JERUSALEM (Mar. 5)
Leaders of the coalition parties which were represented in the Ben-Gurion Cabinet were still hopeful today that the Mapai party, of which Mr. Ben-Gurion is the leader, will resolve the deadlock which developed over the formation of a new Cabinet by naming a leader other than Mr. Ben-Gurion for the Premiership, thereby averting national elections.
Should Mr. Ben-Gurion agree to serve as Defense Minister, Levi Eshkol would become the Prime Minister of a rebuilt Cabinet simultaneously retaining his post as Finance Minister. Otherwise, there is the possibility that Moshe Sharett, former Premier and Foreign Minister, would be named to the Premiership by Mapai.
President Izhak Ben-Zvi today resumed his consultations with leaders of various political parties on the formation of a new Cabinet. This time he confined his talks to leaders of the General Zionists and the Herut, the two opposition parties which have not been represented in the Ben-Gurion Cabinet. The leaders of both groups reiterated their requests for new elections.
A prospective new party crisis in Mapai apparently was ended today by a statement of Pinhas Lavon, ousted secretary-general of the Histadrut, Israel’s Labor Federation, that he had withdrawn his candidacy for election to the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament.
Mr. Lavon gave notice of his withdrawal from national elections to resolve Israel’s Government crisis in a letter to the Mapai secretariat. In it, he referred to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s statement opposing Mr. Lavon’s name being added to the Mapai list of candidates.
In his letter, Mr. Lavon served notice he would fight back if Mr. Ben-Gurion attacked him in the election campaign. Referring to a secretariat announcement that Mr. Ben-Gurion was planning to publish a “summing up” of his battle against the Histadrut leader, Mr. Lavon said that if the contents of the “summing up” required comment from him, he will comment. “It is an elementary right and I reject the party’s authority to deny it, ” he stated.
In reference to the plan to name a committee to determine a list of Mapai candidates for the Knesset, Mr. Lavon commented that “if anybody had bothered to consult me, I would have informed him I am not ready to be a candidate. ” He added: “I am not ready to be repeatedly victimized by the Premier who is trying to drive me out of public life. “