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Ben-gurion Lashes out at Eshkol; Fails to Win Kibbutzim on His Proposal

January 11, 1967
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Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion lashed out again today at the government of his successor, Levi Eshkol, at a meeting of the Mapai-sponsored kibbutz movement and was in turn criticized as a divisive element in the Mapai party.

He accused the Premier and his colleagues of being “people of no honor,” charged again that Premier Eshkol was not fit for the Premiership and that the Israeli Government had failed in its two most important functions — ingathering and security. He told the meeting of the Ichud Hakvutzot Vehakibbutzim that it was not enough to buy arms but that it was also essential to acquire friends. This, he charged, Premier Eshkol had not done.

He also said that the postwar emergency immigration had ended and Russia’s doors for Jewish emigration were not yet open. Israel’s only hope for additional newcomers, therefore, was from the free world but this, he declared, could be achieved only when Jews were given a vision and a mission concerning Israel. As long as there were “untruthful” people at the helm of Israel’s Government, he stated, people would not come.

He was challenged by members of the movement who called him “the man who initiated the split in Mapai,” a reference to Mr. Ben-Gurion’s formation last year of the dissident Israel Workers Party (Rafi). Another critic told him that “you have created the state and won the war of liberation but we do not agree you know everything.”

One of the main reasons for Mr. Ben-Gurion’s appearance was to win support for his renewed campaign for a change in Israel’s electoral system aimed at doing away with the nation’s multiplicity of political parties. After five hours discussion of the proposal, the former Premier failed to win support.

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