Resignation Affirmed Shapiro Says Isolation Was Factor in His Decision to Leave Cabinet

Yaacov Shapiro told the Knesset tonight that he had resigned as Justice Minister partly for reasons of policy differences with his Labor Party colleagues but mainly because he had found it “impossible” to fight for his views in office while he was “exposed to an incessant and unbearable stream of personal denigration and suspicions.”

Prior to his statement, his first formal explanation for a decision which rocked the country on Sunday, Premier Golda Meir announced the resignation to the Knesset as required by law. The Labor Alignment faction held a long session last night in an effort to persuade Shapiro to withdraw the resignation. This was followed by a second private meeting between him and Premier Meir. At the faction meeting, Shapiro reportedly said he had been under attack for months “from various quarters” and that his party had not come to his defense.

In his Knesset statement, Shapiro said an “increasing feeling” of being alone was a factor in his decision. He also mentioned the “growing estrangement” of the Labor Party from religious labor elements in Israel and “the undermining of the judiciary’s prestige.”

Mrs. Meir, in announcing the resignation, praised Shapiro for his “wide general knowledge and wisdom” which she said had extended far beyond the confines of his Ministry. She gave him special praise for the work of the Ministerial Committee on Jerusalem which he had headed.

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