TEL AVIV (Aug. 12)
The Israel Labor Party’s central bureau voted 17-0 last night to support the party’s two lists exclusively in next October’s general elections. The vote was a repudiation of the Rafi list headed by former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion although the latter was not mentioned by name. But political experts said there was a 50-50 chance that some former members of the Rafi faction would defect from Labor Party ranks. Five Rafi members abstained in last night’s vote.
The Labor Party bureau met for the purpose of averting a split. Premier Golda Meir exhorted the Rafi adherents to stay within party ranks. She said she didn’t ask them to renounce Ben-Gurion the man or his ideological heritage but to reject his rival election list. Mrs. Meir was supported in her plea by Shimon Peres, former secretary of the Rafi faction, who said he supported Mr. Ben-Gurion and what he stood for but would urge all party members to rally around the Labor banner.
According to political observers, the Ben-Gurion list, composed of members of the original Rafi faction who refused to go along in its merger with Mapai and Achdut Avodah to form the Israel Labor Party early this year, complicated an already snarled situation. Disaffected Rafi members within the Labor Party are demanding greater independence and more representation in the Party councils.
They also demand a clear decision on whether the party will adopt the proposals of their leader, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, as an unwritten plank of its election platform. Gen. Dayan’s proposals spelled out what Israel would consider to be its security borders. They were sharply attacked by Foreign Minister Abba S. Eban who insisted that the platform contain only general principles without geographical definitions.
The Rafi members are expected to meet later this week or next week to decide on their position. The fact that Mr. Ben-Gurion has submitted a rival list under the Rafi banner provides a rallying point for Rafi members unhappy in the Labor Party, political observers said.