TEL AVIV (Jan. 6)
Virtually complete agreement reportedly was reached today on religious issues which had prolonged negotiations for a new coalition government to be headed again by Premier Levi Eshkol. The coalition Cabinet of the Mapai-Achdut Avoda, the National Religious Party, the left-wing Mapam and the Independent Liberals is expected to be presented to the Parliament on Sunday or Monday.
Discussions were already underway today on the composition of the new Cabinet and on distribution of portfolios in the new Government. The agreement, which involves some concessions to the religious party over restrictions of work on the Sabbath, must be ratified by the central bodies of each prospective coalition party. Despite objections from Mapam, the agreement is expected to receive that ratification.
Under the agreement, Sabbath work restrictions will cover shops but not private offices. The Labor Minister will present an official letter undertaking to halt work at the new Ashdod port on the Sabbath, except in cases of special urgency.