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Begin Appoints Former Irgunist As Advisor on Combatting Terrorism

Some Israeli circles expressed surprise today at Premier Menachem Begin’s appointment of Amichai Paglin, a former Irgun comrade-in-arms, rather than a professional military man as his special advisor on combatting terrorism. The post was previously held by Gen. Rehavem Zeevi who resigned last May.

Paglin, in his early 50s, served as operations officer of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, the underground fighting group commanded by Begin before the end of the British Mandate 30 years ago. He has lived in obscurity since then as the operator of a family metals workshop near Tel Aviv. He was in the news briefly in 1972 after his arrest on suspicion of complicity in an attempt by the Jewish Defense League to smuggle arms from Israel to the U.S. and Europe for a war on Arab terrorists. Paglin was arraigned, pleaded not guilty but was never tried.

In an interview published in Haaretz in 1969, Paglin proposed that Israel close down the Jordan River bridges, totally isolate the Arabs and restrict their movement to Arab-populated areas. Observers wondered today whether, as a member of the government establishment, Paglin will still propound those extremist views. But they were more disturbed by the fact that the new counter-terrorist advisor is not a member of the armed forces and has no experience with new weapons systems and new fighting methods.

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