Ben Aharon Pondering Future in Aftermath of Histadrut Elections

Histadrut secretary general Itzhak Ben Aharon retired to his Kibbutz Givat Haim home last night for what was announced as a few days’ rest to mull over his future plans in the aftermath of Tuesday’s Histadrut elections. Premier Golda Meir’s Labor Alignment won the election handily. But its 58.28 percent was almost four points below its 1969 victory margin, and Ben Aharon has not concealed his disappointment with the results.

He has taken the slight drop as a personal defeat and has talked of resigning. Labor Party leaders, including Premier Meir, are trying to persuade him not to quit, at least not before the Oct. 29 Knesset elections. The Mapam wing of the Alignment has announced its full support for Ben Aharon.

The Histadrut elections are regarded by many as a preview of the parliamentary elections. The Labor Party’s problem during the next six weeks of campaigning is to try to recoup the small losses sustained in the Histadrut election and to prevent further erosion. Only 65 percent of the eligible voters participated in the Histadrut balloting. Knesset elections usually bring out more than 80 percent of the electorate.

LIKUD NOW A POWERFUL FACTOR

Labor Alignment strategy shaped up today. Mapam will concentrate on winning back defectors who switched in Tuesday’s voting to the far-left Moked faction and the Black Panthers. The Labor Party will concentrate on Likud, the new National Liberal Front comprised of Gahal, the State List and Free Center. Likud polled 153,534 votes in the

Meanwhile, the Free Center this morning added its signature to the agreements setting up Likud. Gahal and the State List signed last Friday. The Greater Israel Movement also signed, thus establishing the first non-Labor political alignment in Israel’s history. Likud is the second largest faction in the Knesset.

NEXT STORY