TEL AVIV (Jul. 2)
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion today asked the country to return his Mapai Party to the next Knesset (Parliament), in the elections scheduled for August 14, “with an absolute majority.” He made that plea at a Mapai rally here, as the election campaign entered its third week, with all 15 parties on the lists stepping up their drives for votes, hammering away at the recent “Lavon Affair” which had brought about the fall of the Government, calling for election reforms, and stressing Israel’s security problems.
“Mapai could carry on with its program without an absolute majority, ” Mr. Ben-Gurion told the meeting here at Mapai headquarters, “but, for the sake of the country, we must not give up the hopes for an absolute majority.” Mapai has never had an absolute majority in the Knesset, depending always until now upon coalitions in which Mapai has been dominant.
Moshe Sharett, former Prime Minister and ex-Foreign Minister, speaking at Bat Yam, near this city, urged election reforms so as to eliminate Israel’s many splinter parties. However, at a rival meeting, conducted by the new Liberal Party, Mapai was chided for that attitude, and was accused of encouraging splinter groups. Liberals and members of Ahdut Avodah, at other rallies, also accused Mapai of being split-itself, asking the voters “which of the Mapai parties are you being asked to vote for–that comprising Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir and Sharett, or the party of Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres?”
Mapam and Herut speakers charged that Mapai “was approaching dictatorship, instead of the democracy we cherish.” They alleged that “Mapai people have feared to reveal the truth of the Lavon affair.”