JERUSALEM (Jul. 17)
The Cabinet authorized Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion today to invite Benjamin Mintz, leader of the Poalei Agudat Israel party, to join the Cabinet as Minster of Posts. Participation of the Orthodox workers party in the Government Coalition is expected to be announced tomorrow in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament.
This will be the first time that Poalei Agudat Israel takes part in the Government although the parent body. Agudat Israel, did participate in previous Cabinets when Rabbi I. M. Levine was Minister of Social Welfare.
Mr. Mintz, a former journalist, and currently Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, is reported to have promised Mr. Ben-Gurion his party’s support for the electoral reforms the Premier is seeking to introduce. Premier Ben-Gurion tried unsuccessfully to introduce during the last Knesset a district representation system in place of the country’s proportional representation.
The ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel faction bitterly criticized Mr. Mintz for his action in joining the Government. Agudah leaders had organized protest meetings during the negotiations between Premier Ben-Gurion and Poalei Agudat Israel. Cabinet approval for the new Minister was obtained over the objections of Mapam and Ahdut Avodah Ministers.
National Religious party Ministers, who were lukewarm toward the inclusion of Poalei Agudat Israel in the Government coalition, supported the invitation to Mr. Mintz with the understanding that the Cabinet voting balance would be unchanged as far as they were concerned, since the new Minister is filling a post held heretofore by Mapai.