TEL AVIV (Feb. 10)
Mrs. Golda Meir, the new secretary general of Premier Levi Eshkol’s Mapai Party, said today that members of two dissident groups of former party members would be welcomed back to party ranks.
She referred to the Israel Workers Party (Rafi) formed by former Premier David Ben-Gurion in a challenge to Premier Eshkol’s party and national leadership, and to Min Hayesod, a faction made up of supporters of Pinhas Lavon, former Defense Minister and former secretary general of the Histadrut, the Israel labor federation. Mr. Lavon was forced out of the Defense Ministry by Mr. Ben-Gurion in a struggle over a security disaster which occurred in 1954.
Mrs. Meir, in her first press conference since taking the Mapai post, said that there was no reason why members who left the party to form Rafi should not return. As far as the Min Hayesod faction was concerned, she said, the plea of Lavon backer Prof. Haim Halperin that the Mapai central committee reinstate Lavon had not yet been considered. She said that these and other matters would be taken up on her return from the United States. She is leaving next week for a 10-day visit to the United States for the Israel Bond campaign.