JERUSALEM (Nov. 2)
The people of Israel went to the polls today to elect a new 120-man Parliament and 125 new municipal councils in an atmosphere of tranquility with 20,000 volunteer drivers organized by the political parties to bring their supporters to the polling stations.
The voting continued till midnight in the cities and till 9 o’clock in the evening in the villages. Early preliminary returns will be made known tomorrow, while the full official returns will not be available before Friday. The beautiful weather contributed to high participation in the voting, making predictions risky.
Voting at the 3,100 polling stations throughout the country began at 7 o’clock in the morning. The 17 political groups which named candidates for Parliament mobilized about 150,000 volunteers and paid workers as their representatives watching the polling stations and getting out the voters to cast ballots. All work in the cities ceased for today, with only restaurants and moving picture houses functioning, and buses running on regular schedule.
President Zalman Shazar and Premier Levi Eshkol were among the early voters in Jerusalem. In the ultra-Orthodox sttlement of Bnei Brak, and in the Mea Shearim quarter in Jerusalem, Neture Karta zealots sought to prevent local inhabitants from participating in the voting, and tried in vain to block polling places. Several hundred demonstrators in Mea Shearim claimed the election was “treason” to true Jewish beliefs and against the teaching of the Torak. They were dispersed by police units. No violence occurred.
Two hours before the polling station closed, about 80 percent of the 1,500,000 eligible voters had cast their ballots. It is believed that the percentage of votes in today’s elections will surpass that of the last elections in 1961 which was 81,6 percent. Judge Moshe Landau, the chairman of the Central Elections Committee, inspected during the day the polling stations in the Arab villages and in Army camps. No complaints were registered.