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Israel Cabinet in Sight; Agreement Reported Reached with Liberals

Prospects for a new coalition Government were brightened today by reports that Mapai and the Liberal party had reached full agreement in negotiations.

The reported agreement was achieved in talks by Liberal party leaders with Mapai leader Levi Eshkol, who has been trying since September to assemble a new Cabinet under a mandate from President Ben-Zvi. It was indicated that the Liberals had been promised the portfolios of Commerce and Industry, Health, Development and Justice.

Meanwhile the leftist Achdut Avodah informed its ideological partner, Mapam, that it regarded Mapai concessions as an adequate basis for a new coalition; The Achdut Avodah leaders urged Mapam to maintain labor unity and join them in entering the coalition but they also indicated they were prepared to go ahead without Mapam, if necessary.

A meeting of the Mapai secretariat, originally set for last night, was postponed until Friday; The secretariat is expected then to confirm formation of a new Government in partnership with the Liberal party and to leave the door open for Achdut Avodah to join.

The postponement followed a request by Achdut Avodah that Mapai delay a decision for at least a day so that the Achdut council could decide on a final answer to the Mapai bid. There was an unconfirmed report that Achdut Avodah told Mapai it would enter a Mapai-led coalition provided the liberal party was kept out.

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