TEL AVIV. (Jul. 8)
Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion rejected an invitation by representatives of the Secretariat of the Mapai Party to attend the next meeting of that body to conciliate his differences with Premier Levi Eshkol and the party majority. In turning down the invitation brought to him by the Secretariat delegation at his Tel Aviv home, Mr. Ben-Gurion said that his efforts to get his views across to the Secretariat had been fruitless and he saw no point in further confrontation. He said that an independent list was now a fact.
The Mapai delegation, which emphasized to the former Premier that the fate of not only the party, but the nation was in the balance, included Police Minister Bechor Shitreet; Mapai Secretary General Reuven Barkatt; Histadrut Secretary General Aharon Becker; and Mrs. Senta Josephthal, secretary of the Ihud Hakibbutzim. The Mapai Central Committee is expected to meet within a few days to discuss Ben-Gurion’s status in the party.
Mr. Ben-Gurion’s stand was elucidated further yesterday in an address he delivered to a rally of his supporters at Beit Sokolow here. He denied that he wished to split. Mapai or to establish a new political party. He declared that the launching of a new electoral list by his group, consisting of members of Mapai as well as of non-party sympathizers, would advance his intention of “keeping faith with the original values that guided Mapai for 30 years and would enable the labor movement to maintain hegemony.”
He told the rally it was his conviction that success of his group’s electoral list would enable his group to bridge the gap in Mapai and, finally, to show the way to unity in the Israeli labor movement, which would include Mapam and Ahdut Avodah.
In an interview today in the afternoon newspaper, Yediot Achronoth, Mr. Ben-Gurion also spelled out his demand for electoral reform. He said Israel’s election system should be based on the system of proportional constituency prevalent in Scandinavian countries. He also said that, with the entry of his list, many voters who would otherwise vote for the rightist parties will now cast their ballots for his list.