22 Parties Expected to Compete in Israel’s Elections for Knesset

Israel election officials reported today that 22 party lists will compete for Parliamentary seats in the elections November 3. A new entrant will be the National Workers list, led by former Premier David Ben-Gurion in a Mapai Party-splitting challenge to the leadership of Premier Levi Eshkol, Rafi, the new party, expects to seek seven Parliamentary seats. It was announced that September 7 would be the deadline for filing election lists.

The first party to complete its Knesset list was the left-wing Mapam, an opposition party. Mapam set aside the recommendations of its appointment committee to give a “new look” to its Knesset list for a campaign in which, for the first time since the creation of Israel, Mapai’s long dominance appears shaky.

Four of the first nine places on the Mapam list, considered certain of election, were given to new candidates. Mordecai Bentov and Israel Barzilai, two former Cabinet Ministers, were relegated to lower places on the Mapam list. The two top places on the list went to veteran leaders Meir Yaari and Yaakov Hazan. Victor Shemtov was placed third. New men on the list are Shlomo Rozen, Kibbutz Artzi secretary, Mapam political secretary Reuben Arzi, Nazareth’s Deputy Mayor Abdul Aziz Zuabi, and Nathan Peled.

The Knesset elections this year are expected to be the most bitterly contested in Israel’s history. The injection of the Ben-Gurion-Eshkol rift into the campaign is one prime factor. Another is the formation of a voting bloc by the right-wing Herut and the Liberal Party.

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