TEL AVIV (Apr. 17)
Former Prime Minister David Ben Gurion has turned down invitations to attend the Independence Day Parade on May 14 and to deliver the principal address at a festive session of the Knesset (Parliament) on that occasion, it was reported today. Mr. Ben Gurion also has refused to accept the “Israel’s Award” which was to be conferred on him at Independence Day ceremonies in recognition of his lifetime’s service to Israel and his role in founding the State.
The 82-year-old Israeli-leader gave no reason for rejecting the Invitations which included the honor of inaugurating the independence Day celebrations by igniting the first fire on Mt. Herzl. Sources here indicated however that the former Prime Minister was piqued by the proposal to grant him “Just another Israel’s Award.” Eleven awards are given each Independence Day to scientists, scholars, artists and stage actors who have achieved prominence in their fields.
In a letter to the Minister of Education who is responsible for the awards, Mr. Ben Gurion said: “I am told I am to receive Israel’s Award for my lifelong devotion to Israel. I see no reason for such an award. All I did was to fulfill my duty to my country just as tens of thousands of others did,” Mr. Ben Gurion suggested that the Minister find another suitable recipient for his award.