TEL AVIV (Aug. 10)
No less than 1,000 campaign meetings will be held this weekend throughout Israel by the various political parties in their final bid for votes in the national election Tuesday of members to the fifth Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, it was estimated here today. It was also estimated that the various parties spent about 100,000,000 pounds — $56,000,000 — on campaigning.
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s Mapai party has scheduled 600 of the meetings for the weekend. One mass rally has been set with Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, and Moshe Dayan, Minister of Agriculture, as the principal attractions. A larger rally has been set for Saturday night at which Mr. Ben-Gurion and Jewish Agency executive chairman Moshe Sharett will speak.
The Herut party has scheduled 300 meetings, with three main rallies at which the party’s leader, Menachem Beigin, will be the main speaker. The rallies will be held mostly in the suburbs. Dr. Nahum Goldmann and other Liberal party leaders continued their meetings in all parts of Israel. The smaller parties scheduled meetings on a lesser scale.
The Agudat Israel scored an unexpected success with a mass meeting in Tel Aviv, addressed by Chassidic rabbis and other rabbinical leaders, which drew 12,000 listeners. The ultra-Orthodox party called another meeting but the party faced a possible reaction from popular disapproval of the kidnaping of nine-year-old Yosele Schumacher and his being kept in an Agudah settlement before he disappeared altogether.
The Central Election Committee reported that 19,000 of Israel’s estimated 500,000 qualified voters would be abroad on election day and that no more than 15,000 would have to travel any substantial distance to get to a polling booth. The Committee also announced that a Yemenite list of Knesset candidates was officially withdrawn yesterday. The withdrawal cut from 15 to 14 the number of lists to be presented at the polls Tuesday.
A key figure in the dispute last winter which brought about the dissolution of the Government and the need for the election Tuesday — Pinhas Lavon — returned today from a lengthy stay in Europe. He made it plain that the Mapai had nothing to fear from him. “My silence is not meant particularly to help Mapai’s election campaign but to avoid confusing an immediate issue, such as the elections,” he said. It was the “Lavon Affair” that precipitated Premier Ben-Gurion’s resignation resulting in the automatic fall of the cabinet and leading to the present elections.