JERUSALEM (Oct. 30)
The Cabinet met in special session today to hear the latest reports on the state of peace negotiations with Egypt in Washington. It sat as a ministerial security committee, meaning that the proceedings were classified. This situation has drawn fire from the press. A committee of editors of Israel’s daily newspapers met in Tel Aviv last night to protest the increasingly frequent invocation of security to prevent news of Cabinet deliberations from reaching the public.
The editors charged that this procedure was “anti-democratic” and deprived the public of the necessary information needed for intelligent debate on the peace talks. They said that the information being censored was not of a military or security nature.
No details were released on the substance of today’s Cabinet session. However, the Cabinet announced the establishment of two hoc ministerial committees to study specific issues linked to the peace talks. One concerns the oil wells drilled by Israel in Sinai and the other the nature and extent of U.S. financial assistance for Israel’s military pullback from Sinai.
It was understood that some ministers feel the American aid commitments have not been sufficiently firm and expect Premier Menachem Begin to raise the issue with President Carter if they meet during Begin’s visit to the U.S. this week.
(Meanwhile, in New York, the National Council of Churches said today that due to possible error in the office of Premier Begin, the National Council of Churches was reported as the group presenting the “Family of Man Award” jointly to Begin and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt on Nov. 3. A Council spokesman said the organization presenting the award is the New York City Council of Churches.)