TEL AVIV (Jul. 24)
The Herut central committee debated last night and into the early hours of this morning whether to dissolve their partnership with the Liberals and decided to postpone a decision until next week. The decision, suggested by Herut leader Menachem Beigin, may save the Gahal faction which appears to be foundering over the Liberals’ support of a Labor-sponsored electoral reform bill.
Political observers here said the week’s breathing spell would allow temperatures to cool. But it appeared that unless the Liberals renounce their support of the measure which is bitterly opposed by Herut, a showdown is inevitable. A large segment of the Herut leadership insisted last night that the partnership which represents Israel’s largest opposition party, be broken. But Gen. Ezer Weizman, chairman of the Herut executive said a continuation of Gahal was essential in view of the crucial problems facing the country. He mentioned the recent developments in Egypt and referred to possible attempts by the US to revive the Rogers plan.
Beigin, who didn’t speak until the debate had gone on for five hours, said the main problem was not Gahal but the electoral reform bill which would introduce direct elections for a majority of Knesset members. Beigin charged again that the measure was a Labor Party device to achieve an absolute majority that “it doesn’t deserve.”