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Opponents of Arms Deal with Germany Call Protest Meetings in Israel

July 3, 1959
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Meetings to protest against Israel’s arms deal with West Germany were called today by the Mapam and Achdut Avodah, the two left-wing parties which raised the issue and which refuse to recall their members from the Cabinet unless the entire Cabinet resigns. The meetings are to take place throughout Israel during the week-end. A protest demonstration was also called for Saturday in Tel Aviv by the Organization of Former Ghetto and Partisan Fighters.

The executive committee of the Achdut Avodah Party met today and adopted a resolution demanding that the entire Israel Cabinet resign at its meeting next Sunday. Mapam leaders also met in Tel Aviv today and insisted on Premier David Ben Gurion’s resignation. They charged him with “collusion with the right-wing parties and the General Zionists against the labor coalition. “

Premier Ben Gurion himself continued today to take an unhurried attitude in connection with the refusal of the four left-wing members of his Cabinet to resign after their parties voted yesterday in Parliament against the government proposal underwriting the arms deal with West Germany. Unable to dismiss them without handing in the resignation of the entire Cabinet, Mr. Ben Gurion decided on a delaying move primarily for consideration of external factors.

People close to Premier Ben Gurion frankly admitted today that one of these factors was the presence in Cairo of the United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold who is seeking to secure passage of Israeli cargo through the Suez Canal. His likely visit to Israel would make the resignation of the entire Cabinet at this juncture highly undesirable from a political point of view, even though it would only be a technical resignation.

The Premier was also said to feel that his delay of action on the Cabinet crisis would avoid the creation of a false impression abroad. By staying put, he is able to demonstrate that the majority supports him in the arms deal, though not the same majority which comprised the erstwhile coalition.

Inaction on the part of Mr. Ben Gurion until next week, when the submission of the Cabinet resignation is inevitable, may bring down the price which parties not represented now in the Cabinet would command for passive support of a caretaker government to be comprised of representatives of Ben Gurion’s Mapai Party and the Progressive Party, it is thought in some political circles here.

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