JERUSALEM (Jul. 29)
Leaders of the three parties which merged to form Israel’s dominant Labor Party ended today lengthy talks aimed at resolving the threat of a split with one key issue still unresolved.
The major problem was the dissatisfaction of members of the former Rafi faction, led by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. Efforts have been under way for several weeks by former Mapai leaders, headed by Premier Golda Meir, to meet the demands of the Rafi faction. Rafi leaders have claimed that they are not trusted by the Labor Party leadership, are never consulted on major problems and are never given significant positions in the party.
At the close of the “forum for clarification,” in which former Achdut Avodah members also participated, Mrs. Meir announced that the Rafi demand for the right to nominate candidates for the Oct. 28 elections for the seventh Knesset would be met. She said the formula would provide for each of the three component former parties to nominate its candidates, according to agreed proportions, giving Rafi the same standing as Achdut Avodah.
Because the “forum” could deal only with principles, the participants agreed to form a smaller committee to discuss and settle the details of the problems. But Gen. Dayan said he could not, because of the current security situation, take part in the work of the smaller committee.
Mapai leaders reportedly said that if Gen. Dayan would not work with the seven-member smaller committee, the committee would serve no purpose. They argued that if Gen. Dayan refused to serve on the committee, Mrs. Meir also would refuse, renewing the party deadlock.
Some sources said that Mrs. Meir may ask Gen. Dayan to participate in the smaller committee’s work and that it was hoped that the committee would be able to convene Friday to work out an agreement before the Labor Party meets in convention next week.