TEL AVIV (Dec. 19)
Creation of a Gahal “shadow government” and annexation of the West Bank were urged by speakers at the 11th convention of the Herut Party here last night. Gen. Ezer Weizman, chairman of the Herut Executive, said a “shadow Cabinet” of 12 “ministers” headed by Herut leader Menachem Beigin was necessary so that the voters would know who would be carrying out the programs proposed by the Herut and Liberal parties which comprise the Gahal bloc. “Shadow governments” are features of the British and other parliamentary democracies where elections may be called for at any time.
Weizman proposed the creation of Gahal “think tanks” to prepare economic, social, cultural and educational programs to put before the nation’s voters. He said that Gahal would have to garner a half-million votes to gain a position in which no decisions could be made without its concurrence. The former Air Force commander and former Minister of Transport, took a hard line on Israel’s political problems. He said Israel had the right to demand a total settlement with the Arabs, not half measures.
Weizman vehemently opposed any interim accord with Egypt to reopen the Suez Canal and scorned, “flirting with (King) Hussein” who, he said, was just “a passing episode in the Middle East.” Weizman contended that President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was in a difficult position. “Why then should we help him by a partial agreement and thus reopen the Suez Canal?” he asked.
EVIDENCE OF SPLIT IN HERUT
Knesset member Yochanan Bader demanded the immediate “unification” of the Judaea and Samaria regions with Israel and said that must be included in the Gahal platform. Mrs. Esther Raziel Naor, another Knesset member, called for an education system based on “Jewish morality and national spirit” to combat “permissiveness” and leftist trends among the youth.
Itzhak Shamir, who heads Herut’s Russian Jewry department said the immigration of 30-40,000 Russian Jews a year does not end “the danger of annihilation which threatens many more Jews” in Russia. He also demanded that the government make an all-out effort to bring in American Jews.
Most speakers emphasized the need for internal unity in Israel. But evidence of a serious split in Herut was visible at the convention. The party appears to be divided between two main groups, one centered around Beigin, and the other, including the younger party circles, around Weizman. As the convention entered its third day there was still no steering committee and no agreement between the rival groups as to the nomination of one.