JERUSALEM (Aug. 20)
Israel’s new Knesset, the fifth since the establishment of the State in 1948, is expected to be convened here on Monday, September 4. That will be the date for the official convocation of the new Parliament, resulting from last week’s elections, if the final-vote tabulation–including the ballots cast by servicemen and women in Israel’s Army–are completed by Tuesday. Should a hitch develop in the final counting, the Knesset may not meet until after the forthcoming Jewish High Holy Days.
In any event, the opening meeting of the Knesset will be largely ceremonial. Members of the Parliament will take their oaths. After that, President Izhak Ben-Zvi will call on the party receiving the largest number of votes to form a Government. That means that Premier David Ben-Gurion, as head of Mapai, will once more be given an opportunity to form Israel’s next Government.
The Knesset’s only other business, at the opening session, will be the election of the Speaker. It is believed that the Speaker of the last Knesset, Kaddish Luz, of Mapai, will be elected unanimously to head the House again.
A new summary of last Tuesday’s civilian voting shows that the voting percentages achieved by the various parties is as follows: Mapai, 34.51 percent; Herut, 13.47; Liberal, 13.38; National Religious, 9.98; Mapam, 7.58; Ahdut Ahdut Avodah, 6.52; Communists, 4.3; Agudat Israel, 3.75; Poalei Agudat-Israel, 1.99. The remainder of the votes went to Arab parties.
Meanwhile, jockeying for position for formation of the next Government is now under way here. The Mapai campaign workers held a large rally at Tel Aviv tonight, addressed by Mr. Ben-Gurion, and the Mapai secretariat held its first post-election meeting to evaluate last week’s balloting.
Menachem Beigin, leader of Hernt, has proposed that the Liberal Party join Herut in a United parliamentary bloc as an alternative to the dominant Mapai Party. Herut has empowered Mr. Beigin to take all necessary steps to bring about formation of such a bloc. Mr. Beigin is expected to approach the two leaders of the Liberals–Pinhas Rosen, of the former Progressive Party, and Peretz Bernstein, of the old General Zionist Party–asking them to bring the Herut-Liberal bloc proposal before their respective groups.