TEL AVIV (Nov. 24)
Israel’s left-wing labor party Mapam, by a vote of 433 to 239, today approved political alignment with the Israel Labor Party of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol thus paving the way for an absolute labor majority in the Knesset (Parliament) for the first time in Israel’s history. The alignment will have 67 seats in the chamber. It will also apply outside of the Knesset in municipal councils and in Histadrut. Israel’s labor federation.
There were only four abstentions when the vote was taken. The balloting was preceded by some emotional speeches by party members who feared that Mapam, which is to the left of Mapai, Rafi and Achdut Avodah, the factions comprising the Israel Labor Party, would be swallowed up and lose its unique identity. But the opposition was unable to overcome the practical arguments for alignment. Those favoring the move said that the problems of the State have priority over the problems of any individual party. They noted that as a member of the alignment, Mapam would have a seat at the policy-making tables and would not be just giving or withholding its vote on historic decisions as in the past. Mapam and Labor Party leaders will meet shortly to work out implementation of the alignment.