HAIFA (Jun. 22)
The Secretariat of the powerful Haifa branch of the Mapai met for several hours last night in an effort to heal the breach between Premier Levi Eshkol and former Premier David Ben-Gurion and to avert a final split in the strife-racked party.
The Secretariat adopted resolution which urged unity in support of all Mapai institutions, a clear stand for Premier Eshkol. But the resolution also urged preservation of Ben-Gurion’s status as a Mapai leader. Both leaders were urged to work together to safeguard the party’s unity.
The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 44 against one opposed and one abstaining, suggesting that the Haifa branch was firmly backing the Mapai’s central bodies. Those bodies have rejected Ben-Gurion’s demand that he be named to head the Mapai slate for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections and to be the party’s choice for Premier.
Mayor Abba Khoushy who presided, said he had met with Ben-Gurion prior to the meeting but declined to report on what had been said. It was learned that Premier Eshkol might meet with the mayor, a supporter of Ben-Gurion, at the Mayor’s request. The mayor reportedly wants to ask the Premier to meet the former Premier “half-way” to preserve the party’s unity.