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Rift Detected in Herut Ranks over Foreign Minister Eban’s West German Visit

Political antennae were tuned today for news of a possible rift in the ranks of Herut, the militant nationalist party which, along with the Liberals, comprises Gahal, the second strongest faction in the national coalition government.

So far there has been no word of trouble in Herut ranks. But reports that the new Minister of Transport, Gen. Ezer Weizman, voted against his Herut colleagues at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting have been reliably confirmed. The issue was relatively minor but one that has agitated Herut leader Menachem Beigin and others for some time — Israel’s relations with West Germany. Herut protested Foreign Minister Abba Eban’s acceptance of an official invitation to visit West Germany next month. Herut policy insists that Israel have no relations whatever with Germany.

Gen. Weizman, who joined the Cabinet on the Herut slate, surprised everyone by voting with the Liberals on the question. The Gahal — Herut-Liberal alignment — provides freedom of voting on questions concerning Germany.