Israel Cabinet Discusses Slurs at “purge” Trial in Prague
Menu JTA Search

Israel Cabinet Discusses Slurs at “purge” Trial in Prague

Download PDF for this date

The Israel Cabinet today discussed the implications of the Prague trial of 14 ex-Communist and Czechoslovak Government leaders in which the prosecution has linked the defendants with the Zionist movement in a series of charges of “treason” and “espionage” in behalf of the “American imperialism.”

Asked whether Dr. I. Kubowi, Israeli Minister to Prague, would be recalled as a result of the slurs at the trial against Premier David Ben Gurion, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett and former Israel Minister to Prague Ehud Avriel, a government spokesman today stated that there was no intention of recalling Dr. Kubowi. However, the spokesman added, after the trial the Minister would probably be asked to return to Israel to report to the Cabinet on the trial. A government spokesman is scheduled to make a statement on the trial before the Israel Parliament tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office officials here ridiculed the “confessions” of several of the defendants and alleged confessions of Israeli nationals that Ben Gurion and Sharett met with President Truman, Secretary of State Dean Acheson and former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., in Washington in 1947 and agreed to the Zionist movement’s acting as agents for the American Government in Communist countries in Eastern Europe in return for aid to the Jewish State.

These officials pointed out: 1. that in 1947 Gen. George C. Marshall and not Mr. Acheson was Secretary of State; 2. that Ben Gurion did not visit the United States in 1947; 3. that Mr. Ben Gurion first met the President in 1951; 4. that Mr. Sharett never met the President until 1952.

The government radio, Kol Israel, last night declared that it was necessary to go back to the books of Hitler and Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi “theoretician,” and to “evidence” concocted by the Czarist Russian authorities to find precedent for the conspiracies, machinations and crimes pinned on the Jews and on Zionist leaders and representatives of the Israel Government.

In a statement to the press, Mr. Avriel, who was named in a “confession” by Mordechai Oren, Israel Mapam leader arrested in Prague over a year ago, said that it “was below my dignity to come in contact with secret agents.” He added that he had never met with Mr. Oren while the two were in Prague because Mr. Oren, on Mapam Party business, avoided the Israel legation. He said that in his capacity as an Israel Government representative, he was in contact with some of the defendants who at that time represented the Czechoslovak Government, but who now “proclaim themselves outcasts, traitors and criminals.”

All the Tel Aviv newspapers, including the Mapam Party paper Al Hamishmar, but excluding the Communist Kol Haam, today devoted their lead editorial to the Prague trial. The Mapam newspaper denied all charges against Mr. Oren and once again demanded his release. It stated that during his visit to Prague, Yugoslavia and elsewhere he acted on his party’s behalf and did nothing to undermine Czechoslovak security. He went to Eastern European countries to muster support for the establishment of the Jewish State, a project fought for by the Soviet Union, Al Hamishmar said.

Other newspapers, including Haaretz, Haboker and the Jerusalem Post, recalled the assistance given Israel in its early days by Czechoslovakia, but denounced the “anti-Semitic line and attitude marking the trial’s proceedings.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund