TEL AVIV (Jun. 18)
Premier Golda Meir said today that her health was perfect and was therefore not responsible for the “many hesitations” she had before she reached her decision to run for office again next Oct.
“I reflected till the last moment whether to accept the request and will of my colleagues and stand for another term,” she said. “Only toward the end of last week did I come to a decision and then I reported it to Party Secretary General Aharon Yadlin,” Mrs. Meir told local reporters.
The 75-year-old Premier stated in a letter to Yadlin yesterday that she had decided not to retire after this fall’s national election–a decision received with jubilation in Labor Party circles.
Mrs. Meir indicated that she regarded the spate of labor troubles that has engulfed Israel during the past year as one of the major trials facing the nation with serious implications for the country’s future.
Mrs. Meir disclosed that she had confided her decision to remain in office to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan before it was made public. She said she had a long meeting with Dayan at her Tel Aviv home.
According to public opinion polls, Gen. Dayan was far and away the most popular choice to succeed Mrs. Meir in the office of Prime Minister had she decided to step down. Addressing the Tel Aviv Labor Council’s Friday Club last week Dayan hinted that in a future government he would refuse to be a party to policies that ran counter to his own convictions.
According-to reliable sources Mrs. Meir intends to retain her present coalition cabinet after the elections although one or two changes may be contemplated. There is considerable speculation here as to whether Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s former Ambassador to the U.S., will be offered a cabinet post in the new government.