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Knesset Votes to Hold National Elections; Acts on President’s Advice

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The Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, today approved without objection, a motion calling for the holding of national elections. The House sent to committee the question of setting a date for the balloting, proposals for which ranged from July 11 to August 29. The committee is expected to recommend an election some time in mid-August as a compromise.

The Knesset vote followed the reading of a letter from President Izhak Ben-Zvi in which he notified House Speaker Kaddish Luz that the parties had reached no agreement on the formation of a new Government. The President recommended elections as the only alternative for solving the two-month old crisis.

The President reported on his inconclusive consultations with party leaders and his efforts to reconstitute the present Cabinet under the Premiership of David Ben-Gurion. President Ben-Zvi’s move paves the way for dissolution of the Knesset and new elections.

Speakers for six parties who submitted motions for dissolution of the Knesset and for new elections, described the crisis as a moral one and blamed Premier Ben-Gurion for precipitating it. The parties which submitted motions for new elections were Herut, the General Zionists, Agudat Israel, Achdut Ha’avoda, Mapam and the National Religious party.

David Bar-Rav-Hai, Mapai deputy, who submitted a seventh bill on behalf of his party, called for the holding of elections on August 29. He made no effort to reply to critics of Premier Ben-Gurion. His party, which obtained an unprecedented mandate at the polls less than two years ago, would obtain a reaffirmation of that vote, Mr. Bar-Rav-Hai declared.

A spokesman for the Progressive party explained his party’s abstention on the vote by the fact that the Progressives wished to demonstrate against needless elections and a redundant crisis. He indicated, however, that his party would press in the committee for an early date for the balloting.

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