Sharett Reported Refusing to Leave Cabinet; Ben Gurion Insistent

Strenuous efforts are being made within the Mapai Party to avoid a crisis which seems to be shaping up over Premier David Ben Gurion’s insistence that Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett quit his Cabinet post and take over the secretariat of the party, it was learned here today. All factions in the Mapai feel that the party needs a drastic-administrative overhaul to bring it into line behind the government and help solve major domestic issues.

Mr. Sharett is pictured as refusing to accept the job and as being upset by “machinations” which have deeply involved him without his prior consent. The entire Israel press is giving great prominence to reports about the conflict and to the reported opinions of various personages involved. All sources agree that a major party crisis may be in the offing.

Mrs. Golda Myerson, one of three prominent candidates considered for the job, has indicated that she would not accept the job, unless drafted for it. A party committee refused to consider transferring Levi Eshkol from his finance post. Mrs. Myerson, who has been suggested as a likely candidate for the foreign affairs post in the event Mr. Sharett takes over the party position, has delayed her departure for Geneva where she is scheduled to head an Israel delegation at a session of the international Labor Organization.

One “compromise” suggestion bruited about Mapai circles is for the formation of a “collective secretariat” consisting of Messrs. Ben Gurion, Sharett and Eshkol and Mrs. Myerson which would be in an advisory capacity to some other “strong personality” outside the Cabinet who would be assigned to head the party.

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