Predict Heated Debate when Labor Party Committee Votes on Alignment with Mapam

A heated debate is expected Wednesday when the Israel Labor Party’s Central Committee votes on an alignment with Israel’s left-wing labor party, Mapam. Alignment was approved by a six-three vote a week ago in a special negotiating committee of Labor Party leaders and Mapam representatives. If ratified by the Central Committee, Labor will have an absolute majority in the Knesset (Parliament) for the first time in Israel’s history. Alignment is supported by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, former Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir, who is secretary-general of the Labor Party, and Mrs. Golda Meir, the former secretary-general. It was opposed in the negotiating committee by Shimon Peres, leader of the Rafi faction within the Labor Party. The voting on Wednesday will determine whether the alignment is implemented now or deferred until after next year’s national elections. But the main issue is Mapam’s insistence that it include its Arab members on its election lists as heretofore. The Labor Party has no Arabs on its lists although it is affiliated with Arab labor factions. Opponents say that Mapam should follow the Labor Party practice but the negotiating committee apparently yielded to the Mapam position.

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