JERUSALEM (Jul. 19)
Premier David Ben Gurion was reported here today as having decided to discontinue his efforts to form a new Cabinet after meeting during the week-end with leaders of the General Zionists and other opposition groups and hearing their negative attitude to support a “minority government” to be composed of the Mapai, Progressives and neutral experts.
It is expected that he will report his unsuccessful efforts to President Itzhak Ben Zvi, whereupon the only possibility remaining is to continue the resigned Cabinet as a caretaker government till the national elections in November.
Mr. Ben Gurion placed the blame yesterday for Israel’s current government crisis on the proportional representation system which, he said, deprived members of the Knesset, Israel Parliament, of any feeling of direct responsibility to the voters.
Now heading a shattered coalition caretaker regime and seeking support for a minority government to run the country until general elections on November 3 establish a new government basis, Mr. Ben Gurion told the election committee of his Mapai Party that the election system must be changed to a regional, constituency system in which Knesset members would have direct and personal contact with their electors. Under the present system, he asserted, the elected deputies had no feeling of direct responsibility to the voters and the Knesset was detached from the nation.
Abba S. Eban, former Israel Ambassador to the United States and a Parliamentary candidate on the Mapai slate, was warmly greeted when he appeared at the meeting in an open-collar shirt instead of his customary formal attire. Mr. Ben Gurion introduced him as “the greatest emissary of the Jewish people since the death of Dr. Weizmann.”
The former envoy’s career on the political platform had been launched earlier in the day when he addressed a Mapai Party rally of middle-class settlers in southern Israel. He told them that Israel’s sovereignty and existence were assured by virtue of the fact that the nations of the world shared the fear that any local outbreak might lead to world war and that, therefore, the status quo would be maintained in the Middle East, Korea and Berlin.
At a public meeting today Mr. Eban voiced a plea to end wrangling with world Jewry. He stressed that the current ideological controversy was both unrealistic and redundant. Speaking to an overflow audience at his first appearance in Jerusalem since his return from his tour of duty in the U.S., Mr. Eban said there was no fear that Jews in countries outside of Israel would neglect Israel.