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Israel Groups Engaged in Discussions of Cabinet Expansion

The General Zionist Party is still ready to enter the coalition government provided the Mapai Party abandons its “one-sided and partial policy,” General Zionist leaders told a mass meeting here. Dr. Peretz Bernstein reported on the breakdown in negotiations between the centrists and the Laborites.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Party executive has decided to begin negotiations with the Mapai for entrance into the Cabinet, but pointed out the entrance into the negotiations does not mean that the party is definitely committed to joining the coalition. A resolution by the Progressive executive called for “basic changes in many important spheres” of Israeli life and urged the establishment of a broad coalition which would embrace all forces in the state capable of working for the country’s benefit, and in which private industry would be represented to the same extent that it contributes to the state’s economy.

Premier David Ben Gurion today met with Rabbi Abraham J. Kerlitz, 90-year-old sage and religious authority, to discuss application of Jewish law and Torah lore to the problem of the conscription of Orthodox women. No results of the one-hour meeting are known, but during the conference numerous religious books were brought into the conference room for reference purposes.

Premier Ben Gurion arrived in Bnei Brak, home village of the sage, wearing a distinctive white hat. Thousands of Chassidim gathered in front of Rabbi Kerlitz’ home hours before the Premier arrived and remained there throughout the conference. Later, Mr. Ben Gurion was received by the religious community’s municipal council.

A new party, called Leachduth Hauman (National Unity) has made its appearance on the Israel political scene. It is headed by Dr. Jacob Gil, former British Army chaplain and General Zionist deputy in the first Israel Parliament, who has attacked the recent Bernstein-Ben Gurion talks for broadening of the Cabinet as a “comedy.”

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