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Ben Gurion Starts Talks with Mizrachists on Rejoining the Cabinet

Talks began today between Prime Minister David Ben Carion and leaders of the National Religious Party on the question of the religious party’s return to the coalition Government.

The religious bloc, made up of Mizrachi and Poale Mizrachi, quit the Government several months ago in a dispute over the definition of a Jew for identity card registration purposes. The majority voted then in favor of a liberal definition which would permit anyone declaring himself a bona fide Jew to be registered as such. The religious parties, backed by the Chief Rabbinate, insisted that Jewishness had to be defined according to Jewish law.

The talks which opened today were aimed at finding a definition acceptable to both sides. Observers said a final decision was likely before the end of the week when Moshe Shapira, religious party leader who quit as Minister of Religions in the dispute, was scheduled to leave for a visit to the United States.