JERUSALEM (Feb. 22)
A Herut motion to set a time limit for Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s efforts to assemble a new coalition Government was defeated today in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. At the same time, a formal statement was made that the Mapai party would continue to make every effort to reconstitute a Government under Mr. Ben-Gurion as Prime Minister before supporting new elections.
The vote against the Herut motion was 49 to 23. The statement of Mapai support for Mr. Ben-Gurion was made by Mapai deputy Haim Zadok.
Eliyahu Merridor, who submitted the Herut motion, cited the lengthy delays which, he said, had made caretaker governments virtually permanent administrations. Israel has been governed by a caretaker coalition since Mr. Ben-Gurion resigned last January 31.
The Herut deputy urged that if a Premier-designate was unable to form a new Government within a specified time after being invited by the President to make the attempt, the President should ask another political leader to try.
Deputy Zadok called the Herut proposal an interference with the prerogatives of the President and said the proposal was without precedent in any Parliament. He also indicated that the Mapai wanted the same coalition reconstituted under Mr. Ben-Gurion as the one he dissolved by resigning.