Rabin Govt. Defeats No Confidence Motions on Nuclear Reactor for Egypt
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Rabin Govt. Defeats No Confidence Motions on Nuclear Reactor for Egypt

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The new government of Premier Yitzhak Rabin easily survived its first test in the Knesset today. The vote was 60-50 against motions of no confidence filed by Likud and the National Religious Party on grounds that the government was irresponsibly playing down the potential peril to Israel of the U.S. agreement to provide Egypt with a nuclear reactor.

Replying to the motions, Premier Rabin conceded that he would have preferred it had the U.S. postponed its nuclear aid to Egypt. “The longer it is possible to postpone the introduction of nuclear reactors to the area, the better for Israel,” he said. “But on the other hand, describing the existence of such reactors as the end of Israel is merely spreading fear to the public. Israel will live forever, under any conditions,” the Premier declared.

His government was upheld by the votes of coalition MKs plus the lone Moked man. Likud, the NRP and the Aguda bloc voted against the government. Three Rakah Communist MKs abstained but made it clear that they would have voted for the government had it been in danger of losing.

Rabin promised that the matter of the Egyptian reactor would be discussed with Israel’s Atomic Energy Committee after a report is completed by two leading scientists who the Premier has asked to study the subject. Rabin disclosed the identities of the two men: Prof. Yisrael Dostrovsky, his special advisor on nuclear energy and Shalhevet Freier, head of the Atomic Energy Committee. He also disclosed that after the matter is discussed with the Committee, Israeli representatives would review it again with American experts.


Likud leader Menachem Beigin accused Foreign Minister Yigal Allon of “senseless and irresponsible talk” for his radio comments last week minimizing the danger of a nuclear reactor in Egyptian hands. Yehuda Ben Meir of the NRP denounced Allon’s remarks in equally strong terms. But Allon told the Knesset today that it was not his remarks but rather the outcries of alarm that did the most damage. He said it had been necessary to soothe public fears after the announcement in Cairo that President Nixon had pledged American nuclear material and know-how to Egypt. He said his remarks did not foreclose continued and effective handling of the issue. It was learned, meanwhile, that the Foreign Ministry and army intelligence are conducting an investigation to find out why Israel was not aware of the nuclear deal until it was announced in Cairo. Political sources here said Secretary of State Kissinger had issued instructions at the time to inform “all parties concerned” of the planned deal but the official in charge did not include Israel “contrary to the intentions of the Secretary of State.”

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