Final Decision on Formation of Israel’s Cabinet Postponed for Today

The final decision in the long-drawn inter-party negotiations toward the formation of a new coalition Government–which was to have been reached last Friday–was postponed for tomorrow. Leaders of the “Club of Four” met on Friday with Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, the Mapai leader who was authorized by President Izhak Ben-Zvi to form the new Cabinet, and all that was decided at that meeting was to meet again on Monday.

The “Club of Four” is a designation given here to the parties with which Mr. Eshkol is negotiating–the Liberals, Mapam, Ahdut Avoda and the National Religious Party. At a meeting between Mr. Eshkol and the four other party leaders Friday, a fresh compromise proposal was made by the religious party, which suggested that Mapai would have “a limited majority” in the potential Eshkol Cabinet. Mapai has been insisting on a full majority. The compromise suggested that Mapai would be given a numerical majority only on “personal or other questions”–while, on major Government issues, the Mapai would have no majority vote in the Cabinet.

Representatives of Ahdut Avoda, at the Friday meeting, insisted that the compromise suggested by the religious group be only the basis for further negotiations. Mr. Eshkol was scheduled to meet here today with the full Mapai negotiating committee, of which Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion is a member. At tomorrow’s meeting between Mr. Eshkol and the “Club of Four” representatives, the issues should be decided. If Mr. Eshkol fails to form a Government, President Ben-Zvi must call on another party–perhaps Herut–to try to form the next Government.

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