JERUSALEM (Jul. 13)
Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and six other Mapai members of Parliament who belong to the party’s minority group who broke away from Premier Eshkol’s leadership, today asked Knesset Speaker Kaddish Luz for formal recognition as a separate faction to be known as the “Israel Workers List.”
In addition to Mr. Ben-Gurion, the other Knesset members of the new list are: former Development Minister Yosef Almogi, former Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres, Y. Smilensky, Chana Lamdan, A. Dagani and G. Ben-Israel. It is understood that former Agriculture Minister Moshe Dayan, who had earlier supported Ben-Gurion in his leadership struggle with Premier Eshkol, had declined to join the new list.
A Mapai party spokesman, while expressing regret over the group’s decision to go ahead with the formation of a separate list, said that the party would not oppose recognition of the group when the matter is brought before the Knesset House Committee.
With the loss of the seven Knesset members from the ranks of Mapai, the coalition remains with only 60 members in the 120-member House, but support from Mapam and from one Min Hayesod member, Y. Kessel, will give the Government a close, but working majority. It is understood that an agreement has been reached between Mapai and Min Hayesod, the group of supporters of former Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon who left Mapai, whereby two Min Hayesod candidates will appear in relatively secure positions on the Mapai-Achdut Avoda Joint list in the forthcoming Knesset elections.
Another coalition faction, the National Religious Party, today charged the Achdut Avoda Cabinet Ministers with obstructing the passage of the Sabbath bill despite a coalition agreement on the bill’s contents, the NRP warned that it will take extreme measures to ensure that the bill is brought before the Knesset in its original version. It is assumed that, unless an agreement is reached, the NRP may retaliate by voting against the Government on crucial votes expected with regard to other bills.