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Knesset Rejects Non-confidence Motion in Ben-gurion’s Government

The Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, rejected today by a vote of 60 to 24 a General Zionist motion of non-confidence in Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s Government over the long-simmering secondary school education crisis. There were six abstentions.

The crisis, which involved a struggle over teacher union recognition and higher pay levels, led to the resignation of Zalman Aranne as Minister of Education. All members of the coalition government voted against the non-confidence motion. The Communists and the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel abstained. Herut voted for the motion.

The General Zionists, which supported the Prime Minister in a Communist-sponsored vote of no-confidence on his meeting with West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, expressed regret that the Prime Minister was unable to persuade members of the Mapai, his own party, to accept Mr. Aranne’s recommendations in the school dispute. It was on this issue that he resigned.

Deputy Elimelech Rimalt, speaking for the General Zionists before the vote, argued that the Government must either endorse a Minister’s recommendations or accept his resignation. He cited the fact that Mr. Aranne had twice resigned, had refused to withdraw his resignation when the Government declined to accept it and yet the Government had taken no action. He called the situation “absurd.”

He asserted that Mr. Aranne had recognized the right of high school teachers to organize a separate union against the stand of the Mapai which supported the General Teachers Union. In this way, Mr. Rimalt said, the Education Minister had coped with the deadlock for 18 months but finally had been forced to resign when his own party gave him no cooperation.

BEN-GURION REFUTES CRITICISM OF OPPOSITION PARTIES

Herut Deputy Yaakov Meridor, in supporting the non-confidence motion, attacked the Government for not announcing the resignation of a Minister whose post, he contended, was now vacant. He said this undermined the prestige of the Knesset.

Mr. Ben-Gurion, replying, said the law did not set a time limit for announcement of the resignation of a Minister. He contended that since the resignation had not been accepted, it was not yet in effect.

Mr. Ben-Gurion also reminded the deputies that the Cabinet had named a Ministerial Committee to negotiate with all groups for a solution and he urged that the committee be given the opportunity to do so. He also recalled that the Knesset had adopted a resolution last month calling on the high school teachers to cancel their boycott of the Ministry of Education and to end the withholding of grades from students in support of their demands.

Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister who spoke as a member of the Material Committee, said the Government hoped for an early solution of the impasse.

Meanwhile it was reported today that Prime Minister Ben-Gurion will submit a bill to the Knesset making it mandatory for all civil service employees in this country to Hebraise their names. Mr. Ben-Gurion made that announcement here today to Israeli newspaper, some of whom he chided for retaining their original Western names.

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