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Five Cabinet Members Injured by Madman’s Bomb in Knesset

October 30, 1957
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Five members of the Israel Government, including Premier David Ben Gurion, were injured today when a deranged immigrant threw a home made bomb into the Parliament of Israel. The explosion occurred at 5:15 P. M. local time. (10:15 A. M., New York time).

Mr. Ben Gurion suffered superficial wounds of both hands and the left leg, and Mrs. Golda Meir, Foreign Minister, was hit in the left foot by a bomb splinter. Both were hospitalized overnight for observation.

Minister of Religion Moshe Shapira was the most seriously hurt, suffering wounds of the abdomen and head. He was carried out of the Knesset chamber bleeding profusely. An emergency operation was performed this evening. (At the time the Daily Bulletin went to press, Mr. Shapira had been in the operating room for over three hours.)

Minister of Transport Moshe Carmel suffered a broken right arm and his left hand was hit by a splinter. He was hospitalized. Israel Barzilai, Minister of Health, was injured slightly but was not hospitalized.


The bomb-thrower, 25-year-old Moshe Douek, an immigrant from Iraq, who hurled the explosive missile from the visitors’ gallery of the Knesset Chamber, allegedly confessed to the police tonight. Arresting officers, who nabbed him moments after the blast rocked the building, rescued him from visitors who wanted to lynch the young man.

When he was questioned, it was reported, he babbled complaints against the Jewish Agency, Youth Aliyah and the Israeli authorities whom he held responsible for “losing a million.” Police officials said that Douek had been in a mental institution previously and had attempted to set fire to a bed in the Beilinson Hospital when he was a patient there.

Eye-witnesses reported that after the bomb went off, every deputy and Minister in the House ducked under a chair or table until it became apparent that the attack was over. The Premier, described by one admirer as “the calmest man in the House,” picked himself off the floor and walked into the lobby. Dr. Ben Zion Harel, a General Zionist deputy and a physician, immediately gave first aid treatment to the wounded.

As police reconstructed the incident, Douek’s projectile bounced off the Speaker’s rostrum and rolled under the Cabinet table which absorbed much of the force of the blast, probably saving the lives of the Ministers. Mizrachi deputy Yitzhak Raphael was speaking on foreign policy when the bomb was thrown. Shards picked up after the Knesset was evacuated indicated that the bomb was painted red.


The Knesset was cordoned off tonight as a huge crowd collected after the news of the bombing broke.

Three hours after the bomb throwing the Knesset resumed its session and continued the foreign policy debate. Speaker Joseph Sprinzak intervened to report on condition of the five who had been injured. Then Mr. Raphael took up where he had been interrupted.

Earlier, during the recess, President Ben Zvi had inspected the scene and congratulated the Ministers who narrowly escaped injury and death. He also called at the hospital to express his best wishes to Mrs. Meir and Messers Ben Gurion and Carmel.

Eliahu Elath, Israeli Ambassador to London, narrowly escaped death as he walked out of the Knesset minutes before the explosion. He had been sitting in a special section reserved for distinguished visitors located directly behind the Cabinet table. The seat which he had occupied was smashed.

(Switchboards at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency offices in New York and London were taxed to capacity today with calls from individuals, newspapers and organizations seeking information about the bombing. A newspaper as far away as San Francisco and Hamilton, Ontario, called the JTA in New York for details.)

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