New 13-member Israel Cabinet Announced in Parliament

Premier David Ben Gurion today presented to the Israel Parliament a list of his newly-formed 13-member cabinet, composed of nine members of the Mapai Party and four members of religious groups. A vote of confidence in the composition of the new cabinet will be taken tomorrow at the conclusion of the parliamentary debate, which began today following the Premier’s presentation of his ministers.

The members of the new cabinet are: Mr. Ben Gurion, Premier and Defense Minister; Moshe Sharett, Foreign Minister; Eliezer Kaplan, Finance Minister; Golda Myerson, Minister of Labor; Behar Shitreet, Minister of Internal Security; Levi Eshkol, Minister of Agriculture and Development; Dr. Peretz Naphtali, Minister without portfolio to handle Economic Co-ordination; Prof. Ben Zion Dinaburg, Minister of Education and Culture. Dr. Dov Joseph will hold the portfolios of Trade and Industry and of Justice. These nine ministers are members of the Mapai Party.

The members of the cabinet representing the religious groups are Moshe Shapiro, Minister of Interior and Minister for Religious Affairs; David Pinkas, Minister of Communications; Rabbi I.M. Lewin, Minister for Social Welfare; and, Dr. Joseph Burg, Health Minister.

During a 40-minute address in which he presented the list of ministers and outlined his new government’s policy, Mr. Ben Gurion said that the government would strive to increase output in both the agricultural and industrial fields to assure the population adequate supplies of all sorts of products. He also promised to improve the efficiency of the government apparatus.

The Premier announced that the parties in the coalition had agreed to accept collective responsibility for the government’s policies, and pledged equal rights in the question of wages and employment to the Arab population. Touching on his government’s foreign policy, he reiterated one of its basic foundations–willingness to sign peace treaties with the neighboring Arab states.

The debate was begun by the General Zionist leader, Dr. Peretz Bernstein, who assailed the Mapai’s refusal to give his party top economic posts in the government and announced that the centrists would vote against the government. A similar announcement was made by Mapam leader Meir Yaari who assailed the Premier’s party for abandoning its pledge of attempting to achieve “Socialism in our times” by the formation of a government with the religious parties.

The Ministers who left the Cabinet were Mapai leader Pinhas Lavon, who gave up the Ministry of Agriculture, Mizrachi leader Rabbi Judah L. Maimon, who formerly held the post of Minister of Religions, and Dr. Pinhas Rosen, leader of the Progressives, who gave up the Ministry of Justice.

NEXT STORY