JERUSALEM (Dec. 1)
Premier Golda Meir has been given ten more days to establish a new national coalition government. President Zalman Shazar granted the extension at Mrs. Meir’s request last night after she reported her failure to form a government during the 21 days allotted to her. Should she fail to complete the Cabinet in another 21 days, she will have to relinquish her mandate and President Shazar would ask another political leader to assume the task.
Mrs. Meir continued her coalition talks Sunday with Gahal (Herut-Liberal Alignment) and the Independent Liberals. The latter were reportedly promised the Ministry of Tourism which is presently headed by Moshe Kol. Mr. Kol also heads the Development Ministry which will probably go to another party. The chief obstacle to Mrs. Meir’s efforts has been the refusal of Mapam to join a coalition with Gahal based on a joint program. The left-wing Mapam, junior partner in Mrs. Meir’s Labor Party Alignment, is opposed to the foreign and domestic policies of the rightist, nationalist Gahal which emerged from the Oct. 28 national elections as Israel’s second largest party. Mapam fears that the policies of the outgoing national coalition would be altered by Gahal influence. But even if the policies remain the same, Mapam leaders refuse to accept the assignment of key ministries to Gahal. In the outgoing government the latter held only two ministerial posts without portfolio.
Gahal has demanded six ministries if the National Religious Party gets three and insists that they include what Gahal leaders call "serious ministries." Mapam argues that once a ministry is controlled by Gahal it will be run in accordance with Gahal concepts, regardless of what coalition policies may be. Mrs. Meir was scheduled to meet with Mapam leaders today.