagement in the affairs of the bankrupt Autocar Co., the Vered water resources development company and the Netivei Neft oil drilling company, all government owned.

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