JERUSALEM (Jun. 23)
Prof. Yigael Yadin said yesterday that Res. Gen. Shmuel Gonen should be tried for contempt of court because of his recent public criticism of the findings of the Agranat Committee. Yadin, an internationally famous archaeologist and former Chief of Staff who recently entered the political arena, told Hebrew University students that Gonen should be tried for making disclosures about his Agranat Committee testimony. All witnesses who appeared before the panel were under oath not to discuss their testimony in public, Yadin said.
Yadin was a member of the committee established in 1973 by Premier Golda Meir to investigate events leading up to the Yom Kippur War and the conduct of the war in its initial stages. Gonen. who was commander of the Sinai front when the Egyptians launched their surprise attack, was held responsible for Israel’s early set-backs, according to the Agranat Committee’s findings. He subsequently resigned from active duty but vowed to clear his name.
Last week he attacked the committee, specifically Yadin and another of its members, former Chief of Staff Haim Laskov, who he accused of covering up for Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. He also claimed that Yadin and Laskov were not up-to-date in their military knowledge and had no understanding of the dynamics of the Yom Kippur War.
Yadin told the students yesterday that when he and Laskov were appointed to the Agranat Committee, Gonen said “they couldn’t have picked two better officers.” But when the committee’s findings proved uncomplimentary, Gonen changed his mind, Yadin said.
He said that his experience on the Agranat panel was partly responsible for his decision–three years later–to enter politics because he felt “things in the country were not in order.” Yadin announced several weeks ago that he would seek a Knesset seat in next year’s national elections and hinted that he might challenge Premier Yitzhak Rabin for the Premiership. He ruled out the possibility of a “military coup” in Israel, a reference to rumors that he might join forces with other former generals who are dissatisfied with the state of affairs. But he left no doubt that he intends to campaign vigorously. “Next year I have a sabbatical.” he said.