Israel Cabinet Adopts Plan to Postpone Identity Issue for One Year

The Israel Cabinet today adopted a compromise proposal which, it is hoped, would lead to the return into the Government of the members of the National Religious Party who resigned from the Cabinet because of differences of opinion on the definition of who is Jewish in the identity card for Israel citizens issued by the Ministry of Interior.

The proposal, which will be presented by Premier David Ben Gurion to the resigned religious members of his Cabinet for acceptance, provides that the entire identity card issue should be referred to a specially appointed public committee comprised of legal and rabbinical experts, as well as of sociologists and men of academic learning.

It is assumed that the committee would be occupied with the question of defining who is Jewish at least until August, 1959, when new elections are to take place. In the interim, the present coalition Cabinet will be restored by the return of the resigned Orthodox members.

In adopting the proposal, the Cabinet today met with strong opposition on the part of its leftist members. However, the proposal was approved, and it was decided that the Cabinet should reconvene on Tuesday, giving Premier Ben Gurion two days’ time to secure the acceptance of the compromise by the religious leaders. In the meantime, the Parliamentary debate on the resignations of the religious members from the Cabinet will resume tomorrow.

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