Ben-gurion Calls for Labor Unity; Says Country May Face ‘grave Tests’

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, addressing a post-election mass-meeting of Mapai leaders and election workers, voiced an appeal for unity in Israeli labor ranks “in the face of the grave tests and tasks facing the country.”

At the same time he warned that there will be no room in any future coalition Cabinet led by Mapai for partners who wish to be inside the coalition and simultaneously also against it. He sharply attacked the left-wing Mapam and Achdut Avodah parties for the method in which they waged their election campaigns. He also mentioned Dr. Nahum Goldmann, who had campaigned for the Liberal Party, charging that Dr. Goldmann brought three additional seats in the next Knesset to the Liberal Party “because of his talks on security affairs.”

The Premier reiterated his previous assertion that there is a need for regional elections, so that the country might have a stable government and a strong, responsible Opposition to criticize the actions of the government and to be an alternative to the government.

While all parties are concerned with moves toward formation of the next Government, no definite steps in that direction are expected until after Wednesday night, when the final results of last weeks balloting will be known. Tabulation of the votes cast by army servicemen and women is still in process, and is expected to be finished by Wednesday morning. Then the Central Elections Committee will convene to sum up the definitive results of the elections.

MAPAI WANTS EIGHT PORTFOLIOS IN A PLANNED 15-MEMBER CABINET

Addressing a Mapai rally at Haifa, Yosef Almogi, secretary-general of Mapai, stated that his party faces two alternatives in planning the next coalition government. One possibility, he said, is a coalition comprised of Mapai, the Liberal Party and the National Religious Party. The other possibility, he saw, would be a coalition embracing Mapai, Mapam, Achdut Avodah and the National Religious Party.

The Mapai secretariat, which met last night, discussed a plan to form the next Cabinet to be composed of 15 Ministers, among whom Mapai would have a majority of eight portfolios. Under one plan, the remaining portfolios, after Mapai got eight, would be divided thus: four to the Liberals, three to the National Religious group. Another plan, also starting with eight seats for Mapai, is to give three to the National Religious Party, and two each to Mapam and Achdut Avodah.

Meanwhile, Menahem Beigin, leader of the right-wing Herut Party, officially wrote to leaders of the Liberal Party today, proposing the plan he had announced last week, for the formation of a Herut-Liberal bloc in the next Knesset. He pointed out that such a bloc would hold 34 of the Knesset seats and said it would end majority rule of the Knesset by one party, meaning Mapai.

The Beigin proposal has received mixed reactions from the Liberal leaders. Peretz Bernstein, leader of the General Zionist component of the Liberal group, was reported “favorably disposed” to the Herut idea. Minister of Justice Pinhas Rosen, of the Progressive faction inside the Liberal Party, was “dubious.”

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