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Election Campaign Intensified in Israel; Hundreds of Rallies Scheduled

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Israel’s political parties stepped up the pace of campaigning for the Aug. 15 general elections today with hundreds of meetings scheduled to cover within the next few days every section of Israel where a voter might be found.

Speakers were making dozens of talks each day on swings of hundreds of miles. Newspapers were packed with solicitations for votes, most of them placed by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s Mapai party and the new Liberal party.

An attempted campaigning innovation by the Liberals–conducting electioneering on trains–was halted by Judge Zvi Berinson, chairman of the Israel Central Election Committee. He said that the practice of Josef Sapir and other Liberal speakers in conducting talks and discussions on trains moving between Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa was illegal. Under election laws, he said, the use of Government-owned-offices, buildings, or other structures is banned. Since trains are Government-owned, they come under this ban, he ruled.

Meanwhile the ultra-Orthodox Workers party, the Poale Agudah, announced its election platform today. The plans included proposals for a five-day work week, equal judicial authority to civil and rabbinical courts, opposition to any diplomatic relations with West Germany, introduction of “more traditional Jewish morality” in Israel’s defense forces and full government support to the Agudah education system.

The approaching elections had an impact on a meeting today of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. Several touchy issues were introduced at a stormy session but no decisions were taken. One was a complaint that members of the committee were not informed in advance of the launching of Israel’s first rocket, the Shavit II, last month. Another was the issue of the release of the son of Bedouin Sheikh Suleiman el Huzeil.

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