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Knesset Elects Next President of Israel Today; Katchalski Expected to Win

The Knesset will convene in special session at 11 o’clock tomorrow morning to elect a new President of Israel, succeeding President Zalman Shazar. Prof. Ephraim Katchalski, the Weizmann Institute of Science biophysicist who is the Labor Party’s candidate, is the odds on favorite to win. Each MK will enter a voting booth to cast a secret ballot.

Dr. Katchalski is opposed by Prof. Ephraim Uhrbach, the National Religious Party candidate, who is an Orthodox Jew and Talmudic scholar on the faculty of the Hebrew University. Uhrbach appears to have the backing only of the NRP and the Gahal opposition faction. But last minute deliberations in Gahal may deny him some of its 26 Knesset votes. Some members of Gahal’s Herut wing complain that Prof. Uhrbach had opposed the Stern Gang in the 1940s and others say he is too “dovish” for their tastes. The Herut central committee meets in Tel Aviv tonight to adopt a final position.