JERUSALEM (Jan. 24)
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion will extend his vacation and will not return to his desk before the end of February, it was announced here today. Originally his vacation–set for six weeks–was to have ended next week.
Leaders of Mr. Ben-Gurion’s Mapai party, upon learning of his intention to stay away from Jerusalem for another month, today indicated that Mapai will send a delegation to him, composed mostly of members of the “central fraction” of the party, with the view to persuading him to return to his office of Premiership without preliminary conditions.
It was reported that Mr. Ben-Gurion’s vacation period had been extended because the Prime Minister actually began his rest period only last week. During the prior weeks, he was in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, attending official duties as Prime Minister and Defense Minister, as well as being involved in Mapai policy meetings over his fight against Pinhas Lavon, Histadrut’s Secretary-General.
The Prime Minister had announced his vacation in terms of an ultimatum to his Cabinet to reverse a vote of approval of a Ministerial Committee report clearing Mr. Lavon of responsibility as Minister of Defense in 1954 for a security mishap that year. The Prime Minister had threatened not to return from his vacation if the Cabinet stuck to its approval vote. He later agreed to give up his demand for a reversal of the Cabinet vote and thus ended a threatened Cabinet crisis.
The latest development in the interparty fight was an announcement today by three Mapai members of the Histadrut central committee that they had lost confidence in Mr. Lavon and had therefore resigned their positions in the Labor Federation. Mr.Lavon promptly charged that the resignations had been planned in advance to force him to resign as Secretary-General. He reiterated that he would not resign.
Those resigning were Mrs. Yehudit Simhonit, head of the Histadrut Foreign Relations department, Zev Onn, head of the Economic department, and Yitzhak Haskin, former Histadrut treasurer and now head of its Membership and Dues department. The three resignations were delivered to the Mapai secretariat meeting in Jerusalem last night, the announcement said.