JERUSALEM (Dec. 5)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol was hospitalized here last night for what his physicians diagnosed as “general exhaustion.” Rumors that he had suffered from pneumonia were dispelled by a medical bulletin issued today, that reported Mr. Eshkol had to be taken to the hospital because of “general weakness” caused by a tiring week’s work, followed by a cold.
In addition to working hard on his efforts to form a new coalition Government, Mr. Eshkol had stayed up all night last Wednesday night, watching Israeli army maneuvers. His physicians said today they ordered complete rest for their patient, who is 70, and had requested that he shun all visitors during the next few days. He may be in the hospital 10 days, it was indicated.
Mr. Eshkol’s hospitalization will delay formation of the new Cabinet. He has appointed a subcommittee to continue talks about formation of the new Government. Last Friday he offered new concessions to the Independent Liberals in talks which he had with their leaders.
The results of his talks to date indicated that the Independent Liberals and the leftist Mapam appeared to have common ground with the Premier’s Mapai-Achdut Avoda Alignment conditions for joining the next coalition. The deadlock with the National Religious Party, a member of the present caretaker Cabinet, continued however.
Premier Eshkol indicated concern over Israel’s inflation when he told the annual luncheon of Israel Journalists in Tel Aviv on Friday that one of the new Government’s aims would be to slow down the rise in Israel’s living standards. He stressed that there would be no devaluation of Israel’s currency.
The Premier also touched on Israel’s futile efforts to induce the European Economic Community to rescind a minimum price reference plan which would have the effect of raising consumer prices of Israeli oranges exported to the six Euromart nations by 20 to 25 percent. The Premier said there was “logic” in suggestions that Israel, a heavy importer of Euromart products, take retaliatory action “but first of all we must take other actions and exert pressure” on the Euromart nations.