Allon Indicates Support of Critics Who Are Protesting Majority Report Absolving Head of Netivei Neft

Yigal Allon, Israel’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Education, last night indicated that he supported the critics of a government appointed panel’s majority report that absolved the managing director of the Netivei Neft oil company, Mordechai Friedman, of charges of wrong-doing. Allon told the Knesset that if he had to make a personal choice between Friedman and David Neev, the government geologist whose charges of scandal led to the inquiry into the operations of Netivei Neft, he would choose Neev.

Neev was sharply criticized in the majority report, signed by Supreme Court Justice Albert Vitkon, the committee chairman, and industrialist Avraham Kalir, for allegedly resorting to gossip and hearsay. The mounting public criticism of the report stems mainly from its recommendation not to dismiss Friedman although he was admittedly guilty of administrative irregularities.

The Cabinet is not required to deal with the recommendations unless asked to by one of its members. Health Minister Victor Shemtov of Mapam and Israel Galili, Minister-Without-Portfolio who exerts considerable influence in high Labor Party circles, have already indicated they would request a Cabinet discussion.

Meanwhile the law faculty student councils of the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University called on the government to adopt the panel’s minority report of Reserves Maj. Gen. Meir Zorea which recommended that Friedman be fired. Protests against the majority report were also sent to Premier Golda Meir by 12th grade students in several high schools.

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