Israel President Entrusts Eshkol with Formation of New Cabinet

President Zalman Shazar summoned Premier Levi Eshkol today and formally requested him to form a new Government for Israel as a result of the outcome of the November 2 elections in which the Eshkol-led Mapai-Achdut Avoda alignment had won 45 seats in the new Knesset (Parliament).

While Mr. Eshkol, as Prime Minister in the caretaker Government, had been trying since the elections to informally form a coalition Cabinet, it was still not certain today whether his hopes of completing the coalition would be fulfilled within a week. There were fears that the negotiations toward the building of the coalition might be prolonged for some months, as conflicting demands were being made by the National Religious Party on the one hand and the Mapam and Independent Liberal parties on the other hand. All three of the groups had been invited to enter the new coalition.

The religious group insists that the new Government support the adoption of a new, strict Sabbath observance law as well as other stringent legislation that would strengthen religious influence. Mapam and the Independent Liberals, however, demand that, at the very least, the less strict religious practice laws in existence prior to the elections be maintained.

Police moved in yesterday to prevent entry into Jerusalem of some 40 cars bearing placards protesting the agreement between Jerusalem Mayor-elect Theodore Kollek and Jerusalem’s municipal religious party leaders to restrict traffic in Jerusalem during the Sabbath.

Although only a few score of ultra-Orthodox zealots assembled at the city’s entrance in anticipation of the protest cavalcade, police said they had been tipped off that large numbers were ready to launch attacks on the motorists. Police officials said they banned the cavalcade to prevent disturbance of the peace. Later, the drivers were allowed to move their cars into the city in small groups. They assembled in front of the National Museum, of which the Mayor-elect is chairman, to hold a protest rally.

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