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Mrs. Meir Eban. in Rift over Next Ambassador to Washington

A serious rift between Foreign Minister Abba Eban and Premier Golda Meir over Israel’s next ambassador to Washington surface I this week and threatened to delay the appointment of a successor to Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin. Justice Minister Yaacov Shimshon Shapiro, a veteran leader of the Labor Party who is close to Mrs. Meir reportedly warned Eban yesterday to end his opposition to the Prime Minister’s choice or face the loss of her support.

The newspaper Haaretz reported today that Mrs. Meir was standing firm in backing her chief political advisor, Simcha Dinitz who was Minister to Washington from 1968-69, for the coveted Washington post.

Eban on the other hand is said to insist that the decision is his to make and that the appointment of an outsider would injure the morale of the foreign service office. Eban is said to favor Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s Ambassador to the Untied Nations, as Rabin’s successor. Foreign Ministry sources, meanwhile, have dismissed as “basically false and groundless” a report in Newsweek magazine that Eban had threatened to resign over the issue.

Meanwhile, Rabin’s departure from Washington has been postponed, giving credence to Newsweek’s claim that he would be asked to remain in the U.S. for a few more months to give Eban time to back down gracefully. Reliable sources said this week that Rabin has been asked to stay in Washington until next spring although he was originally due to return in Jan.

Brig. Gen. Raphael Vardi, Military Governor of the West Bank, is supervising a police probe of the vandalization last night of the synagogue at the Machpela Cave (Patriarchs Tomb) in Hebron. Unidentified persons broke into the Ark and scattered Torah scrolls and prayer books.

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