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Rafi Party Executive Terminates Merger Talks with Mapai

The long-pending formation of a unified labor party, merging Mapai, Achdut Avodah and the Ben-Gurion headed Israel Workers Party (Rafi), apparently collapsed today. The Rafi executive committee, meeting here, adopted a resolution declaring that “under present conditions there is no room for continuation of the merger talks.” In another resolution, the Rafi leaders favored continued support of the present National Union Government, calling for continuing Rafi participation in the Government “in view of the grave situation and tasks ahead.”

The Rafi decision to end labor unity talks apparently was triggered by a “clarification” issued by Mapai’s leadership, stating that, after the proposed merger, the three former separate parties would maintain in the Knesset (Parliament) the same ratio of members they hold now in the house. Currently, the ratio includes 36 members from Mapai, 10 from Rafi and nine from Achdut Avodah. In the opinion of the Rafi leaders, such a formula amounts to perpetuation of the present three-party system “under a different name.”

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