JERUSALEM (Jan. 1)
President Itzhak Ben Zvi entrusted David Ben Gurion today with the task of forming a new government. The President acted after he held for mal discussions on a new Cabinet with representatives of every party in Parliament, as required by Israeli law.
The President told the Premier that the most desirable government for Israel would be one representing the widest possible coalition. Failing that, he suggested, Mr. Ben Gurion to re-establish the five-party partnership which ruled Israel until Mr. Ben Gurion’s resignation yesterday. If neither is possible, he said, the Premier should set up Cabinet with a working majority.
Accepting the summons, Mr. Ben Gurion expressed the hope that he would be able to setup a government to serve until the end of the Knesset term in August 1959. He would endeavor the Premier pledged, to obtain a government committed to collective responsibility and secrecy regarding foreign and security affairs.
It is expected that by next Monday Mr. Ben Gurion will be ready to present to Parliament a Cabinet based on a “small coalition” of the Mapai, Progressives and Mizrachi Poale Mizrachi with the two Agudist parties abstaining. In that event the Cabinet could expect a 61 vote support against 53 in the opposition.
DOOR LEFT OPEN FOR POSSIBLE RETURN OF LEFTIST GROUPS TO CABINET
It is generally assumed here that the Ministers returning to the Cabinet will hold their sane portfolios and that the four held previously by the Mapam and Achdut Avoda will be distributed on a temporary basis with the understanding that they would be available to the left st if they returned to the fold.
Most observers believe that Mr. Ben Gurion cannot hold a “small coalition” together very long. It is reported that the parties within it have given him another month to either regain the leftists or obtain the entrance of the General Zionists, now in the right-wing opposition. In the event neither possibility pans out, he is expected to dissolve and go to the nation in an election.
In his formal letter of resignation, Mr. Ben Gurion asserted that his action had been forced by the serious nature of the injury done to the security of the state and its international standing ‘ by the behavior of the Achdut Avoda–its “leaking” of details of a mission to Bonn. He was, said Mr. Ben Gurion, prepared to let bygones be bygones and had concentrated his efforts on preventing such occurrences in the future, but regrettably his efforts had failed.
The Premier expressed surprise that the Mapam had followed the Achdut Avoda’s lead and termed it a “strange association.” He disclosed that these two parties had tried in the past to set up a “government within the government.”
LEFTISTS GIVEN 10 DAYS TO ACCEPT PREMIER BEN GURION’S TERMS
Mr. Ben Gurion asserted that his government had attempted to strengthen ties with all countries which helped strengthen Israel’s security and development, enabled their Jewish communities to share in the upbuilding of Israel and allowed Jews to emigrate there. Therefore, the Premier’s letter to the President stated, he was shocked by Madam’s “deplorable hint that we had made an attempt to take sides against a particular state.”
A statement issued by Ben Gurion’s Mapai Party executive implied that the party expects once more to lead a new coalition government. Approving the Premier’s decision to resign the statement said that “the platform of the present government” should be continued, with arrangements for improved secrecy and the collective responsibility of all partners to the coalition.
A spokesman for the left-wing Mapam Party revealed that Mr. Ben Gurion had told the left-wing party that the government could be reestablished with the same party composition in the next eight or ten days. (The resignation of Premier Ben Gurion did not slam the door on efforts to reconcile the Mapai party and the two leftists parties in the coalition government which Mr. Ben Gurion’s resignation overturned, the Times of London said today citing Mapai party leader, Dr. Giora Josephthal at its source.)