TEL AVIV (Aug. 7)
The Gahal Executive has shifted into high gear to maintain the movement for the creation of a non-Labor alignment. Letters were sent by the Gahal Executive to the candidates for participation in the alignment–the Free Center, Rafi, the State List section, and the Greater Israel Movement.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Defense League and its leader. Rabbi Meir Kahane, stated yesterday at a press conference that they welcome the new non-Labor alignment and are ready to join it. Although the JDL was not invited to join the new alignment Rabbi Kahane outlined conditions under which he would be willing to join. They included a specific assurance that traditional Jewish religious studies be introduced in all schools in Israel.
The Independent Liberal Party headed by Moshe, Kol, Minister of Tourism, several days ago decided not to join the proposed non-Labor alignment. The decision was reached even before the proposal, was made to the Independent Liberals by the main partners of the would-be alignment. Kol declared that 85 percent of its spirit is strange to us.
Hillel Seidel, the Independent Liberals’ workers’ leader and its representative on the Histadrut Executive, asked that the door not be closed altogether and that when the proposal comes officially, the Party should consider it again. However, he was overruled. Itzhak Barkai. Secretary of the Independent Liberals, said that “our decision was not a result of loyalty to the present coalition with the Labor alignment. We would have welcomed a Liberal front but the proposed alignment is not what we think of We would prefer to remain the fighting opposition from within the present coalition.”
The smaller factions have evidenced reluctance to join the Gahal-based alignment because they fear they will be swallowed by Gahal and lose their support as independent parties or movements in the upcoming elections. A fraction of the members of the State List stated yesterday at a press conference that not all members of the State List agree to join the alignment. A spokesman said that they will fight the decision when it comes up for a vote at the general meeting of the party council. However, if they are out voted, they will reconvene to decide on future steps. The possibility of a separate list has not been excluded.
The Gahal Executive has decided to place Menachem Beigin and Dr. Elimelech Rimalt at the head of the committee which will discuss the question of the non-Labor alignment with the prospective partners. The Independent Liberals and the National Religious Party were not invited to take part in the discussions.