TEL AVIV (Mar. 6)
Several of Israel’s leading newspapers aimed their editorials at the government Tuesday, blasting its decision to order the censorship of news stories related to Soviet aliyah.
The government claimed the order was a protective measure, in view of the Arab campaign to curb immigration to Israel, in an effort to stop the settlement of Soviet Jews in the administered territories.
The editorials appeared after the Editors Committee met Monday to discuss the issue.
The independent daily Ha’aretz said that censorship was not an effective way to ward off attacks on Israel.
The Labor Party organ Davar said it would have been better to curb the irresponsible remarks of politicians.
The newspaper was referring to remarks by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in January that the greater influx of Soviet Jews needed a greater Israel.
Although Shamir insisted he meant a stronger Israel, his words created a furor in the Arab world, which has accused Israel of planning to settle immigrants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to displace the Palestinian population.
The government said the censorship applies only to disclosure of the numbers of olim and their travel routes to Israel.
Al Hamishmar, newspaper of Mapam, the United Workers Party, said the decision was reminiscent of totalitarian states.
Only the Orthodox daily Hatzofeh, organ of the National Religious Party, defended the censorship order, saying it was unavoidable in light of the security risks.