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Beigin Resigns Leadership at Herut Convention; Explains Reason

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Menachem Beigin, chairman of the right-wing Herut Party and wearer of the mantle of the late Vladimir Jabotinsky, resigned his post last night in a dramatic announcement at Herut’s annual convention, being held at Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.

While the convention’s presidium rejected his resignation, Mr. Beigin reiterated his desire to quit the chairmanship, and compounded the sensational announcement by saying he is willing also to vacate his seat in the Knesset (Parliament), where he has served for many years as the principal spokesman for Herut.

He explained to the convention that, in his opinion, there should be a complete unification between Herut and the Liberal Party. The two groups now form a political fusion called Gahal. After such a party unification, he said, it would be possible to effect a rapprochement between Gahal and Rafi, the newest political party formed last year by former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and other former Mapai leaders who had quit the dominant Mapai Party.

“Some of the Liberal-Herut partners in Gahal,” Mr. Beigin told the convention, “regard me as having caused more harm than good. I regard rapprochement between Gahal and Rafi as a step that would lead to the formation of a new Government. It is clear that, if I walk out, such a rapprochement would be facilitated. I know that some people believe that the fact that I am the Herut chairman makes reaching those aims more difficult. I hope it will be easier now.”

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