Israel President Decides to Recommend Holding of General Elections
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Israel President Decides to Recommend Holding of General Elections

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President Izhak Ben-Zvi has abandoned his attempts to resolve the Government crisis and will inform the Israel Parliament that there is no solution except recourse to general elections, it was learned today.

Mr. Ben-Zvi, it was disclosed, was preparing a letter in which he will formally notify Kaddish Luz, Speaker of the Knesset, of his decision. The Speaker is expected to read the letter to the House on Monday, the announcement to be followed by debate on bills calling for dissolution of Parliament and the holding of new elections.

Intensive inter-party negotiations proceeded today, their objective being formation of at least two new blocs to contest the elections which are not likely to be held before August. In addition to the negotiations between the General Zionist and Progressive parties looking to formation of a united liberal party, the Mapam and Achdut Avodah parties began talks on formation of a “Socialist bloc” and a joint election list.

Party officials spoke of “keeping the list open for other elements who participated in the fight for the defense of democracy”–presumably meaning the Mapai party supporters of Pinhas Lavon, ousted Histadrut secretary-general, in his fight with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. The present government crisis was brought about by Mr. Ben-Gurion’s resignation on January 21 over Cabinet approval of a Ministerial committee’s acceptance of a report favorable to Lavon.


The executive board of the General Zionist party approved a report recommending creation of a new Liberal party composed of the General Zionists, the Progressives and a group of intellectuals hitherto without specific party commitments. Although this proposed merger would bar merger of the General Zionists and the Herut party, the report was unanimously accepted.

The party executive will name a formal negotiating committee tomorrow to meet with the Progressives. General Zionist leaders denied that they had already agreed to the election of Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, as head of the proposed new party, saying that this question had not yet been discussed.

Prospects for the merger of the two leftist Socialist parties appeared good after initial meetings of their leaders. Israel Bar-Yehuda, an Achdut Avodah leader, told newsmen that “it is natural that we should meet on the eve of elections to discuss the future. For the time being, that is all I am ready to say. “

Efforts to bring about a third merger–this time of the religious parties–failed to make headway. Representatives of the National Religious party met with leaders of the Aguda Workers party. They said later that a possible merger was discussed. The National Religious party reiterated its former position that it was prepared for a complete merger of the parties but would not agree on the basis of a united front in the forthcoming elections.

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