Labor Party Endorses Cabinet, but New Difficulties Arise with Gahal Demands

The Labor-Party’s central committee yesterday endorsed a cabinet put together by Premier Golda Meir which will have 24 ministers–two more than at present–and represent a coalition of the country’s major political factions. But Mrs. Meir’s efforts to form a broadly based Government ran into a new snag today. As a result, she is not likely to submit the Cabinet to the Knesset for approval before next Monday.

The latest difficulty arose with Gahal (Herut-Liberal alignment) which is Israel’s second largest part and will have six ministers in the New Government. Gahal leaders have demanded the right to initiate legislation on national health insurance and the settlement of labor disputes. The Labor Party, with serious ideological differences with Gahal on these matters, insists that no party in the Government may initiate legislation independently. Gahal leader Menachem Begin declared today that his party will not join the coalition unless its demands are met. Mrs. Meir was reported to be meeting with the Gahal leadership to try to avert a new crisis.

Her party’s endorsement of the new Cabinet was assured yesterday after Deputy Premier Y’all Allen, bowing to strong pressure from Meir and the party leadership, agreed to accept the portfolio of Minister of Education on the conditions laid down by the Prime Minister. Earlier Mr. Allen had objected bitterly to a deal worked out between Mrs. Meir and the National Religious Party giving the NAP the post of deputy minister of education. That post was the price demanded by the religious party for joining the coalition but Mr. Allen said he could not function with a deputy who was not of his own selection. His refusal brought angry threats from Mrs. Meir to resign but the party leadership supported her, and Mr. Allon’s “rebellion” was short-lived. He will retain the rank of Deputy Premier. The Labor Party will dominate the new Cabinet with the Prime Ministership and 14 ministerial posts of which the Mapai faction will have eight and the ### and Rafi factions two each Madam will have the rest.

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