JERUSALEM (May. 29)
Premier Menachem Begin, apparently recovered from the fever that kept him in bed over the weekend, told reporters this morning that he will attend the inauguration of Israel’s fifth President, Yitzhak Navon, later today. Begin’s illness had forced the cancellation of yesterday’s Cabinet session that was to have begun consideration of key questions posed by the United States about Israel’s peace plan.
But he looked well as he spoke to newsmen at the door of his home while awaiting a courtesy visit by Navon. The President-elect was ushered into the Premier’s residence by Begin and his wife, Aliza, who are celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary today. Navon informed Begin of the main points of his inaugural address to the Knesset and extended his best wishes to the Begins.
According to officials, Begin’s high fever yesterday was not related to his heart ailment. Begin suffered a major heart attack a little more than a year ago and was subsequently hospitalized twice for the treatment of complications. There have been persistent rumors since then regarding the state of the Premier’s health. His aides insist that he is fit and say his recent check-up at Hadassah Hospital confirmed this. He continues to follow a heavy work schedule although on doctors’ orders he naps for 1-2 hours each day.
The questions to which the Cabinet ministers were to have addressed themselves yesterday concern the sovereignty of the West Bank after the five year period of “self rule” offered in Begin’s peace plan and how Israel intends to grant the Palestinians a voice in determining their future inasmuch as it has rejected an American suggestion for a plebiscite. The U.S. has been pressing Israel to respond to those points as a prerequisite to the resumption of Israeli-Egyptian peace talks.
NAVON INAUGURATED AS PRESIDENT
Yitzhak Navon was inaugurated as President of Israel at sundown today succeeding Ephraim Katzir. He is Israel’s fifth President and the first Sephardi to hold the post. See stories on pages 3 and 4.