JERUSALEM (May. 5)
The terrorist ambush in Hebron claimed its sixth fatality last night when Hanan Kroitheimer, 20, died of his wounds at Hadassah Hospital. Like several of the other victims, Kroitheimer was a student at the Hesder Yeshiva in Kiryat Arba where he combined religious studies with military training.
According to a hospital bulletin, the condition of Aharon Pni’el is still serious but the other victims wounded in the terrorist outrage show slight improvement.
The Hebron outrage overshadowed the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday. As a body, the Cabinet rejected criticism of Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and the defense establishment as a whole for not preventing the terrorist attack but some ministers individually expressed strong dissatisfaction with the security policies adopted in the occupied territories until now.
Premier Menachem Begin insisted that the entire Cabinet must bear responsibility for the incident. He also warned against hasty measures in response to the killings. A considered and balanced policy must be adopted to enable coexistence with the Arabs and the successful conclusion of the autonomy talks, Begin said.
Weizman took a similar position. He told the Cabinet that he accepted responsibility for security policy in the territories. But he warned that Israel must not deviate from its course toward an agreement with Egypt on autonomy. This, he said, was vital to national security and a way for Israel to break out of its isolation in the region. Weizman urged that the autonomy talks proceed “at a faster pace” while ensuring security interests. The policy in the territories should be “the righteous thrive, the wicked suffer,” he said.
SEEK PROBE INTO CAUSE OF OUTRAGE
Interior Minister Yosef Burg demanded the establishment of an investigatory committee to examine the conditions that led to the Hebron killings. The Cabinet decided that the Ministerial Defense Committee would meet shortly to work out a series of measures aimed at restoring calm on the West Bank. The Cabinet extended its condolences to the families of the Hebron victims.
But tension on the West Bank continued. A general strike was called in several of the larger cities yesterday to protest the deportations of the mayors of Hebron and Halhoul and the religious judge of Hebron. The Military Government banned the strike and in some instances Israeli soldiers forced merchants to keep their shops open.
Arab youths threw rocks at four Israeli vehicles on the West Bank. Four residents of a refugee camp near Nablus were arrested. In Jerusalem vandals smashed 10 Arab-owned vehicles. The curfew continued in Hebron and in Anabta village in the Samaria district where a 17-year-old Arab youth was killed last week in a scuffle with Israeli army officers. The Military Government is investigating whether the youth was killed when one of the officers’ guns was fired accidentally or deliberately.