Israel Parliament Paves Way for Ben Gurion Cabinet Reshuffle

The Israel Parliament today paved the way for Premier David Ben Gurion’s Cabinet reshuffle by enacting the “transition law” permitting the Prime Minister to replace a minister who resigns or is unable to perform his duties without submitting the Cabinet’s resignation and without seeking a new vote of confidence. The house gave the measure its second and final readings today.

The right-wing Herut Party voted with the Government coalition forces in support of the measure. The General Zionists abstained from voting and the left-wing Mapam Party and Communists opposed it.

Mr. Ben Gurion is now expected to announce important Cabinet changes almost immediately. Announcement of the changes had been delayed by a decision of the Premier’s Mapai Party’s political committee which sought to avoid exposure of the government to criticism on constitutional grounds which would have resulted had the changes been announced prior to adoption of the transition law.

The Premier is expected to announce that Eliezer Kaplan, who is resigning the Finance portfolio because of continued poor health, will assume the new post of Vice-Premier. He will be succeeded by Levi Eshkol who will become Minister of Finance and Development. Mr. Eshkol’s present portfolio, Agriculture, will go to Dr. Peretz Naphtali, currently Minister without portfolio. Chaim Cohen, the Attorney General, will become Justice Minister, assuming one of the two portfolios previously held by Dr. Dov Joseph, Minister of Trade.

The appointment of Levi Eshkol to head the Finance Ministry requires his replacement as Jewish Agency treasurer, the Agency announced today. Dr. George Josephthal will assume the treasury post, with the assistance of Moshe Kol, who will serve as co-treasurer.

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