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Ben Gurion Sets Deadline for Religious Ministers to Rejoin Cabinet

Premier David Ben Gurion has set November 16 as the deadline for the return of the National Religious Party to the coalition government, he informed his Cabinet at a regular meeting yesterday.

If the religious ministers do not return by that date, he warned, he would Distribute their portfolios–which he now holds personally on a temporary basis–among the other Ministers. The portfolios previously held by religious leaders are Posts, and Religion and Social Welfare.

The religious elements in the Ben Gurion government walked out several months ago in the wake of a sharp disagreement widely known as “who is a Jew.” The religious party objected to a proposal that the government distribute identity cards permitting each resident to identify himself as a Jew on his own authority, without recourse to Jewish law or religious authority. The split left the Ben Gurion coalition in command of a tiny majority in Parliaments

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