Knesset Again Postpones Voting on Educational Television Project

A Parliamentary decision on introduction of educational television in Israel, scheduled for a vote today, was again postponed because of continued indecision by the coalition government on whether to permit a free vote on the question.

The Government has accepted by a narrow majority an offer by the Rothschild group to underwrite an experimental television system. Some members of the coalition have asked to be released from their obligation to support the project when it finally comes up for a Knesset vote on ratification. Under the present coalition agreement on collective responsibility, all coalition parties must resign from the coalition if they fail to support a government bill without prior permission to do so.

The controversial issue has been hotly debated in several Knesset sessions without a majority vote in sight. Education Minister Abba Eban had been scheduled to wind up the debate today but that aspect of the procedure also has been postponed. He scheduled a meeting today with the Liberal party’s Knesset group in a bid to seek their support after he held an inconclusive meeting last night with the National Religious party for the same objective.

The heads of the Hebrew University, the Haifa Technion and the Weizmann Institute meanwhile publicly announced their full support for the project. In a Joint letter to the Education Minister they asked that this stand be made known before the Parliamentary vote. It appeared now that Mr. Eban’s summary will not be heard before next week and in the interim the coalition may take a stand on the demand of some coalition partners for a free vote on the issue.

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