Eshkol Group to Aim Main Fire of Campaign Against Herut-liberal List
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Eshkol Group to Aim Main Fire of Campaign Against Herut-liberal List

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Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and other leaders of the Mapai-Achdut Avoda alignment decided last night to concentrate the major portion of their campaign for the November 2 elections to the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, against the Herut-Liberal (Gahal) joint list which emerged from Sunday’s Histadrut elections as the second largest political force among the seven groups that competed in the labor federation balloting.

The decision was made at a meeting of the Premier and other leaders after tabulations covering 90 percent of the Histadrut vote showed that the alignment had polled slightly more than 50 percent of the votes. Today’s tabulations gave Gahal between 17 and 18 percent; Mapam 14 percent; Ben-Gurion’s Israel Workers List (Rafi), 12 to 13 percent; the Independent Liberals (who refused to join the Herut-Liberal list), 4.7 percent; the Mikounis-Sneh faction of the Communists (supported mainly by Jews), 1.5 percent; and the Wilner-Toubi Arab-supported Communist faction, 5 percent. The results of the remaining 10 percent of the ballots cast, comprising votes by military personnel and Israelis overseas, will not be known for another three days.

In directing most of their efforts against the Gahal, the Mapai-Achdut Avoda alignment will try to convince Israelis that an “increase in power of the right-wing movement endangers the labor movement and the country’s image,” party leaders said after the meeting. They also decided to aim at local coalitions with Mapam in most of the workers councils throughout the country and, in cases where that is impossible, to seek coalitions with the Independent Liberals. They said that, in any case, they would seek to avoid coalitions with Gahal, Rafi or the Communists.

Gahal circles said today that Mr. Eshkol’s statement reflected the “confusion” that beset the alignment, in view of the “unprecedented success” of Gahal among the Histadrut members and the “clear landslide against the alignment.”

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