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Mapam Leadership Under Fire from Its Younger Elements

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Younger elements of Mapam gained an important step toward taking over party leadership from the veterans last night when the labor faction’s political committee decided by majority vote to limit party leaders to two terms. If the decision is confirmed by the party convention, at least five of the seven Mapam Knesset members will have to relinquish their seats to others.

The decision was taken over the vigorous protest of two party veterans, Yaacov Hazan, 73, a member of the Mapam Central Committee, and Meir Yaari, 75, the party’s secretary general. Both are MKs. Yaari insisted that leadership can’t be changed “like changing gloves.”

He said that age was no bar to leadership and observed that Churchill accomplished some of his greatest achievements at 70, and that Roosevelt, Adenauer and Ben-Gurion exercised great leadership in their elder years. “I shall not retire like Khruschev. I shall always be active,” Yaari said.

Earlier, the political committee rejected by 24-13 a proposal by Hazan that Mapam endorse Jewish settlement of the Raffah region between the Gaza Strip and El Arish which the Army cleared of its Bedouin inhabitants earlier this year. Mapam, though part of the Labor Alignment, opposed the evacuation. The political committee majority said it would accept settlements in the administered territories only for security reasons but not on a permanent basis.

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