Israel’s Cabinet Crisis Deadlocked; Most Parties Reject Ben Gurion’s Proposal
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Israel’s Cabinet Crisis Deadlocked; Most Parties Reject Ben Gurion’s Proposal

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The Cabinet crisis reached a deadlock today when leaders of all major political parties in Israel–with the exception of the pro-government Mapai party–announced in Parliament their rejection of the proposal made last night by David Ben Gurion for the formation of a seven-man “caretaker Cabinet” which should remain in power until new elections. (At the time that the Bulletin went to press a vote had not yet been taken.)

Originally, Ben Gurion suggested the formation of an eight-member Cabinet even of whom should be members of the Mapai, the Israel Labor Party, and the eighth to be Behar Shetreet, leader of the Sephardic community. Later however, he altered his proposal limiting it to a seven-member Cabinet all of whom would be Mapai members.

At today’s session of the Parliament his proposal was rejected in addresses believered by Israel Bar Yehudah on behalf of Mapam, the left-wing Socialist Party; (##)orach Warhaftig on behalf of the Religious Bloc; Menahem Beigin for the Herut Party; (##)tzhak Harari on behalf of the Progressive Zionists and Yosef Saphir for the General Zionists. Speaking in favor of Mr. Ben Gurion’s proposal were Mapai deputies, led by (##)incas Lubianiker.

Mr. Ben Gurion himself last night left the Parliament session to review the military maneuvers in his capacity as Minister of Defense. He was expected to return to Jerusalem in time for the conclusion of today’s Parliamentary discussion. Prior to his departure he asked the Parliament to pass without delay a law providing a procedure for new elections. He envisaged that the elections could be carried out after two months.


Informed Parliamentary circles foresee the possibility of President Weizmann asking Pinhas Rosen, Minister of Justice, to form a new Cabinet. Dr. Rosen is a Progressive and it is thought that he may have the support of the Mapai, the General Zionists and the Orthodox groups. Should Dr. Rosen also fail to form a new Cabinet, President Weizmann will dissolve the Parliament and the outgoing Cabinet will continue until after the new elections.

The Religious Bloc last night suggested to Mapai leaders that they influence Mr. Ben Gurion not to bring his proposal for a seven-man Cabinet to the Parliament, and postpone his move at least for one week in order to allow more time for inter-party talks. However, the Mapai leaders rejected the suggestion terming it as “over late.”

In a statement explaining the “background” of the crisis, the Religious Bloc asserted that its leaders were still in session last Sunday discussing the Cabinet situation when they received a summons from President Weizmann to proceed to Rehovot “where they learned of Mr. Ben Gurion’s resignation.” The Orthodox group also charged that in presenting his Cabinet reshuffle, the Premier indicated that it must be accepted or rejected completely, without the “slightest negotiation.”

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