Levi Eshkol Upbraids Erhard on German Scientists Helping Nasser
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Levi Eshkol Upbraids Erhard on German Scientists Helping Nasser

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Debate opened today in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, on the issue of West German scientists working on weapons in Egypt, after an address by Premier Levi Eshkol declaring that it was “inconceivable” that West Germany could not find ways to halt such activities. The Premier’s statement on the long simmering issue opened the winter session of the Knesset. It followed a comment by West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard, who had said that his Government had no legal means of recalling the scientists. Mr. Eshkol was challenged in the debate by Menahem Beigin, leader of the right-wing Herut party, and Elimelech Rimalt of the Liberal Party.

Mr. Eshkol warned against the “deceptive and dangerous illusions” stemming from the “moderation” shown recently by President Nasser of Egypt. He said that the “ostensibly restraining influence” which Nasser was exercising against demands of other Arab rulers for an attack on Israel was not motivated by a desire for a peaceful solution “but to fight under more convenient conditions.”

The Prime Minister then called on Chancellor Erhard’s Government to take “effective measures” to stop the work of the West German scientists “helping Nasser’s war machine.” It is enough, he said, “if we visualize the combination of blind Arab hatred with the murderous efficiency of Hitler’s days for the picture to become clear.”

He cited the condemnations of the activities by the scientists which he said were reiterated regularly in West German newspapers, radio and television, and by many leading West German personalities “but from a practical viewpoint, nothing changes. ” Calling Chancellor Erhard’s position on the issue “negative, ” the Premier emphasized forcefully that Israel was entitled to demand and to express its conviction that it was out of the question for German hands ever again to be raised against the Jewish people, and that this conviction “should sink deep into the minds and hearts of the entire German people.”

Mr. Beigin, in opening the debate, said that the “moderation” of the Israel Government on the issue had proved to be a failure. He also charged that the Government’s “readiness” to believe the Bonn Government’s “professions of intention” to take legal action against the scientists had proved “erroneous, ” He said the Israel Government had played “into the hands of Germany’s tactics of deception.”

Mr. Rimalt asserted that the Government had not acted on the issue because it lacked a clear position on whether the work of the scientists posed a “clear danger” to Israel outweighing other facets of Israel’s relations with West Germany.

David Hacohen, of the Mapai Party, urged a realistic view of Israel’s relations with West Germany. He took sharp issue with those counseling against any Israel-West German relations, urging that Israel “should remember the past forever, but live in the present.”

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