TEL AVIV (Jul. 28)
With virtually all ballots, except those cast by members of the armed services on active duty, counted, the Mapai Party’s total stood today at 32 percent of the votes, plus another 2.7 percent cast for two Arab parties affiliated with the Labor Party. The soldier ballot count is not expected to be completed this week.
The Herut, now the second strongest party in the country, has captured over 13 percent of the vote, better than doubling its strength. The General Zionists moved into third place with 11 percent and the Religious Front, composed of the Mizrachi and Labor Mizrachi parties, stand at 9.5 percent. The Leachduth Avodah captured eight percent of the vote while the Mapam ended up with seven percent. The Agudah has five percent, the Progressives 4.6 percent and the Communists, four. The other slates received less than one percent of the total and, under the constitution, are not entitled to seats in the 120-member Parliament.
The anticipated distribution of seats in the Knesset is: Mapai, 40; Mapai-affiliated Arab parties, 4; Herut, 16; General Zionists, 14; Religious Front, 12; Agudah 6; Leachduth Avodah, 10; Mapam, 8; Progressives, 5; and Communists, 5.
Commenting on the drubbing which his party took, Dr. Peretz Bernstein, former Minister of Trade and leader of the centrist General Zionists, blamed the “unrestrained attack” by all parties on the General Zionists. He expressed disappointment in the results and said he thought the voters were “mistaken in their judgment.”
Arieh Ben Eliezer, Herut spokesman, jubilantly called the gains of his party a “voters’ revolt,” predicted that from here on the Mapai would decline in power and insisted that the election results were an indication of the general feeling of insecurity and isolation of Israel. He said that on the basis of the results the party would intensity its activities in the Zionists federations of all countries and would seek to capture the Zionist movement.
Golda Meirson, Mapai’s Labor Minister, expressed concern over the Herut’s gaining of seven percentage points. She blamed General Zionist and Leachduth Avodah attacks on the last Mapai-led government for the victory of the rightists.