JERUSALEM (Apr. 14)
Premier Yitzhak Rabin strongly defended Foreign Minister Yigal Allon’s trip to the U.S. in the Knesset today and angrily denounced Likud for demanding a debate on the subject especially “during this week of national unity and identification,” Rabin ad- dressed a special recess session of the Knesset called at the insistence of Likud. The House, by a vote of 43-27 with six abstentions, decisively defeated a Likud motion protesting Allon’s visit to the U.S. during which he will meet with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in Washington later this week.
Rabin spoke briefly and forcefully and without notes. He demanded to know “what right” Likud had to question or doubt the government’s resolve to stand firm on the positions it took during the bilateral negotiations with Egypt conducted by Kissinger which were suspended March 22. He declared that his government considered itself strictly bound by its decisions of last month which were approved at the time by the Knesset.
The Premier said that he himself had asked Allon to respond to the United Jewish Appeal’s request that Israel dispatch a top minister to participate in a major fund-raising and information campaign in the U.S. and that, in fact, he wanted to send the minister, Allon, who was most directly involved in the recent unsuccessful negotiations so that Israel’s position would be most effectively and authoritatively explained. Allon’s acceptance of the UJA’s invitation led to an invitation from Kissinger to meet in Washington.
During the session, which lasted only 20 minutes, Rabin accused Likud of trying to mar the national consensus that stands behind the government’s position. He said it was particularly inappropriate that Likud insisted on a divisive debate during a week marked successively by Solidarity Day for Soviet Jewry, Memorial Day for Israel’s war dead and Independence Day.