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Israel Cabinet Crisis Avoided; Peres Withdraws Disputed Demand

The possibility of a Cabinet crisis over the demand of Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres for inclusion as a full member of the Cabinet Committee for Security Affairs, faded today when the official withdrew his demand.

Mr. Peres, a leading member of the “Young Turks” in the Mapai party, who reportedly are chafing at the continued dominance of the older leadership dating back to the Mandatory period, withdrew his demand in a letter to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. The demand had been opposed by the leftist Achdut Avodah.

Mr. Peres asserted in his letter that the Premier had given him a promise for such Cabinet committee membership “on the eve of my taking up office in the present Government.” Achdut Avodah expressed satisfaction with Peres’ withdrawal.

In his letter, Mr. Peres wrote that “my decision does not arise from the Achdut Avodah stand, but because I wish to avoid difficulties. Achdut Avodah’s arguments cannot stand up to examination. The regulations on which the party bases its case are not constitutional but a matter of convention which can easily be changed.

“I do not regard myself as being ‘deprived’ by taking this stand because I preferred that security matters be conducted according to the country’s needs and not on the basis of factional interests, “the Deputy Defense Minister continued. “My participation in the committee will be determined according to this rule.” He also said that he preferred that his participation in the committee be decided on the basis of the duties of members and not because of “prestige and coalition considerations.”

Another dispute involving the “Young Turks” concerning Moshe Dayan’s determination to resign as Agriculture Minister, also moved toward solution. Gen. Dayan’s insistence on greater scope for the party’s younger members led to a proposal that he be named one of four members of a “Small Security Cabinet” of the Mapai party. The others would be Premier Eshkol, Foreign Minister Meir and Mr. Peres.

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