New Israel Cabinet Approved by Knesset; to Be Headed by Ben-gurion
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New Israel Cabinet Approved by Knesset; to Be Headed by Ben-gurion

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Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion presented his new Government today to the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. After considerable debate, the new coalition government was approved by a vote of 63 to 46.

The four-party coalition forming the new Cabinet comprises 16 Ministers, Eleven are Mapai members, three are from the National Religious Party and two from Achdut Avodah. The fourth party, the Poale Agudah Party, is represented by a Deputy Minister. The new coalition commands 68 of the 120 Knesset seats.

Mr. Ben-Gurion retains the two posts of Premier and Defense Minister. Levi Eshkol, who negotiated the new coalition when Mr. Ben-Gurion declined the mandate, remains Finance Minister; Mrs. Golda Meir retains the post of Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, the Education and Culture Ministry and Moshe Dayan the Agriculture Ministry, Pinhas Sapir was re-named to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Behor Shitreet, Police.

Giora Josephthal, former Labor Minister, was named Minister of Development, Housing and Public Works, and Dov Joseph was named Justice Minister. Yosef Almogi was named Minister without Portfolio, and Eliahu Sasson was named Minister of Posts and Telegraph.

The three National Religious Party portfolios are Moshe Shapiro, Minister of the Interior and Health, Joseph Burg, Social Welfare, and Zorach Warhaftig, Religious Affairs. The two Achdut Avodah portfolios are Communications, Yitzhak Benaharon, and Labor, Yigal Alon.


Mr. Shapiro was given the Health portfolio on a temporary basis, the post being held for Mapam, should that party change its mind and decide to Join the coalition. The Religious Affairs Ministry had been held by the late Rabbi Jacob Toledano, a non-party personality, and held provisionally after Rabbi Toledano’s death by Mr. Ben-Gurion. Mr. Shapiro had been Interior Minister and Dr. Burg had been Social Welfare Minister in the previous Cabinet.

Three Deputy Ministers listed were Shimon Peres of Mapai, re-named Deputy Defense Minister; Yitzhak Rafael of the National Religious Party, Health; and Kalman Kahane of the Poale Agudat Israel, for Education.

The appointment of Mr. Sasson to the Posts and Telegraph Ministry was a concession to Sephardi demands for greater representation. Mr. Shitreet also is a Sephardi, Mr. Sasson, who has been serving as Israel Minister to Switzerland, has the record of the longest diplomatic service since Israel was established. He previously represented Israel in Turkey and later in Italy.

The new coalition is the tenth since Israel was established and the ninth under Mr. Ben-Gurion as Premier. Moshe Sharett was Prime Minister for the other coalition. It differs from the prior government by the absence of Mapam and the presence of Poale Agudat Israel. The Progressive party and the General Zionists, now merged into the Liberal Party, are not represented in the new government.

The new coalition agreement was based on a policy similar to that of the prior one, except that tighter provisions on collective responsibility of the Ministers was agreed on. The new government is committed to submission to the Knesset of some form of a national Sabbath law and a measure against pork-breeding, both demanded by the two religious parties. The coalition agreement also included freedom for Achdut Avodah from collective responsibility on the issue of Israel arms sales to West Germany.

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