TEL AVIV (Jul. 16)
Foreign Minister Abba Bban castigated journalists and news media persons who he alleged unjustly criticized the government at the expense of truth and balance. Criticism of policy is infinitely easier than execution of policy, Eban told the Advertisers Association at a meeting in the Shera on Hotel Friday. Newsmen and commentators who criticize so freely had “a much easier life” than politicians who live under constant strain and self-doubt because of the responsibility of their work and decisions, the Foreign Minister claimed.
“In the light of this gap in the weight of the burden between the two professions (newsman and ministers) it would be no affront to the newsmen if their work distinguished itself by a certain measure of modesty and humility.” Eban said. He said the anti-Establishment “fad” in Israel had extended beyond the bounds of health and wisdom and it was beginning to turn the citizens against their state. What was lacking was “an honest confession that our failures are not phenomena in vacuum–but part of an enormously impressive process of growth and development.”
Eban referred to a recent TV documentary on poverty in Jerusalem in which, he said, facts such as the real income of the family were omitted and a worse picture than necessary was presented. The duty of broadcasters, he said, is to tell the plain truth with all its light and shade. “The mantle of the prophets of discontent and doom does not sit well on their shoulders.”
TENDENCY TO IGNORE ACHIEVEMENTS
Eban also had some acid comments on Israeli “hawks.” He said “There is a tendency to ignore the achievements of the people in its land in the 25th year of statehood. One hears slogans such as ‘Nablus, rather than Tel Aviv is the heart of the nation.’ There is more fuss made around Yamit and Nebi Samwil than around the problems of development, housing, absorption and population of the arid desert areas,” Yamit on the Gaza coast and Nebi Samwil near Jerusalem are two urban settlement projects across the “green line” which Defense Minister Moshe Dayan is currently trying to push through the Cabinet. They represent in tangible form the difference of outlook between “hawks” and “doves” in Israel.
Eban reiterated his own view that the partition of Palestine had been essential in the past for the formation and development of the Jewish state and would be essential in the future. This was the lesson of recent history, he said, assailing those who “choked” on the letters of the word partition. Similarly he said, there was “a tendency to speak of the period of partition, 1948 67, as devoid of impetus and achievement.”
Eban’s speech was the latest in a series he has made in recent months on what he has called the quality of life in Israel. In them he no longer dwells exclusively on foreign affairs but attempts to address himself to internal issues and builds himself up as a national leader in all spheres of public life. His latest speech was released by the Government Press Office in Hebrew and English.