Mapam Factionalized by Those Who Want to Remain in Alignment and Those Who Seek Independent Course

A sharp division in Mapam between factions that want to maintain its four-year-old alignment with Premier Golda Meir’s Labor Party and those who want to dissolve it was perpetuated in the new 341-member Central Committee elected here last night. The pro-Alignment forces, representing Mapam’s veteran leadership, retained a majority–68.5 percent of the delegates. But the younger elements who want Mapam to chart an independent course captured 31.5 percent which constitutes a powerful minority.

Their strength was demonstrated in a 268-122 vote in the Mapam Council in favor of a resolution barring any Mapam representative in a Cabinet, Knesset or Histadrut post from serving more than two terms. This means that party veterans such as Yaacov Hazan and Meir Yaari will have to vacate their Knesset seats unless the Central Committee agrees to make an exception in their cases.

BEGINNING OF THE END FOR MAPAM?

Commenting on the outcome of last night’s Council meeting, Hazan observed that “Mapam is on the verge of creating individual factions and this might turn out to be the beginning of Mapam’s end.” Hazan said he would ask himself “if it is better to be in a small party with factions or, under such conditions, be part of a large party.” His remark was seen as a hint that he might support Mapam’s absorption by the Labor Party, ending its 25 years of existence as an independent faction.

The Council also decided last night to continue Mapam’s three secretarial posts–a general party secretary, a political secretary and a secretary of the Central Committee. In view of Yaari’s decision to resign, the post of general secretary is expected to go to Meir Talmi of Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek. Naftali Feder is expected to be nominated for the post of political secretary and his confirmation for a second term seems assured when the Council meets.

Naftali Ben Moshe, who is secretary of the Central Committee, reportedly wants to give up that post because he opposes the Alignment. However, he is said to be under pressure to accept the nomination for another term. A rival contestant is Ephraim Rosen, son of Deputy Absorption Minister Shlomo Rosen.

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