TEL AVIV (Sep. 3)
The Mapai Party convention was concluded this weekend with a ringing call to the people of Israel to be prepared and alert. The appeal proclaimed Israel’s right to act in self-defense in the face of any hostile act by its neighbors.
The convention tackled the highly controversial question of cost-of-living allowances, the supplementary pay allowance based on cost of living indices. Mapai officials in the Government, led by Premier David Ben Gurion, had pressed for revision of the existing system whereby the allowances are adjusted to the index figures every three months. The revision was opposed by trade union leaders.
After heated debate, the convention adopted a resolution accepting the need for revision but placing it in the hands of the party’s newly-elected central committee with instructions to work out a new system within two months.
The convention gave full backing to Premier Ben Gurion on the Suez Canal issue. It voted a resolution declaring that “as long as Israel is not assured of free navigation of the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, peace and quiet in this area cannot be established.” It criticized the London conference on the Suez Cannal for the failure to invite Israel.
It sharply attacked Krishna Menon, the Indian envoy, charging that his “open discrimination” against Israel overshadowed his government’s professions for peace and equality.
The convention “deplored” violation of Article 8 of the Israel-Jordanian armistice agreement which calls for free access to the Holy Places and free passage and use of the Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital buildings. It declared that the inaction of the United Nations on these questions compels the Israel Government to take steps to ensure its rights.
Another resolution called on the Soviet Government to grant its Jewish population the same rights as other minorities in the Soviet Union–the right to educate its childred in Hebrew or Yiddish and the right to establish cultural and educational institutions. It voiced hope that all the countries of Eastern Europe would permit every Jew eager to emigrate to Israel to do so.
The convention expressed belief that Israel’s links with the Jews of the world were of the utmost importance. It urged the Israel Government and the Zionist Organization to promote cultural ties between Israel and the Jews of the world.
The convention elected Dr. Giora Josephthal, treasurer of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, as secretary general of the Mapai Party. His successor in the Jewish Agency post has not yet been announced.