Monday, November 26, 2012

Government Protocols, July 25-28 1948

The cabinet convened twice during the week of July 21, 1948. No meeting since the creation of the state two months earlier had resembled a standard cabinet meeting - assuming there is a standard - and the meetings this week were no exception. The state and its administration were still at war, and also still organizing themselves, and everything the cabinet discussed reflected this. Thus, the first item on the agenda of July 21 was about setting up a committee of five cabinet members to run the war (the topic was ultimately put off for a later meeting). A series of ministers raised various questions about how things were to be run:
* Why is the IZL (Irgun) still running a radio station? (The Minister of the Interior answered: they didn't ask anyone.)

* Is there an official censor (the Minister of the Interior: there should be one in my ministry but there seems to be one in the Ministry of Defense - to be discussed later.)

* Is it alright that anyone can broadcast without a license? (Interior: Ask the police or justice minister.)

* Shouldn't the Minster of Justice bring a list of judges? (Ben Gurion: that's a statement, not a question.)
Ben Gurion announced there would soon be a military parade in Tel Aviv.

Then there was a discussion about the territories taken during the hostilities and their Arab inhabitants. It was decided to appoint a ministerial committee to make particular decisions. In the meantime, however, Arabs who left would not be allowed back, as a general rule with possible exceptions. The Ministry of Finance would manage unclaimed property. An inquiry would be made into the reasons for the departure of the Arab population. The ministerial committee would have the authority to destroy empty villages. A military commander would be appointed to administer the territories.

The meeting then dealt with the ongoing process of moving authority from the Jewish Agency to the government. It was also decided to hold two regular weekly cabinet meetings, one for practical discussions and the other for general discussions. (Good luck with keeping that distinction!)

On the 25th, Aharon Zisling, Minister of Agriculture, wanted to know why the censor had shut down the left-leaning Al Hamishmar newspaper. Ben Gurion explained, but other ministers demanded the subject be urgently discussed at an upcoming meeting. (This was the censor in the Ministry of Defense, in case you were wondering: Ben Gurion was the minister there.)

Most of the meeting focused on Jerusalem. It was determined that a military governor be appointed for the city, but the cabinet would closely follow decisions regarding the city. Ministries were encouraged to set up offices in Jerusalem.

Near the end of the meeting there was another discussion about the censor. The Minister of the Interior was told to prepare a paper on the matter.

No comments:

Post a Comment