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Israeli Elections to Be Held Jan. 25; Census Shows 477,000 Eligible to Vote

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The Israeli State Council unanimously decided last night to hold national elections Jan. 25. The decision was taken after Interior Minister Itzhak Gruenbaum revealed that on the basis of the completed population census, a total of 477,000 residents will be entitled to cast their ballots in the Jewish state’s first elections.

Gruenbaum announced that identity cards for voters will be issued by January, at the latest. The central elections supervision committee will be made up of four Mapai members, two from Mapam, two Revisionists, and one each from Agudas Israel and Poalei Agudas Israel, WIZO, the Communists, General Zionists, Yamenites and Sephardic community.

Israeli Army officers will be permitted to address election meetings during the forthcoming election campaign, it was announced today. They will not, however, be permitted to speak in uniform. By a 29-7 vote, the Council approved a kosher food ordinance for the Israeli Army which guarantees that all religious soldiers are to receive kosher food. The Ministers of Defense and Religion were instructed to carry out the new law.

At a closed night session, the Council endorsed the government’s policy in the Negev. The Communist, Mapam and Revisionist members insisted that the Israelis should continue to hold all positions occupied in the Negev fighting. Premier David Ben Gruion, in summing up the government’s policy, asserted: “Our policy is a policy of deeds, not of declarations.” He also revealed that the chief request that the U.N. observers have made to the Israelis in the Negev was to open the road leading to the Egyptians trapped in the Faluja pocket.

Replying to a question, Hen Gruion stated that a thorough investigation was being made into charges that the Arab population in the Negev and Galilee had suffered at the hands of Israeli troops in instances not linked to actual fighting.

When Israel’s capital is finally selected–Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Haifa–a world-wide competition among architects will be announced to determine the blueprint for the permanent Israeli seat of government. This was made known today by Shlomo Arazi, chief engineer for Hakiryah, the present official seat of the government. Arazi predicted that under any circumstances Hakiryah–the former German colony Sarona–would continue to serve as the capital for several years.

Currency in circulation in Israel at present time already exceeds $116,000,000, it was announced here by the Angle-Palestine Bank issue department.

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