TEL AVIV (Jan. 10)
Labor Party Secretary General Haim Barlev says he finds it difficult to sleep soundly at night while Ariel Sharon is Defense Minister, because he is an “irresponsible and unbalanced person who tries to play the part of a quiet and poised statesman” but is unsuccessful in hiding his “instability.”
A report on these remarks by Barlev, which appear in an article in the Labor Party monthly Migvan due to appear shortly, were censored by Premier Menachem Begin personally who barred their repetition on Israel Radio.
Barlev gave as examples of Sharon’s “instability” recent unrest in the Defense Ministry because of the Minister’s unilateral revamping of its staff and duties; the recent episode in which Sharon angered his staff by appointing a former Israeli, now an American citizen to a senior position; and what Barlev described as “sudden resolutions on policy in the occupied territories.”
A report on the forthcoming article was broadcast by Israel Radio at noon yesterday. It was heard by Begin, who immediately phoned his Director General with instructions to order Prof. Reuven Yaron, a Herut member of the Broadcasting Authority Council, to get Israel Radio director Yosef Lapid to ensure that the item was not repeated on any further newscasts.
Lapid had the item removed and told reporters he thought an “advance notice of an item yet to appear in a political party magazine, designed to draw attention to it and increase its circulation, did not warrant use as a news item on a radio newscast.”
Barlev said that from his personal knowledge of Sharon — who was commanding officer when Barlev was Chief of Staff and Sharon a senior field general under him — he thought there was a theoretical danger that Sharon might take military steps which could endanger Israel. He said that “in certain circumstances he (Sharon) might take unnecessary military actions. It has not happened so far, but the danger does exist.”