Mapai Secretariat Discusses Expulsion of Ben-gurionists from Party

The Secretariat of the Mapai Party convened here tonight to discuss the announcement made by former Premier David Ben-Gurion that he would set up an independent list of candidates for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections in November as well as to the elections in the Histadrut, Israel’s Federation of Labor, which will precede the election to the Parliament.

One of the major points under discussion tonight will be whether all Mapai members within the party who will back the Ben-Gurion action should be expelled. In a statement issued today, Reuben Barkatt, Secretary General of the Mapai Party, said that “Mapai members must either be for the party or against it. Our meeting tonight will draw appropriate conclusions from the decision of the minority to form a separate list of candidates to the elections.”

Mr. Barkatt issued his statement following a meeting of Mapai leaders presided over by Premier Levi Eshkol whom Mr. Ben-Gurion is determined to oust from the Premiership. Mapai, the statement emphasized, has done its utmost to find common ground with the minority group. “There is no middle way now; members must be either with the party or against it,” the statement stressed.

Mr. Barkatt termed the decision of the minority to run an independent list “pernicious and anti-party.” He appealed to the minority to “reconsider and realize the damage to party and state” and refrain from running a separate election list.

The Ben-Gurion faction also issued a statement which charged that all of its proposals had been rejected by the majority and that the minority would seek a mandate from the voters for “positive changes in Israel’s society.” The minority platform includes an “activist foreign and defense policy” based on lines fostered by Mr. Ben-Gurion. The platform contains an implied criticism of Premier Eshkol for his Government’s “orientation away from Europe to America.”

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