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Intellectuals Accuse Government of Failing to Pursue Peace with Arabs Mrs. Meir Flunks Critics on Fa

January 13, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Prime Minister’s office today released an exchange of messages between Premier Golda Meir and a group of professors and other individuals who accused her government of not doing enough to achieve peace with the Arabs, Mrs. Meir refused to meet with the group for an exchange of views. But she was willing to meet with another group of five professors who support the government’s policies.

Criticism of her policies was contained in a telegram signed by 32 professors from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University and others including Yascov Arnon, former director general of the Finance Ministry; Reserve Maj. Gen. Matityahu Peled; former State Comptroller Siegfried Moses, and several writers and actors. Their telegram, which was released to the press on the same day it was sent to the Premier, appealed to the government to put forward proposals which “without harming Israel’s security could serve as a realistic base for possible negotiations with Egypt.”

Mrs. Meir’s reply expressed regret that the critics failed to get the “correct facts” from her or from “competent elements” before making public charges. She said there were no grounds for the charge that the government was not doing enough for peace and said it had in fact already made proposals similar to those suggested by the petitioners for both an overall settlement and a partial settlement.


Prof. Don Patinkin of the Hebrew University who replied for the critics, said they were not an organized group but simply individuals who shared the concern expressed in their telegram. He asked for an opportunity to meet with the Premier, “to explain our views…and to hear your opinions on this question.”

Mrs. Meir replied that she saw no point in such a meeting, inasmuch as she had already accepted an invitation to address the social sciences faculty at Hebrew University. She offered to meet privately with Prof. Patinkin. The latter said he regarded her reply as negative and added that he didn’t know if his group would pursue the matter.

But Mrs. Meir agreed to see a group of five professors headed by Tel Aviv U president Yuval Nee-man who sent her a telegram requesting “an urgent meeting…in view of the attempt by a group of intellectuals to influence the government to change its stand and accept the Rogers plan and the Jarring dictate” (Feb. 8 memo).

Prof. Haim Hanani of Tel Aviv, one of the government’s supporters, said their message to Mrs. Meir was intended to correct the impression that the nation’s professors are a “defeatist group” ready to give up all of Israel’s political and military gains. He claimed that most teachers and students believe that Israel’s security depends on holding the Suez Canal line and other secure frontiers.

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