TEL AVIV (Jun. 28)
A vigorous fight for vital changes in the constitution of the right-wing Herut Party developed here tonight at the Herut convention. The convention, which opened Sunday night in Jerusalem, is being conducted at Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, where an opposition faction has, so far, won two significant ballots against the party’s leadership.
The opposition insists that, hereafter, the convention, instead of its central committee, elect the party chairman and nominate the party’s candidates for election to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament). In two test ballots, opposed by Herut’s leader, Menachem Beigin, and the convention chairman, Avraham Shecterman, the opposition won by votes of 253-149 and 257-97.
Aside from the inner-party fight, the most dramatic occurrence at the convention was the appearance at the opening session in Jerusalem of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. It was the first time that an Israel Prime Minister had accepted an invitation to attend a convention of Herut. On the dais with him were some of the Cabinet members, those belonging to Mapai, the National Religious Party and the Independent Liberal Party.
Cabinet members belonging to the two other political groups in Israel’s current coalition Government–Achdut Avodah and Mapam–had refused to attend the Herut rally. Also attending were Aryeh L. Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, and Aharon Becker, secretary-general of Histadrut, Israel’s federation of labor. Both are members of Mapai.