JERUSALEM (Feb. 25)
Following the failure of Premier David Ben Gurion this week-end to conclude negotiations which would form either a stable coalition government with the Mapai and Religious Bloc, minus Interior Minister Moshe Shapira, or which would permit a temporary Mapai caretaker government until general elections can be held, it was reported today that Mr. Ben Gurion will present a brand new plan for Parliament’s approval tomorrow.
The proposal, it was learned, will call for the present coalition Cabinet to serve as a caretaker government until the elections, within important condition none of the parties in the government need assume collective responsibility for all government decisions. Thus, each policy would stand or fall on its ability to secure a majority in Parliament, with the strong possibility that coalition members might be voting against government policy. Also, votes of “no confidence” would not affect the day-to-day work of the Cabinet since it is already operating without majority support.
Since such a proposal does not run counter to whatever Israeli Constitutional law exists, it is expected that if the proposal meets with Knesset approval, President Weizmann will not press for a Cabinet change during the transition period.
MAPAI CHARGED WITH PLAYING “GAME” OF GENERAL ZIONISTS
Addressing a Progressive Party meeting last night, Minister of Justice Pinhas Rosen charged that “knowingly or unknowingly” the Mapai Party is playing “the game of the General Zionists.” He described that “game” as “a desire to form a coalition with the Mapai after the elections.”
Turning to an analysis of the role of the left-wing Socialist Mapam Party, Dr. Rosen insisted that it could not participate in any coalition government because of its demand for Israeli neutrality in the international conflict. Neutrality, he added, is possible only for such countries as Switzerland which are not members of the United Nations.
Concluding a two-day national conference at Ramat Gan last night the Maccabi movement decided to affiliate with the General Zionist Party. A committee was appointed by the parley to arrange the details of a final merger agreement.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet, at its regular weekly session, heard reports from Premier Ben Gurion on his visit to President Weizmann Wednesday on the government crisis and reports from the Premier and Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett on the visit of Gen. Sir Brian Robertson, commander-in-chief of British Middle East forces. The Cabinet discussed arrangements to be made with the British owners of the Haifa refineries relative to oil supplies for Israel requirements. It gave its approval to a bill making obligatory two years of agricultural service for Orthodox girls exempt from military service on religious grounds.