Israel President Starts Consultations on Formation of Cabinet

Israel President Itzhak Ben Zvi began consultations today with the representatives of various parties, looking toward the formation of a new government to replace the Cabinet of Premier Moshe Sharett which resigned yesterday. The Sharett Cabinet will remain as a caretaker government until a new coalition is forged.

First to visit the President were members of the Mapai leadership, who told him they were ready to participate in the broadest possible coalition, excluding only the Herut and the Communists. They also conditioned their readiness to lead a coalition upon the principle of collective responsibility–namely that each member party of the coalition most support in Parliament whatever legislation the government proposes.

After the Labor Party leaders, representatives of the Mizrachi and Hapoel Hamizrachi called on Mr. Ben Zvi and expressed their willingness to join a coalition including all parties except the Communist. They wanted a government which would pledge that “the Jewish way of life” would be fostered in Israel. Also they demanded that there be freedom for religious Jews to select the schools to which their children went and the type of settlement in which they would reside, and that there be “freedom of self-expression” in the country. They suggested that the representatives of the largest party (Mapai) be asked to form a government.

The Progressive leadership called on the President next and also urged a broad coalition excluding only the Communists. The President is scheduled to meet late today with the General Zionists and the Agudah parties, and with the other party leaderships tomorrow.

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