Eshkol to Form Cabinet Today; Says It Will Be Composed of Same Members
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Eshkol to Form Cabinet Today; Says It Will Be Composed of Same Members

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President Zalman Shazar is expected to ask Levi Eshkol to form a new Cabinet tomorrow, although the right-wing Herut Party told him it wants new general elections now, while the Liberal Party proposed that a new Government be formed without representation by the Mapai Party, to be followed shortly by new elections.

The President has been conferring all weekend with representatives of all Israeli political parties, in preparation for issuance of a call for the formation of a new Government to follow the Cabinet which, with Mr. Eshkol at its head, resigned last week.

Mr. Eshkol declared in an interview here today that he expects the new Cabinet to be made up “of the same parties and the same people” that composed his previous Cabinet. The parties, in addition to Mapai, are the National Religious Party and Ahdut Avoda. The new Government, he said, “will include all who are ready to work with me.”

Reuven Barkatt, secretary of Mapai, said today that all Cabinet members belonging to Mapai have been asked to remain in the new Cabinet. There had been doubts about the continuance of two Mapai members of the outgoing Cabinet–Minister of Justice Dov Joseph and Minister of Development Joseph Almogi. Dr. Joseph had already indicated that he would not refuse to continue in his old post, while Mr. Almogi was reportedly under pressure from his base of strength, in Haifa, to stay on.


Regarding the immediate future, Mr. Eshkol stated, in a letter to President Shazar, that he does not favor early elections and that, instead, efforts should be directed toward formation of a stable Government which would function until the expiration of the old Cabinet’s term in office next year.

“There are enormous tasks ahead.” he said. “The eyes of our brethren the world over and our other friends abroad are watching us with bewilderment and are hoping urgently that we return as soon as possible to a normal course.”

Meanwhile, former Premier David Ben-Gurion, whose insistence upon a reinvestigation of the 10-year-old Lavon Affair caused the break between him and Mr. Eshkol, with the resultant resignation of the Eshkol Government, was expected today to publish very soon his “white paper.” dealing with the Lavon Affair. He is reportedly holding back that publication only until the Israeli military censorship approves certain segments of his proposed report.

The report will presumably deal in part with the “security mishap.” never publicly identified, which led to Pinhas Lavon’s resignation from the Defense Ministry in 1955 and, in 1960, his ousting from the secretary-generalship of Histadrut.

In a nationwide radio broadcast, this weekend, Mr. Eshkol explained to the Israeli people why he had opposed a new inquiry into the Lavon affair as proposed by Mr. Ben-Gurion. He referred to the “security mishap” by speaking of it as “a certain operation, the nature of which I am not free to describe, due to reasons of security.”

That event, he said, took place without the knowledge of the Government. “and was injurious to the vital interests of the State.” He described the various committees that probed that “event.” including the committee of seven Ministers of the Ben-Gurion Government in 1960, of which he was a member.

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