Election Campaign in Israel Begins to Stir Interest; Issues Aired
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Election Campaign in Israel Begins to Stir Interest; Issues Aired

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With the national elections in Israel only two weeks away, interest in the election campaign is beginning to mount, and the Government-owned radio station Kol Israel is now giving time to the competing political parties to present their views over the air. Major parties battling for ballots will be given a 10-minute period for electioneering on certain nights, while the smaller parties will be allocated five-minute segments each.

Premier David Ben-Gurion, as leader of the dominant Mapai Party, was the first to be accorded time by Kol Israel. In his broadcast he stressed the plan of the Mapai Party which calls for electoral reform, a change in proportional representation. The present election system, he said, causes fragmentation, and results in governmental instability.

Speaking for Mapam, Yaacov Hazan told the electorate that there are advantages in a “neutralist” policy for Israel. He said that such a policy would enable Israel to obtain aid as well as immigrants from both the West and the East. Achdut Avodah leader Israel Bar-Yehuda urged in his broadcast that Israel should initiate peace talks with the Arab states without any prior conditions.

Peretz Bernstein delivered the address for the new Liberal Party. He charged that growing State control in the economic field is hindering Israel’s development. Dr. Zerah Warhaftig, speaking for the Religious Party, condemned “excessive secularism” in Israel, declaring these tendencies have made inroads into Sabbath observance.

On behalf of Herut, Arie Ben-Eliezer denounced the Mapai’s insistence on the “invincibility” of Mr. Ben-Gurion as the country’s leader. Mr. Ben-Eliezer reminded the listeners that Mr. Ben-Gurion was chairman of the Jewish Agency during World War II, when the Nazi holocaust resulted in the loss of 6,000,000 Jewish lives.


The Mapai Central Committee this week-end unanimously adopted an eight-point election platform containing the following pledges:

1. To increase immigration, and absorption of the immigrants as the foremost task of the State today.

2. To assure a democratic regime, individual freedom, equality in rights and duties of all citizens.

3. To encourage all kinds of investment-private, corporate, and cooperative.

4. To extend settlement on land, and cooperation, in order to foster the creation of a new society where the exploitation of men would be unknown.

5. To populate the Negev and Galilee, and deplete thickly populated areas in the cities and the coastal plain.

6. To extend educational opportunities and facilities.

7. To base Israel’s foreign policy on the will for peace and cooperation with all nations; for an Israel-Arab pact based on mutual independence, with the army serving as a guarantee for peace.

8. To develop science, research, literature and arts.

Speaking in the ensuing debate, Deputy Minister of Education Mr. Ami Assaf, said that Mapai should stress the party’s desire for continued coalition government. Miss Esther Herlitz said the demand for direct Israel-Arab negotiations should also find its way into the plaform.

Justice Minister Pinhas Rosen, addressing an election campaign meeting yesterday on behalf of the Liberal Party, charged that the firing of the Shavit rocket has been “ill-timed.” He also charged that “like many other important matters” the firing of the rocket had not been brought before the Cabinet in good time for a considered decision.

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