Ben Gurion Defends ‘narrow’ Coalition in Knesset Debate

Premier David Ben Gurion tonight defended his “narrow coalition “government and its proposed program and, in an address to the Knesset, blamed the General Zionists and the Mapam for the failure to form a broader based cabinet. A vote of confidence is expected to come during the early morning hours tomorrow and it is expected that the government will be upheld by a majority of 14 votes.

In a speech so free of bitterness toward the parties he held most responsible for the failure to form a broader coalition that it aroused speculation that he still had hopes of attracting at least the General Zionists into the coalition, the Premier presented a detailed picture of the inter party negotiations. He charged that the final reason for the General Zionist refusal to enter the Cabinet was that it wanted to exclude the Orthodox parties, to which the Mapai would not agree.

He expressed gratification that toward the end of the negotiations the centrists had reduced their demands for control over the supply and rationing machinery, but insisted that the Mapai would not compromise its policy of “a minimum for all before plenty for few.” He added that he felt that a system of free enterprise could not provide plenty for all.

The Premier reserved his heaviest attack for the proportional representation system. This he said, encouraged splinter parties and prevented a single majority party from forming a stable government.

ARAT DEPUTIES PRESENT CONDITIONS FOR SUPPORT OF CABINET

The five Arab members of the Israel parliament who are associated with the pro-government Mapai Party indicated earlier today that they are ready to support the newly formed Mapai Orthodox cabinet. However, they presented a 12-point program for the Israeli Arab population to the government.

Speaking for all the five, Seif Edin Zueibi called for a broadening of the program for reunion of Arabs in Israel with members of their families who are still outside of the country. He also demanded the return of property to local Arabs in Israel, the abolition of military government in certain areas in Israel, that Arabic should be the basic language in Arab schools and the establishment of more Arab schools in Israel.

The spokesman for the Arab deputies also requested “absolute equality” for Arabs in Israel, abolition of the trust which markets Arab products, more mechanization of Arab agriculture, more roads, and the re-establishment of the Arab religious bodies of the Waqf with the return of their properties.

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