TEL AVIV (Feb. 19)
President Chaim Weizmann today completed preliminary talks with leaders of the various political parties in Israel in an attempt to bring about the formation of a new coalition cabinet without resorting to general elections. He is expected to entrust Mr. Ben Gurion with the task of forming a new cabinet.
“The world at large,” he told the leaders of the political groups, “will not understand us and will be greatly surprised if we hold elections now.” The President appealed to the party leaders to solve the Cabinet crisis in a way which would permit the present government to continue its work “in face of the grave international complications and the internal political and economic difficulties.”
Although the leaders of almost all the major parties indicated to President Weizmann their preference for holding new general elections, it is taken for granted that the Cabinet which resigned last week will serve as a “caretaker Cabinet” until new elections are held. Should this be the case, a compromise may still be reached between the Mapai and the Religious Bloc–which together form a majority in the parliament–before the projected elections take place.
It was pointed out here today that it must take at least three months to prepare for new elections. Within three months, it is believed, Dr. Weizmann’s suggestions for a compromise may still find their way into acceptance. Both the Mapai leaders of the Religious Bloc are reported to have indicated to Dr. Weizmann their agreement to have the present Cabinet serve as an “interim Cabinet.” However, the Religious Bloc stipulated that no personal changes be made within the Cabinet.
The coming days in the parliament will show what course the various parties will take. Meanwhile, Rabbi Mordecai Nurok, speaking on behalf of the Religious Bloc, told President Weizmann that his group may agree to the solution of the present crisis without holding elections, considering the present difficult situation which the country faces. A Mapai spokesman told representatives of the press that his party will insist that the outgoing government continue as “caretaker cabinet” until after the national elections.