JERUSALEM (Oct. 31)
The Israel election campaign reached its climax today, two days before Israel’s citizens go to the polls to elect a new Parliament composed of 120 members, as well as mayors and municipal councils. Seventeen lists of candidates are competing in the elections, with each of them holding open air campaign meetings this weekend, and flooding the country with campaign literature.
It is assumed that, although David Ben-Gurion, former Premier, had split the Mapai party by forming his own Rafi party, the Mapai will probably secure the largest number of votes and Premier Levi Eshkol, as Mapai leader, will be the person who will from the next Government. It is also assumed that his Government will be short-lived unless there is a post-election rapprochement between him and Ben-Gurion. Efforts to secure such a post-election rapprochement are now being made quietly by Mapai leaders. However it is doubtful whether these efforts will succeed.
A major question is just how much strength Ben-Gurion’s Rafi party will show. Some are of the opinion that, if the Ben-Gurion group emerges from the elections with a small number of elected candidates, some of the Ben-Gurion adherents may return into the Mapai ranks in order to keep the Mapai position in the Government strong via-a-vis other parties. Deputy Premier Abba Eban, who supports Mr. Eshkol, predicted last week at a press conference that Ben-Gurion’s list may not even win 10 seats in the Parliament.