Knesset Votes to Strengthen Israel’s Security; Kennedy’s Stand Noted
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Knesset Votes to Strengthen Israel’s Security; Kennedy’s Stand Noted

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The Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, tonight adopted a resolution calling upon the Israel Government to strengthen the deterrent power of the country’s armed forces and to increase the security of the border settlements, in the light of the renewed Arab threats against Israel and the tense situation in the Middle East.

The resolution was adopted following a speech by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion which completed the debate on Israel’s foreign policy, started last week. The Israeli Prime Minister said that he shared President Kennedy’s desire–as expressed at his press conference in Washington last Wednesday–to halt the arms race in the Middle East. However, Mr. Ben-Gurion added, as long as the United States and the Soviet Union cannot achieve concerted action about the Middle East situation, and as long as the U. S. is unable to halt the flow of Soviet arms to Egypt and other Arab states, the halting of the arms race in the region only meant denying defensive weapons to Israel.

Mr. Ben-Gurion said he was confident the United States President will understand that, under the present circumstances, Israel had no alternative but to engage in all-out increase of the deterrent power of its armed forces.


Mr. Ben-Gurion’s conclusion of the foreign debate, followed by the Knesset decision, came after the Knesset had been adjourned for three hours by Kadish Luz, Speaker of the Parliament, due to an uproar that followed an attack by Mr. Ben-Gurion against the right-wing Herut Party.

Mr. Ben-Gurion had spoken only about two minutes, and was replying to anti-Government criticisms by Haim Landau, of Herut, when he told the Knesset: “I confess I don’t share the concepts of Mr. Landau and his colleagues about Germany.” He was referring to Herut’s claim that the Government did not act forthrightly against the Egyptian employment of German scientists for armament development. “I did not share with them (Herut).” the Premier continued, “when they praised and exalted the name of Hitler.”

Menahem Beigin, leader of the Herut, arose, shouting: “Stoolpigeon! Collaborator!” Other members of Herut yelled invectives. Mr. Luz tried to restore order, as the entire Knesset broke into an uproar, and ordered Mr. Ben-Gurion to proceed. But the members of Herut demanded apologies. The Prime Minister was heckled for about eight minutes as he tried to go on with his speech, and Mr. Luz adjourned the House.

During the three-hour recess, efforts was made to get Mr. Ben-Gurion to withdraw his charges against Herut, based on some writings dating back to 1933. At first, Mr. Ben-Gurion refused to retract. However, he was finally convinced by the Knesset presidium, and he did tell the House after the session was resumed that he “withdraws” the criticism against Herut.

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