Ben Gurion Proposes Formation of “caretaker Cabinet” Pending New National Elections
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Ben Gurion Proposes Formation of “caretaker Cabinet” Pending New National Elections

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David Ben Gurion who has been entrusted by President Dr. Chaim Weizmann with the formation of a new Israel Cabinet today proposed the formation of a “caretaker Cabinet” which is to remain in power until new elections. The proposal was presented by Mr. Ben Gurion to a session of Parliament which resumed meeting today after a recess of several weeks. (The Knesset was still in session and had reached no decision on the Cabinet at the time the Bulletin went to press.)

The proposed “caretaker Cabinet” would consist of eight members, seven of whom are members of the Mapai, the Israel Labor Party. The seven are: Mr. Ben Gurion, Moshe Sharett, Eliezer Kaplan, Dov Joseph, David Remez, Golda Myerson and Zalman Shazar. The eighth member would be Behor Shetreet, leader of the Sephardic community.

Before presenting the names of his “caretaker government,” Mr. Ben Gurion reviewed the events leading to his decision to throw the issue into the House. He reported his decision to add a 13th Cabinet member outside the coalition–Jack Gering, South African Jew and a non-party man. He said that he had taken this and other problems before the Cabinet for approval last week, but got no decision. The Religious Bloc, he said, asked until Sunday to reply, and when they failed to do so he asked President Weizmann to call together the representatives of all parties in an attempt to form a new government.


Speaking of his government’s program, the Premier emphasized that “we deny that either full capitalism or full socialism” is possible in Israel. He insisted that both courses have always been present in the country. He warned that “there will never be a government in this country which will dare move from this line.”

During the morning, prior to the opening of Parliament, a short Cabinet meeting and hectic consultations among the representatives of all parties brought no concrete results. The Religious Bloc leaders continued to insist that they would accept to “ultimatum” from the Premier and asked that the entire matter be delayed for a week. They also asked for the portfolios of Deputy Minister of Education and Trade.

The Mapam, left-wing Socialist party, would not enter any government based on the same program as the one which just fell, but its representatives said that if the Mapai and the left-wing Socialists could agree on a policy, the latter would enter a broad coalition Cabinet. Dr. Peretz Bernstein, General Zionist leader, expressed willingness to join the Cabinet if his party were awarded three portfolics, including that of Trade and Industry.

An urgent meeting of Mapai leaders late last night–attended by Premier Ben Gurion, Finance Minister Kaplan, Communications Minister Remez, labor Minister Myerson and Supply Minister Joseph–decided to give a “free hand” to Mr. Ben Gurion in his efforts to form a new Cabinet.

In a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Immigration Minister Moshe Shapiro–a leader of the Religious Bloc–said that the only solution to the present crisis is the holding of new Parliamentary elections.

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