Formation of Mapai-orthodox Cabinet to Be Announced on Sunday

The announcement of the formation of a new Israel Cabinet was expected to be made in Parliament this afternoon by Premier David Ben Gurion, but the announcement was postponed until Sunday.

The delay was due to the fact that the central committee of the Mapai, Israel’s Labor Party, could not agree on who it’s additional representatives in the cabinet will be. The cabinet will be composed of members of Mapai and of three religious groups–Mizrachi, Mizrachi Laborites and the Agudath Israel. The Mapai, which had seven representatives in the previous government, will have ten in the new 14-member cabinet. Of the remainder, the Mizrachi Laborites will have two seats in the cabinet. Of the remainder, the Mizrachi Laborites will have two seats in the cabinet and the Mizrachi and Agudath Israel will each have one seat.

The Agudas Israel Workers Party agreed this afternoon to support the Mapai Orthodox coalition although it will not be allocated by any ministerial posts. The party agreed to accept a deputy ministership and possibly the position of Deputy Speaker of the Knesset.

COALITION CAN COMMAND 65 VOTES IN PARLIAMENT

With this line-up, the cabinet will command 65 of the 120 votes in the Israeli Parliament. This would include the votes of Arab members of Parliament affiliated with the Mapai and the two votes of the Agudah Laborites. The opposition can muster only 51 votes since the Progressive Party, with four deputies, has promised to abstain from voting against the government on crucial issues.

It was indicated here today that Premier Ben Gurion, in announcing the composition of the new cabinet on Sunday, will make it clear that the door is still open for the widening of the present coalition to include the General Zionists, providing that they would be willing to reduce their demands for major portfolios with the aim of securing control over the country’s economy.

The new cabinet, which is essentially the same as the old one, will be faced with the old problems which split Israel’s first government. These problems include the question of whether or not compulsory military service should be introduced for religious women, the importation of non-kosher meat and the education system. It was reported here today that the Mapai has agreed not to implement its amendment to the military service law which required observant women to enter the armed forces for limited duty. The status quo will be maintained on the issues of education and the importation of non-kosher meat.

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